This is a renewal application for a pre- and post-doctoral Training Program in the Neuroimmunoendocrine Effects of Alcohol at Loyola University Chicago's Health Sciences Campus, currently in Year 13. The training program faculty consists of a multidisciplinary group of well-funded basic scientists and clinicians with active research programs examining the neurobiological, immune and endocrine responses to alcohol exposure. The Training Faculty who can serve as primary mentors for T32-funded trainees, hold primary and secondary appointments in basic science & clinical departments and research institutes. This gives trainees a wide range of research areas from which to choose. Elizabeth J Kovacs, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Surgery and Mashkoor A Choudhry, PhD, who is also a Professor in the Department of Surgery, will serve as Co-Directors. Both Drs. Kovacs and Choudhry have extensive expertise examining alcohol and inflammatory responses and multiple organ systems as well as the effects of steroid hormones on these processes. They will be assisted by Associate Director, Toni R Pak, PhD, Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Physiology, who works on neural consequences of binge drinking. Together, they will lead the T32's Executive Committee, consisting of a subset of the Alcohol Research Program's faculty who will oversee the recruitment of new trainees to the training program and monitor the progress of the fellows. An External Advisory Committee, composed of senior outside faculty will critically evaluate the training program and the research of the trainees. An Internal Advisory Committee will also provide a bi-annual evaluation of our program. The pool of pre-doctoral trainees will come from Loyola University Chicago's Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences. Stipends for four pre-doctoral and two post-doctoral trainees per year are requested to maintain a critical mass of alcohol research trainees. Trainees will be required to submit an application for a NRSA fellowship or equivalent and will not be funded on this grant for more than 2 years. With a significant contribution of graduate stipend support from the Dean's office, it is anticipated that the majority of the coursework will be completed prior to appointment to this training grant. This will allow T32-funded pre-doctoral trainees, like their post-doctoral counterparts, to spend a majority of their time doing research i the laboratory of one of the members of the Training Faculty. All trainees will take a Bioethics course, demonstrate proficiency in biostatistics and will hone their skills in writing and oral presentation. Trainees as well as Faculty from all disciplines will attend Alcohol Research Program meetings. In an effort to expand the number of young people interested in alcohol research and to increase the number of underrepresented minority scientists, in this competitive renewal application we request 4 short-term summer internships for medical students. The commitment of the Training Faculty to excellence in research and teaching will insure the successful preparation of trainees for careers as academic scientists in the field of alcohol research.
Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States costing taxpayers $166 billion dollars annually. The deleterious effects of alcohol cross the age spectrum, from fetal alcohol exposure and adolescent binge drinking to multiple organ dysfunction in long-term chronic abusers. The interdisciplinary nature of the Training Faculty at Loyola University Chicago's Alcohol Research Program, with its diverse areas of research allowing trainees to study basic, clinical and translational projects, is an ideal environment for training the next generation of alcohol researchers.
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