This proposal defines a multi-disciplinary postdoctoral research training program to annually support six graduates of medicine, veterinary medicine, or the basic biomedical sciences. The past 29 years of this program document an impressive record of successfully training young scientists;indeed, 87% of completed trainees in the past decade (n=22) remain in research or training, and 10 received independent funding while supported by this program. Thus, we will continue to provide robust postdoctoral research training in areas highly relevant to cardiovascular biology/pathology provided by the well-funded, interactive laboratories of 20 investigators from the Departments of Biochemistry, Cellular/Structural Biology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Medicine, Opthalmology, Pathology, Periodontics, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). This research training program will continue to actively recruit and retain trainees from diverse backgrounds;the record of success in the past 10 years (1/3 of trainees from underrepresented groups) reflects our commitment in addressing national efforts to promote diversity in the biomedical workforce. We will also continue to recruit the most highly meritorious research trainees from throughout the best graduate and medical programs in the United States. Principal components of the training program include: (1) active participation with graded responsibility in the research laboratory of an experienced investigator;(2) a continuing research-in-progress seminar series;(3) an integrated lecture series on topics in cardiovascular (patho)biology presented by the training faculty;(4) didactic courses and seminars in the responsible conduct of research, scientific communications, and grantsmanship/peer review;(5) dual mentorship with a rigorous mentorship plan, (6) preparation of an individual development plan (IDP) and the comprehensive evaluation of annual progress, and (7) submission of an independent grant application. Trainee access to on-going departmental conferences, seminars, clinical rounds, pre- and postdoctoral courses further enhances the training experience. Research areas are encompassed within three investigative themes: (1) Inflammation, Cell Injury, and Adaptation;(2) Diabetes, and (3) Cardiovascular Pathophysiology. Integration of these overlapping research themes incorporates a range of highly relevant basic biomedical science investigations which are essential for our understanding of the genetic, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms that contribute to cardiovascular pathobiology. Given the complexities, morbidity, and mortality associated with occlusive cardiovascular disease in developed countries, this postdoctoral research training program will continue to provide scientists with the requisite skills to successfully pursue independent translational science studies directed towards the prevention and treatment of these prevalent disorders.
Heart attacks and stroke continue to be the most common causes of death and disability in the United States and are most often the result of occlusion of blood flow to the heart or brain. Well-trained scientists are needed to investigate the causes and complications of these occlusive events. This research training program is designed to prepare young scientists to become the next generation of independent investigators who can work in teams to discover answers that will lead to the prevention and treatment of occlusive vascular disease.
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