This is a renewal application for a successful training program offering 2-3 year fellowships that prepare post-doctoral scientists for careers in obesity research. Early career investigators enroll in a formal program tailored to individual interests aimed to promote development of independent research careers. Trainees are incorporated into the investigative programs of UAB's Clinical Nutrition Research Unit. Trainees may elect to work with a single faculty member or be jointly mentored by more than one faculty. The faculty's multidisciplinary nature (physicians, psychologists, statisticians, physiologists, geneticists, epidemiologists, nutritionists, etc) allows a multidisciplinary approach on the part of the trainees. Strong collaborative ties among the faculty facilitate this multidisciplinary approach. Trainees have available techniques in cell culture, animal models, statistical methodology, molecular genetics, body composition, calorimetry, metabolic balance, nutritional assessment, stable isotope methodology, hormone and metabolite assays, hormone receptor biochemistry, and many more. Trainees will be physicians or recent Ph.D. (or equivalent) recipients in disciplines including (but not limited to) genetics, biochemistry, nutrition, psychology, physiology, statistics, epidemiology, neuroscience or pharmacology. Individuals are selected based on demonstrated competence in graduate school, recommendations of their previous faculty, and consideration of the degree to which their interests fit with those of the faculty and with ongoing research programs. All trainees must have as a future plan an investigative career in obesity-related research. Each cooperating laboratory is well equipped and funded to support trainees'research and scholarly development. The program promotes independent investigative skills and a rigorous approach to investigation through research and didactic seminars. Many courses are available to trainees. Regular reviews of individual trainees are completed by the training program directors to insure that adequate progress toward the development of an independent research career is made. Funding is requested for six post-doctoral trainee slots.
Obesity, a problem of enormous public health relevance, afflicts millions of American adults and children, decreases quality of life, impairs health, and shortens lifespan. Its causes remain incompletely understood and available treatment and prevention approaches leave much room for improvement. These facts underscore the importance of training new scholars and scientists to address this challenging problem.
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