The Renal Epidemiology Training Program prepares trainees to design, conduct, and analyze independent research in the expansive field of kidney disease. This program has been continually funded since 1999, under the direction of Dr. Ronald J. Falk, MD, Director of the UNC Kidney Center and Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. We currently have 2 pre-doctoral and 3 post-doctoral trainee positions per year, with both adult and pediatric nephrology sub-specialty trainees in the post-doctoral positions. All positions have been filled in each past year of the grant with highly qualified trainees. All four pre-doctoral trainees who have completed our program are continuing in academic research positions. All fourteen prior post-doctoral trainees have gone into academia, industry, or the FDA. One pre-doctoral and four post-doctoral trainees have obtained career development awards. We have trained two pre-doctoral and two post-doctoral underrepresented minority trainees who have successfully completed the program, with both post-doctoral trainees awarded minority supplements to this award. All positions are currently filled or committed through 2014. We are requesting to expand to 4 pre-doctoral trainee slots, while continuing with 3 post-doctoral positions. Training is centered in the UNC Kidney Center in collaboration with the Departments of Epidemiology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics and Nutrition (although we have maintained our original program title). Pre- and post-doctoral trainees can develop skills in tracks associated with epidemiology or with translational research. Trainees choose to obtain advanced degrees from the UNC Epidemiology Department (MPH or PhD) or through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (PhD). Post-doctoral translational trainees may also be trained in mentors'laboratories to advance their research capacity without earning another degree. Trainees attend required structured seminars, conferences, and have performance reviews twice per year. Guidance is provided by mentoring teams comprised of faculty with expertise and established collaborative research interests across diverse areas of current interest in kidney research. Trainees are immersed in issues regarding the scope and impact of areas of research needed in the field of kidney disease, reviews of the relevant literature, development of research initiatives, data analysis and preparation of abstracts, research presentations, manuscripts and grants. We hope to continue our flourishing training program, with confidence that our trainees will develop into independent research scientists who are prepared to advance research in their area of expertise and to hold leadership positions.

Public Health Relevance

The primary purpose of the training program based in the University of North Carolina Kidney Center and Division of Nephrology and Hypertension is to nurture the development of future leaders in research related to kidney diseases. We provide a supportive yet challenging environment for trainees interested in learning and applying skills in epidemiology, clinical, and scientific research toward a better understanding of kidney diseases. Training is through degree-granting programs, research experiences, and renal-related seminars and conferences as well as through development of skills for manuscript and grant writing, presentations and leadership. Trainees each have a faculty mentoring team to facilitate their learning with regular guidance and constructive feedback. A total of 18 trainees have already successfully completed the program and have become leaders in their research areas as well as in the larger community interested in advancing the knowledge of kidney diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-G (J2))
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Rys-Sikora, Krystyna E
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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