We propose a continuation of our training program in Neurocognitive Approaches to Communication Disorders. We request 6 pre-doctoral trainees per year (no change from our current program). This training program is designed to educate clinically sophisticated scientists who will apply their research skills to the study of language and communicative disorders, and who will, likewise, apply their clinical acumen to their research endeavors. The proposed program takes advantage of the rich intellectual resources available in the San Diego, and in particular, the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders (the JDP-LCD). Our interdisciplinary training program, for the next five years, will be headed by our Training Grant Program Committee of senior investigators (Shapiro, also program director;Evans, Reilly, and Wulfeck). The faculty responsible for training our Fellows include a Participating Division of 13 mostly senior-level investigators with strong research and mentoring backgrounds, and a Consulting Division with equally strong faculty. The program plan is organized around three areas of emphasis;each of these areas is headed by an SDSU/UCSD pair to continue our cross-campus collaborations that has been so much a part of our interdisciplinary JDP: Child Language (Evans from SDSU and Deak from UCSD), Adult Language (Shapiro from SDSU and Ferreira from UCSD), and Multilingualism (Reilly from SDSU and Mayberry from UCSD). Trainees chose one or more of these emphasis areas, and also chose a 'methods minor'from the following: Behavioral Dynamics, for students who want to specialize in computer-controlled methods, including reaction time and eye-tracking;Neural Imaging, for students who want to complement behavioral studies with neuroanatomical and neurophysiological techniques, including event-related brain potentials and functional magnetic resonance imaging;or Neural Modeling, for students who are interested in the simulation of normal and disordered language and cognition using artificial neural networks. The training program will continue to be focused on research with or directly applicable to clinical populations, while at the same time appreciating basic science underpinnings. To this end, trainees are required to work with mentors who investigate clinical populations, and are required to conduct such research. Furthermore, trainees are required to get direct experience with two different clinical populations, through laboratory rotations with their mentors and other faculty. For those trainees who chose to become clinically certified speech-language pathologists, a special clinical track is available.
Our program is designed to train future scientists in methods that will help us better understand the nature of language and communicative disorders. These disorders include those that affect young children through older adults (for example, problems with speaking to be understood, with producing and understanding sentences, and with memory and attention).
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