The goal of this Cardiovascular Research Program is to prepare scientists for research careers in the cardiovascular area, through interdisciplinary training at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. The University of Arizona is noted for its wel-established system of interdisciplinary graduate programs and for its tradition of collaborations across the traditional departmental, college and institutional boundaries. Thirty-eight training faculty from 13 departments and 6 colleges, all with well-funded collaborative research programs, provide strength in four broad areas of cardiovascular research: 1) molecular cardiovascular development;2) molecular system dynamics, 3) mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, and 4) cardiovascular disease - prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Faculty expertise in the traditional molecular, cellular and systems level approaches is complemented by their strengths in computational and modeling approaches, biophysical, nanotech, and in vivo and in vitro imaging approaches and a strong commitment to discovery, disease prevention and disease treatment. The Program's training environment benefits from strong support from the University and from University-supported core facilities in genomics, proteomics, and imaging. Together, the faculty and University provide a highly suitable environment for training in Cardiovascular Research. The training program is adaptable to the specific needs and interests of the trainees, while ensuring that they gain an appreciation for the breadth of cardiovascular research. Predoctoral training is designed around a 5-year program. The first year of training is designed to provide a broad background in physiology as well as to expose trainees to several research laboratories, multiple experimental approaches, and to practical aspects of careers in science. Training includes coursework in molecular and cellular physiology, systems biology, statistics, and scientific writing and ethics, laboratory rotations, student forum wherein all students make presentations annually, and a twice monthly seminar and "meet the speaker" program. In subsequent years, while continuing forum and seminar participation, trainees focus on their research area through specialty coursework, colloquia, tutorials, journal clubs and their dissertation research. During postdoctoral training (2 years), trainees expand their research focus area, learn additional state-of-the-art techniques, participate in the seminar series, and develop greater sophistication in experimental design skills particularly in the context of grant writing. All trainees attend national and international meetings and participate in twice annual symposia featuring the trainees'research. These activities along with the inter- and multi-disciplinary environment of our research facilities provide trainees with ample opportunities to interact with researchers within and outside their immediate environment, researchers who work in related areas and use a broad array of approaches. Based on the size and success of our training program, 93% of the 174 trainees supported by this program over the last 40 years remain engaged in research related positions, we request support for 7 predoctoral and 4 postdoctoral trainees.
Cardiovascular diseases continue to be the major cause of morbidity and mortality in our country, reflecting the complex interactions of lifestyle choices, environment and genetic factors that modify the integrated function of proteins, cells, organs and organ systems and thereby alter disease susceptibility. Continued progress in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases requires improved understanding of the mechanisms contributing to development and function of the cardiovascular system in health and disease. This training program brings together faculty committed to understanding these mechanisms through interdisciplinary and collaborative study at the molecular, cellular, systems and integrative levels and to training and mentoring the next generation of researchers.
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