This T32 application request is to support our Molecular Pharmacology predoctoral training program by providing funding for 10 predoctoral students, 5 in year 2 and 5 in year 3. The purpose of this training program is to train students to carry out rigorous basic and translational research. The program will train the students to become experts in modern pharmacology and in drug discovery and development. These efforts will prepare the students for careers in academic research and biotechnology companies, and for teaching, consulting or other pharmacology related positions. This new Training Program builds on the strength of SPARK, the school's translational research effort. SPARK was created eight years ago at Stanford and is now duplicated in numerous institutions in the US and throughout the world. Taught together with industry veterans and experts, SPARK provides hands-on and student team approach that leads to a real-world experience in drug development. This unique graduate student training program is integrated with formal course work that includes not only the mandatory core pharmacology disciplines, cell signaling and drug discovery, but also chemistry, systems biology and math. The interdepartmental training program draws upon an outstanding group of 30 collaborative faculty members, with excellent track record of student training. They include faculty members in the Departments of Chemical and Systems Biology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biology, Chemistry, Dermatology, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Otolaryngology, Pathology, and Pediatrics. Students' training includes two years of advanced coursework followed by up to three years of independent research. The training is integrated with drug development efforts through SPARK, as well as courses in the responsible conduct of research, animal care, and safety. Students are required to present their research work to the program faculty four times every year: at our Program's science lunch seminar, at the Program's annual retreat and at two graduate research committee meetings. In addition to the faculty mentors and the above committee members, we have created a detailed structure, tracking mechanism and a network of faculty members who follow and assist students with their research and career development. The overarching goal of the training program is to develop the skills, imagination, critical thinking and knowledge in sciences to enable the students to become outstanding scholars and leaders in Academia or Industry.
Training of predoctoral students in understanding the molecular basis of normal and disease states, the action and molecular mechanisms of drugs, and drug discovery and development are critical for improving therapies for human diseases. Integrating teaching by our outstanding faculty members with hands-on, team-led drug development experience through our innovative SPARK Program, the Stanford program in Molecular Pharmacology prepares students for leadership positions in academia, pharmaceutical industry and in biotechnology companies.
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