This is a resubmission of a renewal application for continued support of an established T32 Training Grant in Circadian and Sleep Research to train and support predoctoral and postdoctoral students at Northwestern University (NU) and the University of Chicago (U of C). The integration of circadian biology and sleep research in both animal models and humans has been the cornerstone of the relationship between the preceptors on this Training Grant at the U of C and NU for over 20 years, and we have added the term "circadian" to the title of our Training Program in recognition of the importance of combining these fields in the training of the next generation of young investigators. This Training Program will be led by two established senior investigators under the Multiple Leadership Plan and will involve 13 Primary Training Faculty who have their primary appointments in either basic science or clinical departments. The proposed Training Program will offer predoctoral and postdoctoral students interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary training in a wide range of scientifi disciplines that are highly relevant to understanding the function, regulation and health implications of sleep and circadian rhythmicity. Central to this Program is the training of student in modern basic science, translational research as well as patient oriented research. Multiple research perspectives have fueled for more than a decade the productive interactions and cross-fertilization that have developed between the preceptors in this Program. During the current grant period, the scope of the research activities of the Training Faculty has expanded to include bench to bedside investigations of the impact of sleep-disordered breathing on metabolism and cardiovascular function and we propose to further broaden the program in our renewed program with the addition of six outstanding physician-scientists to the training faculty. As our nation is facing unprecedented epidemics of obesity, diabetes and their cardiovascular consequences, the Training Program proposed in the present application is uniquely positioned to train an interdisciplinary workforce of academic and industry investigators as well as government decision makers to address the roles of sleep disturbances and circadian dysfunction in these public health challenges. A key feature of our Training Program is the inclusion of 10 Collaborating Faculty with additional clinical, scientific and/or educational expertise that greatly enhances our training environment, and conversely, they will benefit from their participation in the program by developing mentoring skills. Our Program will enable trainees to integrate cutting edge approaches and techniques in the areas of genetics, genomics, endocrinology, metabolism, pharmacology, neurobiology, pulmonology, cognitive neuroscience, gerontology and chronobiology into their training in sleep and circadian research. Because the preceptors in this Training Program are actively involved in research at the molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral and epidemiological levels, trainees will be trained in a rich environment of activities that are integrated together for the study of the basic mechanisms of sleep and circadian function at all levels of biological organization.
There is an urgent need to better understand the interactions between sleep, circadian function and cardio- metabolic risk and their implications for human health. Progress in this area is crucial for the development and implementation of preventive and therapeutic strategies to address the epidemics of chronic disease that represent a major threat to public health in America and elsewhere. The proposed Training Program in Circadian and Sleep Research is uniquely poised to offer the multidisciplinary training needed to prepare investigators in basic, patient-oriented and translational research to lead efforts to improve our understanding of the roles of sleep and circadian function for cardiometabolic risk, and to develop interventions to prevent the development, or reduce the severity and co-morbidities, of the major chronic diseases of modern times.
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