This is a renewal application of grant T32 AR050958 to continue to support basic and translational research training in Inflammatory and Fibrosing Diseases centered in the Rheumatology Division at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The ultimate goal of this grant is to improve the care of rheumatic disease patients from the Southeastern United States, emphasizing research and care of African Americans with rheumatic diseases. Our training program emphasizes the interrelationship between inflammation and fibrosis and the impact of these biologic processes on end organ function such as renal disease in lupus and lung disease in scleroderma. The participating faculty have particular strength and existing collaborations in the areas of health outcomes, epidemiology of rheumatic diseases, predictors of atherosclerosis, lupus nephritis, signaling pathways leading to fibrosis, matrix proteins, scleroderma lung disease, sphingolipids, proteomics and eicosanoids. Trainees have the option of. matriculating to one of three research tracks: the bench research track for clinicians, the bench/clinical research track for non-clinicians, and the clinical investigator track which has two components, those pursuing a Master of Science in Clinical Research degree, and a non-degree clinical investigator track. The training program is structured to provide trainees with opportunities to achieve the skills that will be critical for sustained careers in academic medicine. The success of our training program, just nearing the 4"^ year of its first cycle, is documented in the Progress Report. In the past 3/4 years of funding, we have supported the training of five postdoctoral fellows: two African American males and three females. Three were MD fellows, one a PhD epidemiologist, and one a translational research PhD. Four of the five remain in academic positions. The trainees were very productive with 15 manuscripts published or in press during the time period of this award, and more than 25 presentations at various local, national, and international meetings. We have three outstanding researchers on the grant this year with a number of qualified applicants for the coming years. The present application is a request for continuation of three fellowship slots.
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