This renewal application seeks support for continuation of a highly successful, multi-center and multi- departmental training program at UT Southwestern Medical Center that provides M.D. and Ph.D. trainees with a firm basis in state-of-the-art methodologies and to prepare them for future academic careers in metabolism research. Established investigators from several Departments and a number of Centers join forces to provide our trainees with a multi-facetted and diverse training program. Participating Centers include the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research, the Center for Hypothalamic Research, the Advanced Imaging Research Center, the McDermott Center for Human Growth, the Center for Human Nutrition and the Simmons Cancer Center. Areas of expertise include systemic and cellular metabolism, diabetes, lipid biosynthesis, obesity, genetics of reproduction and steroid hormone biosynthesis and action. Our T32 mentors direct highly competitive research programs of national and international stature. Our trainees can take advantage of a very strong research infrastructure that allows them to address physiological, biochemical and cell biological problems with emerging technologies and the latest instrumentation. The 40 trainers chosen form a tightly interconnected, highly integrated group of investigators that cover all of the relevant areas in metabolism research and a number of subspecialties in endocrine research. Metabolism research at UT Southwestern has experienced a dramatic programmatic expansion over the past several years. The school has made a major commitment towards complementing existing areas of expertise by targeted recruitment of key personnel to fill existing gaps. In this application, we build upon the historic strengths of our training grant, while at the same time take advantage of the vast programmatic expansion experienced at UTSW. This T32 Training Grant in Endocrinology and Metabolism is an important cornerstone of metabolic research at UT Southwestern. We have embarked on implementing a number of substantial changes to further improve the quality of the training experience we provide: A) We have assembled an External Advisory Committee with several thought leaders in the field that will assist in the appointments of Trainees to the training grant;B) We have considerably expanded our pool of eligible candidates, which will make training grant support much more competitive to obtain;C) We are encouraging an equal distribution of slots for clinical and PhD scientists;D) We have developed an improved didactic training plan to enhance the laboratory or clinical research experience;E) Finally, we have developed stringent quality control criteria and set new milestones for our trainees supported by the grant to ensure that we maximize success of our trainees in basic, patient-oriented or translational research. The current epidemic of obesity and its pathophysiological sequelae are on the rise. It is paramount to train the next generation of metabolism researchers and endocrinologists to cope with this enormous public health problem and to develop innovative approaches to combat metabolic dysfunction.
Endocrine disorders such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, dyslipidemias, thyroid disease, and polycystic ovarian syndrome are associated with enormous costs, both with respect to their morbidity and mortality and in their burden on the health care system. This proposal aims to provide resources that will train young investigators at the MD or PhD level who will play a key role in extending our understanding of basic metabolic processes at the subcellular, cellular, organ and system level and in translating these new insights into both mechanistic and translational advances for disorders related to metabolic dysfunction.
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