This application requests continued support for a Postdoctoral Training Program, now in its 34th year, designed to produce independent researchers in the area of research on the genetics of drug and alcohol abuse. Funds are requested to support 7 fellows per year (level 0-7), with the average duration of support being three years. This multidisciplinary program has three broad areas of training: pharmacology, genetics, and behavior. These areas are covered by 23 well-funded primary and secondary training faculty mentors, who focus both on basic and clinical alcohol/drug abuse research and related areas such as bioinformatics and epigenetics. The majority of the faculty currently on the grant will continue to participate. A number of units within the Denver and Boulder campuses of the University of Colorado are involved: the Departments of Pharmacology, Psychiatry, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Psychology, Integrative Physiology (Institute for Behavioral Genetics);Statistics and Bioinformatics (Colorado School of Public Health);the Colorado component of the NIAAA-funded Integrated Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA);and the NIDA-funded Center on Antisocial Drug Dependence. Trainees with doctoral degrees are recruited from a broad range of disciplines. Concerted efforts have been made to recruit trainees from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups and to contribute to longer-term programs to """"""""fill the pipeline."""""""" Trainees work primarily in one lab, but collaborative interactions with other mentors and trainees are strongly encouraged. All of the mentors use state-of-the-art pharmacological, molecular structural, genetic, genomic, statistical and/or behavioral approaches. Training in quantitative and molecular genetics, combined with a broad range of pharmacological approaches, allows the fellows to dissect the molecular, cellular, and genetic bases for behavioral reactions to drugs and the environment and susceptibility to alcohol and drug addiction. Another important characteristic of this Training Program is the opportunity for trainees to participate in interactions between basic science and clinical practice Contact with other faculty and trainees through a focused seminar series, a journal club, and various courses, including Ethics in Research, complete the training environment. Trainees are also encouraged to write individual NRSAs and present their work in local seminars, as well as at national and international meetings. Past trainees from this program have been very successful, and a number are continuing to make significant contributions in the alcohol and drug abuse fields.
This program is designed to train individuals with graduate degrees (PhD, MD, etc.) to pursue independent research on the pharmacology, genetics and behavior of alcohol and drug use and abuse. Trainees work with experienced mentors to learn cutting edge techniques applied to problems associated with alcohol and drug abuse research, and have the opportunity to work in an environment that encourages translational science. Training is provided not only on focused research areas, but also, by means of a seminar program and journal club, on a broader understanding of issues related to alcohol and drug abuse research. Trainees have the opportunity to present their research in many venues, and to enhance their scientific writing skills, in order to prepare for continued successful scientific careers.
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