This resubmission of the renewal application requests continued support for a well-established, vibrant and productive Training Program in the Immunobiology of Blood and Vascular Systems (IBVSTP) at Vanderbilt University. IBVSTP is focused on inflammation as the major mechanism of diseases that significantly alter blood and vascular systems in response to diverse microbial, autoimmune, and metabolic insults. This innovative training platform for mentoring and career development of graduate students, including dual degree students, and postdoctoral fellows has proven its effectiveness as attested by a rapidly growing number of fruitful collaborations and resulting publications from 21 faculty investigators who represent 8 basic science and clinical departments. This roster allows IBVSTP to facilitate translation of cellular and molecular studies of inflammation-mediated disorders into preclinical studies of innovative therapies. Since its inception, a hitherto non-existent platform was formed for effective interactions of faculty preceptors and trainees within thematic "affinity groups" encompassing: (1) Innate immunity and inflammation in sepsis and pulmonary/cardiovascular infections;(2) Proinflammatory T and B lymphocyte signaling and gene expression in atherosclerosis, autoimmunity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and transplantation;(3) Hemopoietic cell development, trafficking, and adhesion;(4) Extracellular matrix modeling in inflammation and autoimmunity;and (5) Functional genomics, epigenetics, proteomics, structural biology, and intracellular peptide/protein delivery for proteome restoration therapy. Since its prior renewal in 2006, these conceptual and cutting edge technological resources have provided tremendous opportunities for enhanced hands-on research experience and career development to 14 predoctoral and 19 postdoctoral trainees, including those from underrepresented groups. The Program's flagship course "Functional Genomics and Proteomics: Applications to Immunobiology" provides the unifying didactic platform. The institutional course on Responsible Conduct of Research is complemented by the Program-specific discussion groups. By requesting 5 predoctoral and 5 postdoctoral trainee slots, we respond to a growing demand for training from the Academic Community. The IBVSTP Steering Committee applies stringent admission criteria for selection of training candidates, including emphasis on translational goals of proposed projects, and evaluates trainees'performance. Postdoctoral trainees with Ph.D. and/or M.D. degrees are appointed following review by the IBVSTP Steering Committee and are advised by mentoring teams that represent the Program's Affinity Groups. The input of External Advisors and Consultants and a continuing feedback from trainees provide additional training quality checkpoints that enhance the Program's strong record of preparing the next generation of investigators in fundamental, translational, and clinical research focused on inflammation as the major mechanism of diseases affecting blood and vascular systems.
Inflammatory disorders of blood and vascular system are increasing as documented for sepsis (blood poisoning) and cardiovascular infections, atherosclerosis (narrowing of blood vessels), high blood pressure, obesity-related metabolic syndrome and diabetes. To meet the rising tide of these disorders, we need to train a new generation of scientists and physician-scientists who will master inflammation as the mechanism of these diseases and respond to them by developing new diagnostic tools, preventive measures, and therapies to reduce the growing burden of these disorders.
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