The University of Pittsburgh training grant "Basic and Translational Training in Obstetric- Fetal Pharmacology" aims to provide trainees essential classroom education as well as the research tools and clinical exposures necessary to bridge the longstanding impediments to meaningful and scientifically sound research in perinatal pharmacology. Both clinical and non-clinical research scientists who are committed to a research career and have a particular interest in the study of pregnant women and their fetuses will be recruited. Through a combination of targeted coursework, clinical exposure to pregnant women and research training, trainees will gain the fundamental tools required to carry out research related to pregnancy. This training will be linked to ongoing research in obstetrical pharmacology by research mentors and will lead to trainee-initiated research aimed at developing an area of research focus.
The specific aims of our proposal are: 1) To consolidate the extensive resources at the University of Pittsburgh in basic sciences, epidemiology, pharmacology, women's health clinical research and education into a distinct training program in Obstetrical - Fetal pharmacology. 2) To recruit highly motivated, research-oriented, academically successful individuals for training in Obstetric- Fetal pharmacology. 3) To develop these recruits into individuals with sufficient skills to perform independent basic, translational and clinical research in maternal and fetal pharmacology and therapeutics. Many of the components for a successful program in Obstetrical-Fetal pharmacology already exist at the University of Pittsburgh. Collaborative research in perinatal pharmacology by the two investigators began over 26 years ago and is still robust culminating in our selection as one of four sites in the Obstetrical-Fetal Pharmacology Research Units (OPRU) Network. Basic, clinical and translational research focused on pregnancy at the University of Pittsburgh is broad based, extensive and well funded. Training of post-doctoral fellows is likewise extensive, well established, and highly successful. Fellowships in Maternal- Fetal Medicine, perinatal biology, pharmacology, genetics, reproductive infectious diseases already exist. The focus of the current proposal is to unify the extensive resources at the University of Pittsburgh under a single training program that emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to training individuals in obstetric pharmacology. We will recruit and train 3 clinical and 5 non-clinical post-doctoral candidates through a combination of targeted coursework in pharmacology and clinical research methodologies, clinical practicums and laboratory work with experienced clinical, basic and translational researchers in obstetrical pharmacology.
The most vulnerable population in our society, pregnant women (and their fetuses) receive limited scientific information or guidance about medications they are prescribed. The paucity of scientific investigation in pregnancy-related pharmacology is in large part due to a lack of interest by the pharmaceutical industry and a dearth of investigators at academic institutions. Training programs that unify disparate interest and training in obstetrics and pharmacology are sorely needed to address this critical deficiency.