This is an application for an institutional pre-doctoral Ph.D. training program in biomedical imaging science submitted by faculty of the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science. The 31 preceptor faculty comprises an experienced and expert group of research scientists engaged in the development and applications of a comprehensive array of in vivo biomedical imaging methods. Imaging provides a compendium of powerful techniques not only for patient care but also the study of biological structure and function. Imaging can provide uniquely valuable information about tissue composition, morphology and function, as well as quantitative descriptions of many fundamental biological processes. Continuing technical developments have expanded the applications of imaging to new areas of biology such as the study of brain function and gene expression. There is a critical need for imaging scientists trained in different techniques and modalities, knowledgeable about the ideas that are common to all imaging, and able to relate imaging to applications in biology and medicine. Our program provides a comprehensive graduate training in imaging science within the context of a leading research medical center, a unique, dedicated Institute of Imaging Science, and strong science and engineering departments. We propose a comprehensive training program for 8 outstanding pre-doctoral scientists who would each be supported for 2 years. Students in biomedical imaging will be enrolled in one of several existing graduate programs but will mainly be admitted via our programs in Chemical and Physical Biology or Biomedical Engineering. We will emphasize recruiting graduates with backgrounds in the physical and quantitative sciences. Trainees will receive thorough and exemplary instruction in all of the cognate areas relevant to biomedical imaging and its applications. They will be co-mentored by imaging science faculty as well as collaborating clinicians and biological scientists. Although enrolled in different programs, all trainees in imaging will share a common set of courses, rotations and other experiences, which will overseen and administered by the Institute. The training program incorporates didactic courses, a program of rotations and research experiences, and a dissertation research project. The research opportunities include active, funded projects in nearly all major imaging modalities and areas of imaging science. Trainees have access to outstanding facilities including three research-dedicated human MR systems (2 at 3T and one 7T);animal MR systems at 4.7T, 7T, 9.4T and 15T;high resolution ultrasound imaging;X-ray and optical imaging;micros, microSPECT and micro PET;and extensive chemistry, radiochemistry and other laboratories. Trainees are mentored in the ethics and methods of biomedical research, as well as in grant writing and other important career skills. The programs, personnel, and facilities at Vanderbilt provide unique opportunities for pre-doctoral students to receive exemplary training in biomedical imaging science.
Methods of non-invasive imaging using magnetic resonance (MRI), ultrasound, optical, X-ray or nuclear techniques have become increasingly pervasive, informative and powerful in recent years. However, there is a shortage of suitably qualified postgraduate scientists able to contribute to the further development of imaging science, which is used today in a variety of clinical and basic scientific applications. This application is for support of a comprehensive Ph.D. training program for graduate students with backgrounds mainly in the physical sciences and engineering to become experts in different aspects of imaging science and able to contribute to translational applications of imaging techniques.
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