The objective of this Training Program is to prepare pediatric endocrine physicians and other scientists for careers in academic research in Pediatric Endocrinology. The program is large, multifaceted and broadly based, yet integrates molecular endocrinology, physiology and clinical investigation. There are 33 experienced Program Faculty members from 10 departments with a broad range of scientific experiences, skills and interests who are directly responsible for the research training. The research training focuses primarily on: 1) basic studies of islet cell biology, 2) steroid hormone biosynthesis and action, 3) clinical studies of diabetes and carbohydrate metabolism, 4) disorders of growth and development, 5) genetics, physiology, and epidemiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes, 6) disorders of salt and water metabolism, 7) calcium, vitamin D, PTH and bone metabolism. These studies employ a broad range of techniques including prospective clinical investigation, epidemiology, cell biology, transgenic mouse technology, physical chemistry, and virtually all aspects of the analysis of gene structure, function, and transcription. The program provides trainees with a basic background in clinical investigation and in molecular and cellular biology during the first year. Following this, fellows spend two additional years of intensive training and experience in one of these areas. The training program includes didactic courses in molecular genetics, cell biology and radiation safety, weekly endocrine grand rounds, endocrine research conference, journal club, and endocrine clinical conference, and seminars on the responsible conduct of research. Trainees learn to design and execute both basic and clinical research projects, analyze data and write manuscripts for prominent peer-reviewed journals. In addition, trainees prepare and submit grant applications for extra-mural funding, further preparing them for independent academic careers. The program emphasizes the training of pediatric physicians but has also included PhD scientists and physicians from other fields. The special strengths of this program include: 1) The diverse skills and interests of the faculty. 2) The substantial laboratory resources of the faculty. 3) The existence of our Pediatric Clinical Research Center, which facilitates training in state-of-the-art clinical investigation. 4) The outstanding environment for research in endocrinology and related areas at UCSF. The continuing success of this program is shown by the fact that since 1966, 72% of the 165 trainees in this program have remained in academic medicine.
Hormonal systems regulate key physiologic processes in virtually all organs, and are especially important for growth, reproduction and carbohydrate homeostasis;these are areas addressed by Pediatric Endocrinology. Endocrine disorders include both the common, such as diabetes and thyroid disorders, and the very rare. Well-trained endocrine scientists and clinician-investigators are needed to advance this complex and rapidly developing field. This proposal seeks continued funding for one of the oldest and most successful training programs in Pediatric Endocrinology, with the aim of continuing to produce innovative scientific and clinical leaders in this field.
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