This is a competitive renewal application for funding for the Mayo Kidney disease Research Training Program (DK07013). The objective of this research training program is to prepare biomedical and clinician scientists for independent investigative careers in academic nephrology and basic renal sciences. A priority of this training program is to ensure that its trainees acquire an in-depth education and expertise that combines the study of renal physiology or pathophysiology and the development of skills in one or more areas of basic or applied sciences. This training program is now comprised of 30 Full Faculty members and 3 Associate Faculty members grouped into 8 units. The scope of this program is wide enough to afford the trainee an appreciation and understanding of the breadth of academic nephrology. Its depth is sufficient to provide rigorous training in the major disciplines of nephrology. The postdoctoral training program is available to MD graduates who have commenced or have completed training in clinical nephrology as well as postdoctoral biomedical scientists. In this renewal, we propose to continuing training three (3) postdoctoral students per year. The duration of training is a minimum of two and preferably three years. The first year of training is supported by this training grant;an effort is being made to obtain alternate sources o funding to support the second and third year of training if possible in order to increase the number of candidates that benefit from this training grant and to provide trainees experience in writing grant proposals. This Training Program benefits from close interactions of its Faculty with the Mayo Graduate School (MGS), of which many are full members with Teaching Privileges. The MGS also serves as an excellent pool of potential trainees. Based on estimates of the recruitment pool in the MGS (23 current PhD students in the Physiology &Biomedical Engineering (BME) Graduate Program, with 10 conducting research in areas relevant to renal physiology and disease;31 current Ph.D. students in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Graduate Program, with 5 conducting research in renal physiology and disease) there are ample potential and qualified applicants. A stated goal of the Mayo Nephrology Training Program during this cycle is to increase interactions with the PhD programs in the Mayo Graduate School. These programs attract talented and qualified students, including a rich pool of minorities. These recent graduates will be ideal candidates who were attracted to and are familiar with the rich translational nature of research at Mayo. The faculty of this training grantis organized into 8 training units. Twenty-one faculty members are from the Nephrology Research Unit and/or the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, 1 from the Transplant Center, and 11 are from other clinical or basic science departments engaged in nephrology related research. These faculty members have been carefully selected because of their skills in basic or applied sciences and because their interests overlap with those of the Nephrology and Hypertension faculty members in each of the research units. All of the faculty members have a strong commitment to the training of the next generation of biomedical and clinician scientists. Thirty-one of the 33 members are NIH funded while the remaining six have other sources of funding. Given the breadth of research interests of key faculty members, we will also strive to appoint trainees such that no faculty member will serve as a primary mentor for more than two trainees in the 5-year funding period.
Organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Institutes of Medicine, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American Medical Association have expressed concern about the future of clinician scientists. Biomedical and clinician scientists are of fundamental importance for biomedical research, as they form a bridge between clinicians and medical scientists, are the most qualified to ask the proper scientific health related questions, and have been referred to as the gateway into health of ideas from scientists at large. This concern is based on documented facts such as the progressive decline in the percentage of NIH awarded research project grants going to MD's or MD/PhD's, the progressive decline in the actual number of first-time MD applicants for NIH research project grants, and the progressive decline in the total number of MD post- doctoral trainees supported by NIH. One of the causes for these declining numbers has been the inability of clinical departments to keep pace with the rate and complexity of scientific progress. Consequently, a priority of this training program is to ensure that its trainees acquire an in-depth education and expertise that combines the study of renal physiology or pathophysiology and the development of skills in one or more areas of basic or applied sciences.
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