A group of investigators seeks to renew Minnesota Muscle, the NIH-funded interdisciplinary Training Program (MMTG) in muscle research at the University of Minnesota, for both predoctoral and postdoctoral scientists. This program began 10 years ago with a primary focus on basic muscle research. During the past five years, the Academic Health Center has placed a high priority on the expansion of muscle research at all levels, particularly translational research, defined here as research aimed at the development of new therapeutic approaches. The institution has recruited internationally prominent researchers in muscle disease and therapy and has established new facilities that support this research. These developments have led us to improve the quality of an already outstanding training program, as measured by the funding and training records of the faculty, and by the number of qualified trainees, their publication record during training, and their research career success after training. Program faculty are drawn from a wide range of departments in the Academic Health Center, but all of the graduate students are enrolled in the interdepartmental graduate programs in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics (BMBB) or Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics (MCDBG), which share a common admissions program (Molecular Cellular and Structural Biology, MCSB) and first-year curriculum. The intellectual center of the training program is an intensive one-semester course entitled "Muscle," taught by the program faculty and emphasizing both basic science and muscle disease. This course has been expanded to accommodate an increasing emphasis on muscle disease and therapy. This is augmented by a weekly muscle journal club, a weekly internal seminar program, a monthly external seminar including international leaders in muscle research, and an annual symposium in which virtually all members of the training faculty research groups actively present and discuss their research. The program is closely associated with the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center, and supported by a recently funded NIAMS P30 Grant entitled "Muscular Dystrophy Center Core Laboratories," both of which are directed by the co-director of this training grant. These core facilities support virtually all of the research projects of the training faculty and have helped to foster extensive interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty and trainees. The primary goal of the program is to help these exceptional young scientists develop the intellectual and technical tools needed for productive careers as independent investigators and educators in muscle research.
Minnesota Muscle is a training program in basic and translational muscle research, for both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. The program has been extremely successful in its first ten years, as measured by the publications and research career trajectories of past predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. Recent additions of outstanding faculty and new core facilities have improved an already stellar training program.
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