This application seeks renewal of our T32 training program in "Translational Research in Aging" at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School (HMS). The program will be directed by Dr. Lewis Lipsitz, MD, a well-established clinical investigator and Chief of the BIDMC Gerontology Division, and co-directed by Dr. Konstantin Khrapko, a successful basic scientist and leader in mitochondrial aging.
The specific aims of our program are: 1) To provide a 2-year mentored training program in basic or clinical aging research for six highly qualified, racially and ethnically diverse, postdoctoral trainees each year, and provide them with the skills they need to conduct translational research in aging;2) To provide an 8-12 week short-term research experience and didactic program for six racially and ethnically diverse pre-doctoral PhD candidates each year that will increase the likelihood that they pursue a future academic career in the field of aging;and 3)To promote the translation of basic research findings into interventions that improve the quality of life and well-being of elderly people, by bringing well-established scientists and trainees together across a broad range of basic and clinical research in aging. Over the current funding period we have filled all slots and trained 15 postdoctoral and 27 predoctoral trainees, 4 (27%) and 12 (43%) of whom, respectively, were from ethnic or racial minority backgrounds. Among our 9 postdoctoral graduates, 4 (44%) currently hold full-time junior faculty positions at Boston University, Harvard, and Brown;two are continuing their postdoctoral training as research fellows at BIDMC;one is a clinical psychologist, and 2 have continued their research in industry. One minority trainee has become PI of a NARSAD Young Investigator Award and a NIA-funded R01 diversity supplement. The other minority trainee has obtained a diversity supplement to an R01 held by his mentor, Dr. Khrapko. The proposed post-doctoral program includes mentored research experiences, seminars, coursework, shared laboratory experiences, intensive instruction in responsible scientific conduct, cultural awareness training, a formal evaluation process, and substantive exposure to a multidisciplinary faculty in the field of aging. The training program will continue to facilitate the development of predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows into independent scientists interested in testing hypotheses concerning aging processes and in deriving and applying interventions to prevent or ameliorate age-associated disease and functional decline.
This training program addresses the critical need for new investigators in the field of aging who can help solve the numerous health-related problems that will soon confront our rapidly aging population. The program will prepare a new cadre of academic leaders in geriatric medicine and aging research, who will be equipped with the necessary skills to understand the aging process, study why it often leads to disease, and determine how to prevent the onset of disease and disability in older adults.
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