The purpose of this application is to request a further five years of support for an Institutional National Research Service Award (years 21-25) to support multidisciplinary postdoctoral training focused on the neurobiological aspects of substance abuse with a strong focus on neuroimaging as well as in molecular and familial genetics. We request support for six postdoctoral (3 MDs and 3 PhDs) fellows. The fellowship will usually last 3 years for MDs and 2 years for PhDs. Fellows with a wide variety of backgrounds will be recruited including;Psychology, Psychiatry, Genetics, Medicine, Anthropology, Sociology, Biology, and Neuroscience. The primary research training experience is the apprenticeship model - conduct of supervised research under the tutelage of one or more preceptors who are established researchers and experienced mentors. The trainee's work is usually focused on a single but broad ranging research project developed jointly by the preceptor and trainee. Mentored research takes up approximately 70%-80% of the trainee's effort. The remainder of the training program is made up of lectures, seminars, reading courses, individual tutorials and, where needed, formal didactic course work available in our graduate and medical school. Tutorials in neurobiology, genetics and epidemiology are tailored for trainees with specific interests that may or may not fall into their major area of focus. To arrang these tutorials, the program coordinator and preceptor identify areas of specific interest and set up the tutorial for the trainees with one of our preceptors or tutors who best meet the training objective. The main research interests of the Washington University Department of Psychiatry are very broad: Genetic Epidemiology, Molecular Genetics, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Nosology, Physiology, Neuroimaging and Molecular Neurobiology. The department seminar series includes Grand Rounds, Departmental Research Seminars, and three special series, one devoted to Epidemiology &Biostatistics, one devoted to Genetic Epidemiology and one to Neurobiology. The Medical Center as a whole offers more than 35 hours of relevant seminars per week dealing with the subject matter of this grant. Many of these are relevant to the mission of this program and can be attended by postdoctoral trainees.
Prescription drug abuse has grown recently, reaching near epidemic proportions over the past 15 years. In many cases these drugs have replaced illicit drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine as the drug of choice among misusers;yet we still know very little about the biomedical underpinnings for this public health threat, in part due to a lackof trained investigators working in the fields of Neurobiology and Molecular and Familial Genetics. This grant aims to fill the gap in trained researchers in these fields.
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