Progress towards understanding mechanisms of hearing, and the treatment of hearing deficits, requires an integrated effort from multiple disciplines within the field of hearing research. The Center for Hearing Research (CHR) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) will mount an interdisciplinary training program that will take advantage of the breadth and depth of hearing research at UCI to train new scientists broadly across multiple disciplines, as well as deeply in one. The 18 training faculty in CHR span nine departments in five Schools (Biological Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences) with research interests that cover a broad range of levels (genes, molecules, cells, systems, behavior) and experimental approaches (cellular and molecular biology, neurophysiology, psychoacoustics, computation, human imaging). Thus, CHR is well-positioned to offer interdisciplinary training. We request support for four predoctoral students and four postdoctoral researchers including medical residents from Otolaryngology and Neurology. The didactic core of the training program is a course in Auditory Neuroscience, which covers the auditory system from cells to psychoacoustics, the cochlea to the cortex, and both basic and clinical aspects. Mandatory features of the training program that encourage interdisciplinary interactions are participation in CHR activities (CHR's mandate is to promote interdisciplinary research), required study of a discipline outside one's own, and regular meetings among basic and clinical scientists. The normal period of support is two years for both pre- and post-doctoral trainees (one year for residents). Predoctoral trainees normally enter the program in their second year of graduate study, and are required to take a course on grant writing and submit an NRSA proposal to successfully complete the program. The program is managed by the Program Director and an Executive Committee, and will foster trainees'intellectual, technical and professional skills needed to pursue successful careers in interdisciplinary hearing research.
To fully understand how we hear, and design effective treatments for hearing deficits, requires knowledge of multiple disciplines, such as biology, medicine and engineering. This program will train junior scientists to be experts in one discipline and familiar with several, so that they are able to focus the tools and techniques of multiple disciplines on the problems to be solved.
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