This is the first competitive renewal application for the University of California (UCSF) multidisciplinary post- doctoral training program in Behavioral Neurology and neurodegenerative disease, directed by Bruce Miller, M.D. The goal of the program is to train future leaders in Behavioral Neurology research. The program is currently in its fourth year of funding. It has attracted a diverse and highly accomplished group of applicants and funded the training of seven neurologists, who came from prestigious Neurology residencies. Four of the fellows have completed our program and have moved into stable academic positions where they pursue excellence in research, education and clinical care, while three others are continuing their training. The proposed grant would provide continued support for two-year fellowships that will combine a diverse set of clinical experiences with didactics. First year clinical experience will include time in the Behavioral Neurology clinic, the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, the program project grant for assessment of FTD and related disorders, the UCSF clinical trials program for degenerative dementias, and the rapidly progressive dementia program. Didactics will be provided through new courses designed specifically for this program by our faculty. The lectures tackle key topics relevant to Behavioral Neurology and neurodegenerative disease, including clinical presentation, basic biology, neuroimaging, data management and analysis, study design, and brain-behavior influences upon ethical behavior. These courses will be made available via the Internet as a formal curriculum for use by other training programs. During the second year, fellows will shift focus towards basic research, working with a specific research mentor, and spend less time with clinical duties. The list of available mentors includes accomplished researchers working in a variety of disciplines related to dementia, including cognitive and behavioral assessment, neuroimaging, and epidemiology and bench research. The program will support three new fellows per year for fellowships that will be open to neurologists, psychiatrists, geriatricians or neuropsychologists.
The rapid pace of dementia research suggests that there will be an increasing need for dementia researchers in the future. These investigators will need to be adept at early and accurate diagnosis, familiar with the design and logistics of clinical studies, and comfortable dealing with ethical issues. The proposed program will incorporate all these elements into the training of future dementia researchers.
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