The education of clinician-scientists is of paramount importance to the field of Otolaryngology. The need for interface between science and medicine, the importance of clinicians that value scientific research, and the increased importance of evidence-based medicine in health care all argue for research training of physicians. Moreover, the impact of immunological mechanisms in many otolaryngological diseases has received increased attention in the past decade, and we are seeing an increase in the use of immune/inflammatory therapeutics in our field. Yet Otolaryngology remains behind many other areas of medicine in immunologic research. As an example, the area of innate immunity mediated by pathogen receptors has seen a dramatic expansion in the broader field of immunology and infectious diseases over the past 15 years, and the head and neck represent a major pathogen interface. However, only within the last few years has an increase in pathogen receptor research been seen in Otolaryngology. Similarly, the availability of molecular methods has also transformed research in immunology and other areas of biomedicine. However, the use of molecular methods by clinician-scientists in Otolaryngology has lagged. Over the past 30 years, the UCSD Division of Otolaryngology has steadily expanded its research in both immunology and molecular biology, until we have a well-established cadre of investigators. The available talents of these investigators provide a unique and fertile training ground for young academicians who wish to pursue these arenas of research, so that otolaryngology can assure itself that a select group of well-trained, clinically-oriented researchers will be generated. To this end, we propose to continue our postdoctoral research-training program. The trainees for this program will be selected from MD's who wish to pursue eighteen months of full-time research training during their otolaryngology residency. Trainees will receive advanced basic science, translational or clinical research training in the application of advanced immunology and molecular biology methods to research problems in otolaryngology. However, recognizing the difficulties inherent in training clinician-scientists, we also provide training in research collaboration and team-building, combining research with clinical practice, and effective grant-writing skills. Trainees will also receive instruction in the research ethics, responsible conduct of research, project design and implementation, and publication of results.
Training physicians in Otolaryngology to perform research is of critical importance to the future of the field. Only through research that is performed in a rigorous manner by highly trained physician-scientists will diseases be understood and new treatments be developed. The proposed training will prepare otolaryngologists for careers in academic medicine that include research.
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