It clearly emerges from "Vision Research;A National Plan" that vision research embraces every discipline in the biological sciences, cognitive sciences, and clinical research. Vision scientists are aware of the importance of the interdisciplinary approach to research, and of rapid translation of findings in basic research to clinical care. Accordingly, the next generation of vision scientists will need to develop their scientific skills within an environment that stresses cutting edge science, interdisciplinary cooperation, an understanding of the visual system, and exposure to clinical ophthalmology. This training program, while broad in the scope of participating scientific disciplines, is focused on creating at the University of Pittsburgh a training environment that will favor interactions and collaborations among vision scientists, and involve pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the visual system and ocular diseases. Although this T32 application focuses on training of basic scientists, our trainees will have frequent interactions with clinical ophthalmologists, attend lecturers in our didactic vision cours entitled "Biology of Vision", and have close interactions with physician-scientists through course work, seminars, and data clubs. Our T32 training program will draw graduate students from the Immunology, Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology, and Bioengineering graduate training programs. These programs will provide the structure and basic curriculum, whereas the T32 training program will provide specialized training in vision research. The proposed program will also provide a structure for training of postdoctoral fellows in vision research that will coordinate with the significant support structure already in place at the university. We will strive to attract the brightest students and postdocs with the goals of providing 1) a basic understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and diseases of the eye;2) appreciation and utilization of the unique anatomical and physiological characteristics of the eye;and 3) awareness of the strengths and limitations of available animal models for ocular diseases.
Training students and postdoctoral fellows in vision research provides the next generation of vision scientists who will study the visual system in health and disease. This IVS training program will encourage the involvement of young scientists in vision research by providing structure and support for the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the visual sciences.
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