The Interdisciplinary Training Program in Rehabilitation and Neuromuscular Plasticity (NMPT) at the University of Florida (UF) was initiated in 2003. The overall goal of this program is to help build a critical capacity of well- trained rehabilitation scientists capable of conducting translational neuromuscular plasticity research. This predoctoral training program is unique in that it emphasizes the interaction and joint training of rehabilitation clinicians and basic science trainees. Candidates are selected from a pool of outstanding students with diverse backgrounds and are admitted by one of three graduate programs: Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences, Rehabilitation Sciences or Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. The program capitalizes on several existing strengths including a core of well-established and productive rehabilitation investigators, outstanding research facilities and integrated interdisciplinary centers, an exemplary record of collaboration, strong institutional commitment, and a culture of successful mentorship in rehabilitation at multiple levels, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. The NMPT program is a well-defined, closely mentored program with clearly established training objectives and an effective evaluation process. Upon entering the program, each Trainee prepares an individualized training plan under the guidance of an experienced Faculty Mentor and Translational Research Co-Advisor. The individualized plan consists of a structured didactic program, specialized courses, journal clubs and seminars, laboratory research and multiple scientific dissemination experiences. Trainees learn cutting edge research methodologies and acquire extensive research experience, while building a solid foundation in research design. Trainees also benefit from integration in strong Collaborative Translational Research Partnerships around five central themes. Over the past ten years the NMPT program has successfully graduated seventeen graduate students and 94% of NMPT graduates have continued on in postdoctoral positions. The trainees that have graduated have accumulated an excellent record of scholarly productivity, with an average of over 6 peer-reviewed manuscripts. These former trainees are now well-positioned to make contributions in the field of neuromuscular plasticity.
Nationally, there is a shortage of rehabilitation scientists that are qualified to lead interdisciplinary research and develop innovative research programs that address the needs of individuals with disabilities. This application is a renewal application to continue training graduate students with either a clinical or basic science background to help fill this void. These students will perform research in a variety of neurological and neuromuscular conditions, across the lifespan.
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