This proposal requests support for a new, interdisciplinary post-doctoral training program at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). The program will be led by the Institute of Human Nutrition (IHN) and the Department of Epidemiology (EPI), and will be co-directed by Dr. Debra Wolgemuth (IHN) and Dr. Ezra Susser (EPI). The proposed mentors are well-funded and well-published investigators with considerable experience in training Masters and predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. A major theme of this training program is to train investigators with translational skills applicable to defining the effects of nutrients and nutrition early in the lifecycle on health outcomes later in life. The proposed program will capitalize on the unique strengths of these two partners within CUMC relevant to this theme: i) basic research in nutritional and metabolic biology in the IHN, and ii) population health science in EPI. The goal of the program is to provide postdoctoral training for research scientists with doctorate or equivalent degrees in a basic science (usually nutritional science), medicine, or in a population health science (usually epidemiology) through didactic and research experience in the complementary discipline. During the minimum two-year training period, the candidates will pursue course work and concomitant research projects in the complementary discipline under the direction of a mentor and co-mentor from each field. The trainees will have the opportunity to obtain an MS degree in the complementary discipline as part of their training. The trainees will retain their original disciplinary focus in basic science or population health science, but their training in the complementary discipline will facilitate engagement in interdisciplinary research which requires partners from both fields, and will make this interdisciplinary research much more effective. Thus trainees of the program will be uniquely prepared to enter translational research environments where bridging disciplines is an essential requirement for cutting edge research to enhance human health.
A major theme of this training program will be to train investigators with transitional skills applicable to defining the effects of nutrients and nutrition early in the lifecycle and health outcomes later in life, an area of research that is becoming increasingly important in disease prevention. The trainees of this interdisciplinary program will be uniquely prepared to enter translational research environments where bridging disciplines, in this case nutritional and metabolic biology and population health sciences, is an essential requirement for cutting edge research to enhance human health and in treating disease.
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