This training program for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and undergraduate trainees provides an interdisciplinary education and research experience in hearing, balance and chemical senses (HBCS). Predoctoral training is based in one of the 15 academic departments and degree-granting graduate programs with which the 28 training faculty are associated. Doctoral thesis research and postdoctoral research training reside primarily within the laboratories of the mentors. Our affiliated faculty provides outstanding training in each of their corresponding disciplines: bioengineering, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, molecular and neurophysiology, developmental biology, and biopsychology of sensory processing. The HBCS program integrates investigators in auditory, vestibular and chemosensory research with trainees from across these disciplines and thereby fosters innovative training opportunities into mechanisms and disorders of hearing, balance, taste and smell. Cross-disciplinary integration is made possible by the training program through: a) introductory and advanced courses in sensory systems;b) seminars in hearing, balance and chemical senses with experts from within and outside the University of Michigan;c) student and faculty seminars, journal clubs and research forums;d) exposure to clinical research issues in Otolaryngology and clinical/translational resources available at the University of Michigan Medical School, and d) training in research standards and ethics. Support for 5 predoctoral and 4 postdoctoral trainees is requested. Predoctoral trainees will be selected from the most highly qualified graduate students in the training faculty's affiliated departments and programs. Interest and motivation for research in sensory systems will be an important criterion. Postdoctoral trainees must have a doctoral degree such as a Ph.D. or M.D. and a strong commitment to sensory biology. Support is also requested to recruit hearing impaired individuals into biomedical research. The deaf are clearly underrepresented in scientific and medical professions. The goal of our Science Mentorship Program (SMP) is to provide these under-represented individuals with direct exposure to mainstream research in the sensory sciences in order to better prepare them for entry into graduate and professional schools. We propose to continue the SMP, begun in 1990, by training 5 deaf undergraduate students per year in summer research internships.
Our primary goal for this training program is to attract promising scientists to the research fields of hearing, balance, taste and smell and to provide them with the mentoring and training that will result in their pursuit of productive research careers in these areas. A better understanding of these areas of sensory neuroscience will provide important insight into many human sensory disorders that greatly affect quality of life.
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