Over the last twenty years, training in Physiology departments throughout the country has undergone a transformation that precludes students from a thorough understanding that spans the breadth of the discipline from the whole animal to the cellular and molecular level. An exception is the Physiology Department of the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), that offers research training emphasizing integration of knowledge at all of these levels with development of an appreciation for the relationship of this knowledge to disease processes. With the current proposal, we will continue providing this exceptional training in cellular, molecular, and whole animal Physiology for six NIH-supported trainees each year. A unique aspect of the proposed training is the mentoring program, which includes basic scientists from a variety of traditional areas as well as clinician scientists. Graduate students wll be recruited nationally and will be selected on the basis of undergraduate academic credentials, previous research experience, and commitment to a career in research. Students must complete the first year of graduate school before they will be considered for NIH training support. Selection of trainees will be based primarily on performance in course work and in the research laboratory during the first year of graduate school. Trainees are full-time Ph.D. candidates in the MCW Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Trainees will complete required and elective courses and a research project that includes use of the techniques of molecular biology, isolated tissues, and whole animal or clinical investigation. The major objective is to provide trainees with a broad foundation in interdisciplinary basic science and translational research. The trainee will develop the critical thinking, integrative reasoning, and technical skills required to create and participate in evolving research careers related to prevention and control of hypertension, stroke, and respiratory diseases. An innovative feature of the training is the emphasis on addressing the national need to train for the integrated-systems future of biomedical research in the post- genome era. Research training is under the direct supervision of Physiology faculty along with co-mentors from other basic science and clinical departments. Trainees and their mentors will undergo continuous evaluation of progress through a series of formal and informal meetings with the program director and the graduate committee.
Since cardiovascular and respiratory diseases including heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, asthma, and emphysema are major health problems in the USA and world-wide, it is necessary to train physicians and scientists to improve the care of those afflicted and to learn how to prevent these diseases. Accordingly, we are requesting funds to support six pre-doctoral students each year for the next five years in training that includes course work and research that will provide the students with an understanding of the fundamental parts of the human body (molecules and cells) and how these parts function together in the intact human body. Our students will be prepared to: a) conduct research using novel techniques and methods, and b) teach future generations of physicians and scientists how the human body works.
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