This interdisciplinary post-doctoral training program will provide intensive, structured translational research training in Alzheimer's disease (AD) for a new cadre of talented basic PhD, clinical PhD, and physician scientists. Leveraging the existing infrastructure and research strengths of the NIA-funded Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Center and affiliated faculty, the program will eliminate barriers in communication, knowledge, and collaboration between basic and clinical scientists and train investigators to cross disciplinary boundaries at an early and formative period in their professional development. Through individualized and group didactics, the fellowship program will provide (1) integrated knowledge in the basic and clinical fundamentals of AD, focusing on environmental and genetic risk factors, prevention, mechanistic pathways, biomarkers, diagnostics, and therapeutics of AD, (2) training in essential research skills (e.g., conceptualization, development, and implementation of research studies, and creativity in developing new research directions), (3) training in critical professional skills for success in academic medicine (e.g., understanding available funding mechanisms and development of grant writing skills, oral presentation skills, and manuscript writing abilities), (4) training in the responsible conduct of research, emphasizing both animal and human subjects, and (5) a high quality jointly-mentored, interdisciplinary research experience that synthesizes the trainee's knowledge base, research and professional skill set, and appreciation of responsible conduct of research, and prepares the trainee for independence as an investigator. Trainees completing the program will be well-positioned for academic success in both conducting and securing funding for original research in AD. As a consequence, the program will fill an important need for an increased number of high quality investigators who are well equipped to advance the field of AD prevention, diagnostics, and therapeutics.
An estimated 5.1 million Americans have AD, and this number is expected to rise to 13.2 million by 2050. Advances in AD diagnostics and therapeutics rely on innovative translational research efforts;however, a recent report suggests there is a shortage of patient-oriented investigators well-trained in the fundamentals of translational research.
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