Faculty of three contiguous institutions, Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), Sloan-Kettering Institute (SKI), and The Rockefeller University (RU), request funds to continue a collaborative tri-institutional training program in vision research (TTPVR) started fourteen years ago. The current TTPVR consists of an integrated set of training activities for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. The strengths and diversities of the faculties provide opportunities for research in retinal cell and developmental biology, genetics, neural regeneration, development and plasticity, immunology, structural biology, signal transduction, and information processing at the level of the eye and the brain. The various research projects utilize a vast array of methodologies, such as molecular and cell biology, yeast and mouse genetics, gene transfer and gene therapy, crystallography and other structural approaches, electrophysiology, imaging, high resolution optical microscopy, behavior, computer modeling, and epidemiology. The pooling of resources for vision training leads to an enrichment of programs over and above those available at the individual institutions, promotes collaborations between participating basic science faculty, as well as with clinical faculty, and provides a unique opportunity for the hiring of new Vision Faculty or attracting existing faculty into Vision Research. Interaction between Program Faculty and students takes place via a Vision seminar series, a weekly Vision journal club, a course by clinical-academic faculty designed to expose basic vision scientists to vision disorders seen in the clinic, various other courses dealing with different aspects of vision research, 3 times per year meetings of the New York Vision Research Club attended by members of three NIH-funded Vision Training Programs in the city and an annual post-ARVO poster session. This intense exposure provides a vehicle for a keener understanding of clinical problems and for the selection of research areas that unite clinical and basic scientists in the quest to cure blinding diseases. The request for NIH support of a proposed Tri-lnstitutional Training Program in Vision Research builds on major commitments by the three participating institutions of faculty, funds and research space devoted to vision research.
The TTPVR will train pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows in a broad range of areas relevant to Vision Research, including translational aspects relevant to the study and treatment of eye diseases. Therefore, we expect that it will contribute significantly to forming researchers that will be able to contribute novel approaches to investigate and treat blinding diseases in the future.
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