This application is a competing renewal of T32 DK007774 from the University of Pittsburgh. A critical need for scientists who understand both the basic biology and clinical aspects of urologic diseases exists. Our goal is to fulfill this need by providing postdoctoral fellows with the skills required for a successful career in urologic research. The participating mentors, who all have extramural funding and well-equipped labs, focus on many of the key mechanisms underlying urologic diseases, including the molecular biology of benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate growth regulation, androgen action, inflammation, and neuron-epithelial interactions. Many of the mentors have a history of collaboration, providing the opportunity for trainees to learn multi-disciplinary approaches to solve problems. The Urology Department and Medical School provide superb infrastructure and facilities that trainees can take advantage of. Trainees will develop their skills through (1) laboratory research;(2) courses in ethics and professional development, such as scientific writing and management, and;(3) participation in seminars, journal clubs, progress reports and group meetings. To explore the clinical relevance of their findings, trainees will attend urology grand rounds and interact with urologists and pathologists serving as clinical co-mentors. A mentoring contract will be in place to ensure that participants fully understand expectations. We will also implement a new system for evaluation that will help us to optimize our program. In the past 4 1/2 years, our program has successfully trained 7 postdoctoral fellows. These trainees have demonstrated their potential through their productivity, and almost all have remained in research. With the arrival of Dr. Wang as the new Program Director in 2008, recruiting efforts have greatly increased. As a result, we interviewed 8 excellent candidates in just several months. Of these, 4 have joined our program. Based on this current activity, in combination with our expanded faculty pool, we expect that we will be able to consistently fill all of the available slots with outstanding trainees. Of note, we will make a special effort to recruit minority postdoctoral trainees by soliciting applications from historically black colleges and universities. The Executive Training Committee will have the responsibility of both selecting the best candidates based on their recommendation letters, quality of publications and a seminar, and monitoring trainee progress. We request funding for 4 postdoctoral fellows each year for a period of 5 years, allowing us to continue to support the career development of talented young scientists.
Urologic disease affects a great many individuals. To tackle these complex diseases requires scientists that recognize the importance of both the bench and bedside. Thus, the goal of our training program at the University of Pittsburgh is to prepare postdoctoral fellows to work as independent scientists at the interface of basic and clinical urologic research.
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