The incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is on the rise to the extent that diabetes rapid and widespread nature has been referred to as pandemic in the United States;type 1 diabetes is also increasing at an unexpected rate. As such, there is an urgent need for innovative therapeutics and technologies to deal with this situation, and hence a need to train a cadre of future scientists who can engineer devices and therapeutics with in-depth knowledge and training to link their research to clinical care to address the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The Indiana Bioengineering Interdisciplinary Training for Diabetes Research program was conceived to meet this need. A novel and notable aspect of our program is the interaction and integration of premier faculty of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University with the exceptional diabetes research faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine, providing and elite training experience for future bioengineer-diabetologists. This educational model has already proven feasibility, by virtue of the successes of our Indiana MSTP T32 and our Indiana CTSI training programs.
The aim of the Indiana Bioengineering Interdisciplinary Training for Diabetes Research program is to provide interdisciplinary, integrated research training to develop predoctoral students into bioengineers capable of leading integrative and team-based approaches to solve issues relevant to the understanding, prevention and treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications. This unique and integrated format benefits from co-directorship by each institutional program using the multi-PI mechanism, with Dr. A. Panitch (Biomedical engineering PI, Purdue University) and Dr. D. Thurmond (Diabetes research PI, Indiana University School of Medicine) coordinating a select group of exemplary bioengineering and diabetes-based research faculties to co-mentor our students, in combination with a carefully designed flexible curriculum that provides in-depth training for students in engineering relevant to diabetes. Our program emphasizes coursework that broadens research training at the bench with quantitative skills, provides opportunities for public speaking, provides a range of enriching extracurricular opportunities, and allows for integration of medicine and science/engineering throughout all years of training. Defined oversight mechanisms are in place to track the progress of trainees throughout the program. By training in an environment and culture that gives strong interdisciplinary support for bioengineering and diabetes research, there is a significant probability that the bioengineering trainees will sustain an interest in diabetes, even as their specific research interests evolve over their careers.
The incidence of type 2, as well as type 1, diabetes mellitus is on the increase to the extent that diabetes has become a major health concern in the United States, thus requiring innovative therapeutics and technologies to deal with this situation. As a result, there is a need to train a cadre of future scientists who can engineer devices and therapeutics with in-depth knowledge and training to link their research to clinical care to address the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The Purdue University BME-Indiana University Medical School diabetes research training program was conceived to meet this need.