The T32 training program submitted offers 2-3 years of fellowship designed to prepare physicians and post-doctoral candidates for investigative careers in the area of obesity. The program provides a structured curriculum in the first 2 years, in combination with a research experience emphasizing either basic laboratory or translational research. Trainees are appointed as post-doctoral fellows at Columbia University, allowing for part-time course work, and a number of course requirements are required, different for basic scientists and translational scientists, and also depending on previous training. Trainees are incorporated into the investigative programs of faculty members at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, which is a consortium including St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine which has strong administrative support from the 3 institutions. Trainees elect to work with a faculty member at one of the 3 sites. The faculty's multidisciplinary nature (physicians, biochemists, cell biologists, psychologists, nutritionists, geneticists and statisticians) allows a multidisciplinary approach on the part of the trainees. Strong collaborative ties among the training faculty make this possible. Trainees have available multiple techniques in enzymology, cell culture, molecular genetics and gene cloning, body composition, calorimetry, metabolic balance, nutritional assessment, stable isotope methodology, hormone and metabolite assays, hormone receptor biochemistry, ingestive behavior, animals models of obesity, and many more. Trainees are (1) physicians who have completed 3 to 5 years of post-graduate clinical training, (2) recent Ph.D (or equivalent) recipients in disciplines including (but not limited) to genetics, biochemistry, nutrition, psychology, physiology, neuroendocrinology, neuroscience, or pharmacology. Individuals are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence in graduate school, recommendations of previous faculty and consideration of the degree to which their research interests fit in with those of the faculty. All trainees must have a future plan for an investigative career in the area of obesity, eating disorders, or appetitive behavior. Each of the cooperating faculty laboratories is well equipped and funded to support the trainee's research in an optimal manner. The program aims to develop independent investigative skills and a rigorous approach to investigation through courses, seminars and individual mentoring. Funding for 6 trainees is requested.
There is a dearth of scientists adequately prepared for investigation in the area of obesity, yet there is a great need because obesity has become a major public health problem in our nation. The objective of this training program is to educate young scientists through academic course work and research experience so that they will become independent investigators and assume leadership positions in the effort to understand, prevent, and treat obesity.
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