This is a competing renewal of an institutional training grant that supports postdoctoral research training in renal diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina. The training addresses particular areas of strength and collaboration in diabetic nephropathy, non-diabetic glomerulopathies, applied signal transduction relating to glomerular growth and function, proteomics of the kidney, and renal cell biology. In the first two cycles of funding, we have emphasized recruitment of clinician scientists and members of underrepresented minority groups. Our diverse pool of trainees has included 5 Caucasians, 4 African Americans, 1 Latina, and 4 Asian Americans. Five trainees were women, and 9 of the 14 were clinicians. We believe that our success in recruiting clinicians and individuals from diverse groups is a primary strength of our program. Our ultimate goal is to position these early career scientists to be competitive for investigator-initiated grant support along the NIH Roadmap T1 or T2 translational axes. Program faculty provide access to training in methodologies aligned with translational research such as biophysics, renal cell biology, proteomics, high-end microscopy, animal models of renal diseases, and clinical trials. Conceptual alignment with the Roadmap is intentional, as we understand the importance of integrating our trainees into future translational efforts. Our program has been enhanced by key recruitment of basic scientists and clinician scientists to this training program. Our designated preceptors (mentors) derive from a group of diverse yet highly compatible investigators in three closely aligned Divisions of Internal Medicine (Nephrology, Rheumatology, and Endocrinology), augmented by inclusion of selected senior faculty from other clinical and basic science departments with whom the core group already collaborates. Affiliated Faculty participate as co-mentors or provide specialized experiences for the trainees. An experienced Program Director and Fellowship Training Committee, as well as Advisory Committees, provide additional levels of direction, advice, accountability and evaluative capacity. A Trainee Ombudsman provides an extra avenue to assist trainees. The support requested will allow us to continue to attract a diverse pool of talented individuals to facilitate our interdisciplinary and programmatic approach. Such individuals will enter the fellowship with the understanding that a long-term commitment to academic medicine or biomedical investigation is a prerequisite for entry and a long-term goal.
The ultimate goal of this program is to improve the care of patients with chronic kidney disease in the Southeast U.S., which has one of the highest rates of end-stage renal disease in the country. Furthermore, >70% of patients coming to ESRD have either diabetes or hypertension listed as the cause of renal failure. Thus, this training program addresses a critical public health problem that requires an integrated, broad basedapproach.
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