This proposal seeks continued support for an Institutional NRSA that provides post- doctoral research training to 4 M.D. and/or Ph.D. trainees in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism. Also requested are 6 short-term summer medical student training positions. This multi-disciplinary program involves 27 faculty preceptors in six clinical and basic science departments of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. It is an integral component of the training activities of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center. Its goal is to provide trainees with the knowledge and skills required for independent clinical or basic science research careers. M.D. trainees are encouraged to acquire a firm foundation in the basic sciences, but also to select projects in translational or clinical research areas. Ph.D. trainees are urged to relate their research to health- oriented problems. Trainees are selected from the nationwide pool of applicants that traditionally seek training at Vanderbilt. M.D. trainees usually have three to four years of residency training before entering the program. Ph.D. trainees have typically just received or are one year out from their doctorate. Trainees are selected on the basis of pre-doctoral performance and especially on their potential as future researchers and educators. Training positions are allocated approximately equally between M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s. The training program utilizes the preceptor approach, in which the trainee develops a research project under the guidance of a faculty preceptor. Several criteria are used to match the preceptor with the trainee, including the expressed interests of the trainee, quality of the project proposed, amount of direct supervision that the preceptor can provide, and adequacy of the research facilities available. Typical research topics include hormone action in humans as it relates to diabetes, intermediary metabolism, micronutrient effects on metabolic disease, metabolic regulation, molecular genetics of metabolic diseases, and translation of diabetes care delivery. Research training is supplemented by conferences, seminars, and required and optional coursework. Trainee progress is evaluated by a mentoring committee twice-yearly and the program is evaluated yearly by an oversight committee. In the 36 years of NIH support, the program has supported 108 trainees. Over 80% of those who have completed training have chosen careers in academia, industry, or government.
We are training the next generation of scientists with expertise in diabetes, metabolic, and endocrine diseases. These trainees will make discoveries during and after their training that will improve our understanding of and lead to new and improved treatment for these conditions.
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