Purpose and Program Overview. This training program has successfully trained graduate students in the fields of hormone mechanisms, gene regulation, molecular and cellular endocrinology, inflammation, human disease, neuroendocrinology, neurodegeneration and neurobiology for the past 25 years. The strength of the program is its outstanding core faculty and the unusually rich research environment provided the University of California, San Diego, the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and The Scripps Research Institute. The faculty are all internationally recognized for their research accomplishments and have long records of training graduate students who have gone on to very productive careers. Thus far, we have 28 students who have academic positions as independent investigators in outstanding academic institutions, and 10 who are investigators in biotech companies, with others currently at the end of their postdoctoral training period. This program is interdisciplinary, involving faculty from the UCSD School of Medicine, Department of Biology and Department's and Divisions of Endocrinology, Physiology, Pharmacology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Neural Systems and The Salk Institute participate. Graduate students are immersed in contemporary research approaches to important questions, learn the new high-throughput concepts and techniques applicable to molecular biology, cellular biology, genomics, genetics and biochemistry and have been acquiring the broad background of the literature and basic science of these fields required for discovery. Formal courses, hands-on laboratory experience, and intensive interaction with our outstanding program faculty working at the leading edge of their field will also prepare trainees for teaching in this discipline. We hope to be permitted the opportunity to continue this highly successful predoctoral training grant. We are quite proud of the remarkable success of our training program "graduates." Trainees: Eight trainee students per year, with bachelor degrees in biology or chemistry will be admitted to the Ph.D. programs. They are selected from >350 applicants to each of the two graduate programs on the basis of point average, GRE scores, and interviews with faculty and advanced graduate students with full attempt to attract minority students. Graduate students will be directed towards careers in contemporary gene regulation, molecular endocrinology, regulation neuroendocrinology and/or neurobiology and translation to human disease. They were encouraged to develop skills in innovation, rigor, bench science, writing, teaching, translational research and oral presentation.
The relevance of our training program "Molecular Biological Approaches to Endocrinology," to basic science research and translation to human disease in the United States has been remarkable, with our outstanding faculty having trained >40 independent investigators over the course of this program. These talented trainees have made a critical impact on our understanding of genetics, genomics, transcription, inflammation, neurodevelopment, development of the endocrine system, neurodegeneration, and a series of common and devastating diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegeneration. More than 80% of our "graduates" have gone on to successful careers as independent investigators at our best Universities, have made sustained, outstanding research contributions, as well as teaching future generations of American scientists.
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