The primary goal of this T32 program is to provide outstanding research training in the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatic diseases for individuals at several key levels of career development (medical and doctoral graduate students, residents, and postdoctoral MD and PhD fellows). The longstanding scientific opportunities in Denver in basic, translational and clinical research, together with innovative new programs available through the NIH-funded Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI), provide a highly supportive environment to promote the goals of this training program. There is strong historical institutional support manifest by the presence of a well-established Clinical Research Training Program that provides comprehensive and formal didactic training in clinical investigation for MD and PhD scientists and trainees. The Immunology and other Graduate School Programs provide substantial formal training as well as intellectual and laboratory resources for trainees interested in basic research. The Division of Rheumatology is physically located in an Autoimmunity Center, placing trainees in direct proximity to faculty from many disciplines whose principal focus is on the shared pathogenic mechanisms of autoimmune diseases. The ongoing support of the NIH-funded Prevention of Autoimmunity Center, the Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis (SERA), an expanding translational lupus research program, and the recent establishment of the Colorado School of Public Health further facilitate a broad-based training environment. The training program will remain under the direction of Dr. Michael Holers, Professor of Medicine and Immunology and Head of the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Holers will be assisted by two Co-Directors, Drs. Jill M. Norris and Susan A. Boackle, as well 10 additional Participating Faculty Members and 20 Consultants. Support is requested to continue training three postdoctoral fellows per year as well as to expand the programmatic support to include two medical students and two graduate students per year. The new curriculum for the School of Medicine includes research-intensive programs that will provide us access to medical student trainees, and the Graduate School encompasses >20 PhD granting programs, as well as a Medical Scientist Training Program, to facilitate graduate student recruitment. The primary criteria by which the program will continue to be judged is the ongoing successful development of academic investigators who drive the basic research and clinical practice advances necessary to improve the health of patients with rheumatic diseases. Over the past 25 years this NIH-funded T32 training program has compiled an excellent record;for example, in the last ten years, six of the eleven completed MD trainees currently hold full time academic research positions, and an additional two MD trainees hold full time academic clinician-educator positions. This T32 program is an essential component of our rigorous scientific training environment, and its renewal will allow us to continue to promote the development of young scientists pursuing rheumatic disease research.
Through high-quality mentoring in a broad-based and interactive research environment, this T32 program will support the development of outstanding MD and PhD investigators whose research focus is on rheumatic disease pathogenesis and treatment. This program has demonstrated substantial success in training MD and PhD postdoctoral fellows who are currently in academic positions, and will now expand its scope to include trainees at earlier career points, including medical students, residents and graduate students.
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