The objective of this long-standing vision training grant (VTG) program is to provide intensive basic and translational science training for individuals who will become outstanding vision researchers. Training is provided in the disciplines of cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, genetics, developmental biology, neuroscience, and cancer biology. Emphasis is placed on understanding fundamental mechanisms underlying normal ocular processes, as well as disorders of the retina, choroid, cornea, lens, optic nerve, and central visual processing. The program is a collaborative effort of basic scientists and the clinical disciplines, providing the facilities and supervision for laboratory investigations relative to major missions of the National Eye Institute. The VTG faculty includes members of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and Morehouse School of Medicine, as well as multiple departments at Emory University. The program directors oversee the selection of trainees and the provision of appropriate background, technical training, and ongoing research supervision by the mentors. Thus, the program stimulates collaboration among vision scientists and their trainees across Atlanta. Our program successfully attracts minority trainees to careers in eye research, drawing from the outstanding resources of Atlanta academic and medical institutions. The trainees include: (1) predoctoral students from the interdisciplinary Graduate Programs of: Biochemistry, Cell, and Developmental Biology; Neuroscience; Molecular and Systems Pharmacology; Genetics and Molecular Biology; Cancer Biology, and Biomedical Engineering; and (2) postdoctoral fellows seeking advanced training with the VTG preceptors in a scientific area pertinent to vision research. Pre- and postdoctoral trainees select a preceptor with whom they develop a research proposal, conduct the research, and participate in the ongoing research projects of the mentor. Predoctoral trainees are appointed to the VTG only after selecting a dissertation advisor who is a member of the VTG faculty, usually after the first year of graduate study and passing the preliminary qualifying exams. All trainees are required to participate in the research seminar series, journal clubs, didactic course work, grand rounds, and other educational activities of the Emory Eye Center -- the focal point for eye research and clinical care in the Atlanta area.
The future of curing blinding eye disease relies on a continued supply of well-trained vision scientists. Our goal is to produce the next generation of scientists who are well versed in the basic, clinical, and translational research approaches that will be needed to fulfill the mission of the National Eye Institute.
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