The explosive increase in our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of disease processes is generating exciting opportunities for well-trained scientists to explore new approaches to treatment of complex diseases, such as those related to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The purpose of the training program "Alcoholic Tissue Injury" is to train qualified predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows in the pathobiology of experimental alcoholic injury to develop the requisite skills to explore these new opportunities. The program consists of a predoctoral program that will support 6 candidates who are preparing for a Ph.D. degree or a combined M.D./Ph.D degree in Cell and Developmental Biology, or one of the other Ph.D. programs at the Jefferson College of Graduate Studies (JCGS), with a specialization in experimental Alcohol Research. The postdoctoral program provides specialized research training in topics relevant for alcohol-related research for up to three qualified candidates holding a Ph.D. or M.D. degree. Candidates are recruited to the JCGS PhD programs from a national pool of highly qualified applicants and special emphasis is placed on the recruitment of qualified minority candidates. Predoctoral students receive stipend and tuition support from Institutional endowment funds through their first year of study, during which time they commit to classroom instruction and lab rotations. They select a research topic and advisor at the end of their first year. Predoctoral students who are committed to alcohol-related research with one of the training grant faculty can compete for a training grant position. Predoctoral trainees are generally supported through the remainder of their training period. postdoctoral training is normally for 2-3 years. However, all trainees will be evaluated annually for their progress and their continued commitment to alcohol research and reappointment for an additional year will depend on satisfactory progress. In addition, highly qualified candidates will be encouraged to apply for individual NRSA fellowships during their first or second year in the program. Training faculty includes investigators with a strong track record and a commitment to alcohol research and existing or pending research grants related to alcohol research, as well as investigators with relevant expertise in other areas who are available to provide specialized training or who contribute in other ways to the training program. A multidisciplinary approach will emphasize concepts and research techniques of cellular and molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, immunology and developmental biology, complemented by a unique strength in computational systems biology. Trainees develop insight into normal and pathologic processes that are influenced or altered by the presence of ethanol or by chronic alcohol intake. The research projects are associated with the Thomas Jefferson University Alcohol Research Center and focus on the effects of ethanol at the cellular and molecular level. In addition to research training in the laboratory, the trainees will attend formal courses, workshops, journal club sessions and research seminars. All trainees are expected to present their research annually at the TJU Alcohol Research Day and at national and international meetings. The program has a strong record of successful trainee achievements in research. An annual evaluation of the program goals and achievements will be carried out by a program evaluation committee composed of senior alcohol researchers and experienced senior investigators not directly associated with the training program, who will advise the Program Director of potential issues of concern and recommend improvements.
Alcohol abuse continues to impose an enormous burden of disease on society, both in the US and worldwide. The recent dramatic increase in our understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of disease processes has generated excellent opportunities for well-trained scientists to explore new approaches to the treatment of complex diseases, such as those related to alcohol use and alcoholism. The training program Alcoholic Tissue Injury aims to provide a strong basis in research at the pre and postdoctoral level for the future generation of scientists who have the skills to address these problems.
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