The Vanderbilt Vision Research Center (WRC) request continued support for predoctoral and postdoctoral training. Vision researchers at Vanderbilt maintain an exceptionally strong training record with excellent research progress. Aggressive faculty recruiting has increased the number and diversity of qualified mentors and the number of NEI-funded research grants. The program of research and training extends from traditional psychophysics with functional brain imaging and visual neuroscience to cellular and molecular eye research. Individuals trained during the last grant period have obtained competitive postdoctoral or faculty positions and developed productive, independent careers in vision research. Training will continue in psychophysics, visual neuroscience and molecular mechanisms of transduction, retinal processing and retinal disease. Specific program requirements for predoctoral trainees include (1) The Visual System a course team-taught by program faculty, (2) additional courses specified by the trainee's graduate program selected from an extensive curriculum covering molecular biology, neuroscience, perception and engineering, (3) participation in the local Vision Training Seminar series, the invited speaker Vision Research Seminar series, and Eye &Vision Research Colloquia as well as related seminars on campus, (4) participation in international scientific meetings such as Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, Vision Science Society and Society for Neuroscience, (5) participation in a Responsible Conduct of Research program, and (6) most importantly, research supervised by one or more mentors. Postdoctoral trainees are required to fulfill the same requirements except (2) while they prepare an independent NRSA proposal. Trainees will be recruited nationally with emphasis on increasing diversity. Alliances with traditionally African-American institutions in Nashville such as Meharry Medical College, Fisk University and Tennessee State University facilitate minority recruiting. This training program develops independent, academic vision and eye researchers through interdisciplinary training in vision and eye research fostered by the number and cohesiveness of vision and eye researchers at Vanderbilt.
Through classes, seminars and research all trainees will become conversant with the diverse visual and ocular motility disabilities manifest from disorders of the eye and central pathways. The goal of ultimately treating these disorders will be instilled in trainees as the foundation of this training program.
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