The training program described in this application represents a paradigm for training academic renal scientists combining subspecialty training, with research training leading to either an M.S. or Ph.D. degree, or equivalent postdoctoral training. M.D. trainees complete 1-2 years of subspecialty nephrology training and interested candidates can pursue 2 years of research training (on average) for an M.S. degree, and 3 years (on average) for a Ph.D. degree, including formal course work, qualifying examinations, and research leading to a successful thesis defense. A separate non-degree granting track is also now offered to fellows interested in formal research training. 2 positions are requested per year, to provide support for the research training component only of the fellowship program. The training faculty consist of 26 senior preceptors as primary mentors and 8 supporting faculty. Only senior preceptors may serve as primary mentors. The faculty belong to 5 groups: 1) the UCLA Molecular Structural Physiology Transport Unit, 2) the UCLA Molecular Bone Research Unit, 3) the UCLA Transplant Immunology Research Unit, 4) outstanding faculty from the ACCESS program, a multidepartmental program with faculty who administer training in basic molecular and cellular life sciences, and 5) the UCLA School of Public Health and the RAND Graduate School providing training in health services research. Almost all senior preceptors from the ACCESS program with appointments in Biological Chemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Immunology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Physiology, are also members of the either the UCLA Molecular Physiology Transport Unit, the UCLA Molecular Bone Research Unit, or the UCLA Transplant Immunology Research Unit, each of which is directed by a senior nephrology faculty member. Supporting faculty do not act as primary mentors, but play a key role in enhancing the overall research environment, and fostering translational research from the basic to the clinical arena. The research programs of the faculty are supported by 44 million dollars in direct costs annually from extramural sources. By integrating nephrology subspecialty training with the formal training towards an M.S. or Ph.D. degree (or equivalent postdoctoral training), the Nephrology Training Program is designed to provide trainees with a rigorous and formal research background, which is essential for translating the advances in clinical and basic science into the practice of modern medicine.
The Nephrology Scientist Training Program will provide enhanced training and education to biomedical scientists that will result in increased understanding and potential cures for diseases that impact United States citizens.
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