This proposal is a request to renew for the first time a highly successful T32 Institutional National Research Service Award to Indiana University, entitled "Common Themes in Reproductive Diversity." The award will support broadly integrative training in the areas of sexual reproduction and development. Training will focus on behavior, largely but not exclusively of animals, and will address key questions in the development and expression of sex differences, and maternal and paternal effects on morphological, sexual, and social development. Indiana University's excellent support for research and its globally recognized strengths in animal behavior, endocrinology, human sexual health, and evolution of development will ensure high quality training. The 16 Training Faculty and 6 Affiliated Resource Faculty are drawn from 4 departments (Biology, Chemistry, Gender Studies, Psychological and Brain Sciences) and 2 additional degree-granting programs (Program in Medical Sciences, Program in Neuroscience). They are also associated with 1 or more of 6 research centers;most importantly the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior (CISAB), the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender and Reproduction, and the Institute for Pheromone Research. Support is requested for five years to enable training of 5 pre-doctoral and 3 post-doctoral students each year to be drawn from a reliable pool of talented applicants. In addition to course work in the fundamentals and intensive research training including required mini-rotations and proposal writing in the first year and structured rotations later in training, pre-doctoral trainees will participate in (1) a research-based course focused on Concepts in Reproductive Diversity, (2) a second hands-on methods course, Techniques in Reproductive Diversity, and 3) a Research Ethics course, all to be co- taught by the training faculty and enhanced by a tradition of involving visiting scientists in course offerings. Pre-doctoral trainees will be drawn from successful applicants to the degree-granting programs of the Training Faculty. Post-doctoral trainees will be recruited nationally, chosen so as to broaden their skills and perspectives, and expected to foster research collaboration. Intense effort will be devoted to increasing minority recruitment and retention, building on an unusually effective undergraduate program devoted to underrepresented minorities.
Understanding the sexual phenotype - or gender - has far reaching implications for human health and well being. Trainee research on steroid hormones, maternal stress, changing environments, maternal and infant health, and healthy sexual behavior and reproduction, using human, non-human model systems, and evolutionarily diverse non- model systems will lead to important insights into the basic mechanisms of reproduction and development and to greater understanding of the major physiological differences between the sexes and the influences these differences have on illness and health outcomes, all of which will be valuable to policy makers, medical research, and health care.
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