The Biomedical Alcohol Research Training Program will prepare young predoctoral PhD and combined MD/PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows with MD, DVM and/or PhD degrees for research careers on the biomedical consequences of alcohol consumption and abuse. Core Faculty will be primarily responsible for mentoring trainees and include 18 scientists: School of Medicine (13) and School of Public Health (2) at LSUHSC in New Orleans, LA;Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, LA (1), and the School of Veterinary Medicine at LSD in Baton Rouge, LA (2). The Training Program also relies on 13 Support Faculty from LSUHSC (8) and the TNPRC (5) who serve as co- mentors and provide expertise on diverse areas of alcohol research, and specialty training such as experimental design and statistical analysis and use of animals in research. Trainees will pursue alcohol research projects under four interrelated themes 1) Alcohol/HIV Disease, 2) Alcohol/Host Immune Response, 3) Alcohol/Neuroendocrine and Behavior. The Training Program is designed to develop in trainees technical, research development and communication skills that will allow them to advance knowledge by conducting hypotheses-driven mechanistic research on the effect of alcohol consumption and abuse on 1) the innate and specific immune system in the context of infection, 2) the transmission, pathogenesis, progression and treatment of simian Immunodeficiency virus disease in nonhuman primates, 3) antiretroviral therapy efficacy and side effects, 4) mechanisms of free radical production by liver including the P450 enzyme system and by cells of the host defense system, 5) learning/memory acquisition in the context of SIV disease and neurotransmitter control, 6) trauma induced alterations in neuroendocrine and cardiovascular function and 7) hematopoietic changes to SIV or bacterial infection and trauma. Trainee development will be enriched by their participation in a professional development program that is designed to increase their knowledge base in the alcohol research field, understanding of experimental design and analysis, grantsmanship, institutional requirement to conduct research as well as their written and oral communication skills. During this funding period, 5 predoctoral trainees in either the PhD, MD combined program or departmental PhD programs and 4 postdoctoral fellows MD, DVM and/or PhD) will be in the Program each year. Efforts to continue our successes at training research fellows from diverse background that are under-represented in the biomedical research field will be emphasized. The goal of the program is to provide mentorship and focused training so that young MD and PhD scientists can become familiar with the biomedical problems related to alcohol consumption and acquire the tools to do high quality, competitive research.
This training grant will address the health needs of our nation through its training of new basic and clinical scientists. It is important because our nation is facing a critical shortage of US citizens entering the biomedical research field. In particular, this program will train aspiring scientists to develop research programs on a major health concern, the biomedical consequences of alcohol use disorders such as liver disease, fetal alcohol syndrome, pneumonia and HIV disease. In the U.S., alcohol causes premature death in about 120,000 people annually and adversely affects the lives of approximately 14 million Americans that meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse as well as their family members at a health care cost to society of greater than $200 billion dollars.
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