This is a new application or a training program designed to attract and train both predoctoral and postdoctoral investigators in basic investigation of childhood diseases related to cardiovascular and pulmonary biology. The need for a training program in the cellular/molecular basis of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, especially of physician scientists interested in childhood diseases, is based upon clear evidence of a small, national pool of such individuals as faculty or trainees. Currently, few pediatric cardiology or pulmonary fellowship programs in American medical centers provide adequate training in this area of research, either at the bench or in structured clinical investigation. Our program is designed to address this need from two important perspectives: 1) To allow pediatric and other clinical fellows with an interest in basic research to develop research competence and career training; 2) To attract and train talented basic scientists to study mechanism related to childhood diseases. Our program restructuring reflects a rethinking of a training program that for 16 years successfully trained scientists and clinicians in areas of basic and clinical research. This new program has been shaped by feedback from reviewers of the previous program, by advice from our faculty and program advisors, by past trainees, and by the formation of new core programs at Washington University that allow us to expand the training experience of our trainees. In addition to continuing our strong training in developmental/cell biology and the molecular basis of disease, our new program will take advantage of institutional strengths in genetics, stem cell biology, genomics, and bioinformatics-all of which are components of the foundation of modern research. We have adopted a training curriculum for 4 postdoctoral (multiple PGY levels) and 2 predoctoral fellows with an uninterrupted 2-3 year block of full-time investigation. This is combined with an integrated and multidisciplinary set of didactic seminars, journal clubs and formal courses that are selected by the trainee in consultation with the mentor/program administrators to provide individualized education in key aspects of cardiopulmonary development and disease. Our objectives are: 1) to provide extensive mentoring to the trainee for career development and for developing independent research plans that focus on pediatric diseases; 2) to promote training in basic cell and molecular biology, genomics, and bioinformatics together with clinical translational research; 3) to guide the trainees' development so that, after the completion of training, successful competition for independent funding is likely.
Congenital heart and vascular defects and abnormalities in lung formation and function remain among the most common causes of death in infancy and early childhood. The purpose of this training program is to attract and train young scientists to study mechanisms related to these and related childhood diseases.
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