This Integrative Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (IPSTP) is designed to support 2nd and 3rd year Ph.D. students pursuing dissertation research projects in the pharmacological sciences. Trainees and training faculty are drawn from 7 Ph.D. programs (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Neuroscience, Pharmacology & Toxicology and Physiology). The two areas of unique focus within the IPSTP are training on in vivo pharmacological approaches and drug discovery. The research expertise of IPSTP training faculty is clustered into three overlapping themes: 1) the intersection of molecular mechanisms of disease with novel therapeutic design; 2) integration of endocrine and metabolic derangements with cancer and cardiovascular processes; and, 3) application of systems biology and bioinformatics to understand drug mechanisms and disease. Funds are requested to support 8 students (or 4 students entering the program per year). The training program will be administered by a Program Director (Neubig), two Associate Directors (Dorrance and Atchison) and an Executive Committee composed of representatives from the programs. The program is also guided by an External Advisory Committee of experts from Pharmacology Ph.D. programs and the pharmaceutical industry and a Student Advisory Committee composed of trainees. There are 8 core elements to the training plan: 1) a research project whose results lead to a Ph.D. dissertation and a contribution to knowledge in the pharmacological sciences; 2) two week-long intensive courses in drug discovery and in vivo pharmacology; 3) a three course curriculum in pharmacology and biostatistics; 4) a two course curriculum in professional development; 5) participation in a quantitative systems biology workshop; 6) a monthly Communications Skills and Professional Development Forum; 7) participation in an annual program retreat; 8) a monthly student-run journal club. Students will be expected to participate in the last three elements for the duration of their direct T32 support and for all subsequent years until graduation. Trainees are also required to attend the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) workshop series provided by the Graduate School and program specific RCR activities. Supplemental activities available to trainees include: 1) teaching opportunities; 2) participation in the NIH-funded MSU BEST program, and 3) field-trips to regional sites for non-academic careers. The IPSTP has developed a comprehensive plan to recruit highly qualified students including under- represented minority students. The IPSTP will provide trainees with excellent research and professional training and will prepare them for research careers in academia, industry and government.
The proposed training program will prepare students to be leaders in the field of pharmacological sciences. IPSTP trainees will receive in-depth training in the science of drug discovery and in vivo pharmacology, and trainees completing this program will make important contributions to our understanding of the causes and treatments of human illness. Students will graduate from the program prepared for a range of scientific careers in academia, industry, and government.
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