The goals of this Musculoskeletal Research Training Program are to provide multidisciplinary research opportunities for postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and medical students at Mayo Clinic and to train them to be future leaders of biomedical research. Musculoskeletal ailments such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, and fractures are some of the most common reasons why patients visit a doctor and as such have significant effects on quality of life, as well as our economy. The repair, regeneration, or rejuvenation of musculoskeletal tissues and joints requires knowledge of complex and interconnected biomechanical, biological, and physiological processes. Thus, this program aims to train future biologists, engineers, and physicians/surgeons to solve orthopedic and musculoskeletal problems by providing outstanding research and educational opportunities within the setting of a state-of-the-art medical and research center. Nineteen faculty members who are leaders in basic, translational, and clinical research of orthopedics, endocrinology, infectious disease, and neuromuscular control will mentor trainees by directing research projects and group discussions on timely topics. A peer-mentoring system is also available for new trainees to receive advice and counseling from past trainees who successfully obtained independent fellowships. Postdoctoral fellows (4 per year) and graduate students (2 per year) will engage in multiyear projects and receive training in grant writing and career development. They will be expected to submit applications for independent fellowships and to participate if a full array of programmatic activities, including but not limited to journal clubs, seminars, webinars, national scientific meetings, and training in the responsible conduct of research. Medical students (2 per year) from fully accredited medical schools in the United States and its territories (i.e., Puerto Rico) will spend two to three months in the training program and be expected complete a defined research project under the guidance of a mentor(s) and to participate in didactic educational activities. This blended musculoskeletal research training program values individuals from diverse educational and societal backgrounds and benefits from the unique perspectives they bring to solving complex medical problems and reducing the burden of musculoskeletal diseases on patients, their families and our society.

Public Health Relevance

Musculoskeletal diseases are the leading cause of disability in people over 50 years of age. The total economic costs for treatment and time spent away from work are estimated to be over $950 billion annually. The prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions will continue to escalate in the next 10 to 20 years due to the aging baby boomer population. This program provides focused training at Mayo Clinic to a new generation of researchers who will advance the science and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Special Grants Review Committee (AMS)
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Chen, Faye H
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Mayo Clinic, Rochester
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Ellingson, Arin M; Nuckley, David J (2015) Altered helical axis patterns of the lumbar spine indicate increased instability with disc degeneration. J Biomech 48:361-9
Ryan, Zachary C; Craig, Theodore A; McGee-Lawrence, Meghan et al. (2015) Alterations in vitamin D metabolite, parathyroid hormone and fibroblast growth factor-23 concentrations in sclerostin-deficient mice permit the maintenance of a high bone mass. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 148:225-31
Ellingson, Arin M; Nagel, Tina M; Polly, David W et al. (2014) Quantitative T2* (T2 star) relaxation times predict site specific proteoglycan content and residual mechanics of the intervertebral disc throughout degeneration. J Orthop Res 32:1083-9
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Gingery, Anne; Yang, Tai-Hua; Passe, Sandra M et al. (2014) TGF-? signaling regulates fibrotic expression and activity in carpal tunnel syndrome. J Orthop Res 32:1444-50
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Barnes, Jill N; Hart, Emma C; Curry, Timothy B et al. (2014) Aging enhances autonomic support of blood pressure in women. Hypertension 63:303-8

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