This training grant from the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT) / Baylor College of Medicine provides a comprehensive training program for both predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows with career research interests in cell and gene therapy - either its fundamental or clinical aspects, or both. The rationale is that a stimulating program of education and laboratory training from high quality mentors will attract promising candidates, including under-represented minorities, to this emerging field and increase the likelihood of their pursuing careers as members of translational research teams. Translational research is increasingly complex, and for advances to be efficiently implemented requires teams of investigators to collaborate and develop novel strategies that can be validated in the clinic. This type of translational research training requires the involvement of a dedicated team of mentors with diverse but complementary skills. The proposed training takes advantage of the outstanding biomedical curricula and experienced faculty within the Baylor system and the CAGT. A cadre of 27 faculty members with research interests in vector design and targeting, stem cell biology, molecular and cellular genetics, immunotherapy, gene therapy and stem cell transplantation, among other topics, will be available to mentor predoctoral students and both MD and PhD postdoctoral fellows at any given time). Major strengths of the program are (1) its targeting of rigorous basic biomedical science and clinical research training toward a translational goal;(2) its strong reliance on the proven scientific excellence of cell biology and genetics research training programs at Baylor, and (3) its involvement of mentors, including the program director and co directors, who have a wealth of experience in translational research and in training young investigators (4) availability of unique resources such as the GMP laboratories for training. Augmenting the formal course work and laboratory training will be opportunities to present recent research findings at annual retreats sponsored by the CAGT and academic departments within Baylor. During the first 4 years of funding this approach has successfully trained 8 graduate students and 1 post doctoral fellows in translational cell and gene therapy research, all of whom are continuing in academic careers. The maintenance of support will allow us to continue to provide trainees with a strong foundation for translational research careers in this emerging area.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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NHLBI Institutional Training Mechanism Review Committee (NITM)
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Welniak, Lisbeth A
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Baylor College of Medicine
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