The primary objective of this program is to train pre- and postdoctoral research scientists in integrated biobehavioral and sociocultural approaches to the study of mental health and disorder, and comorbidities of mental and physical health. The program trains scholars in development and application of theories and research in behavioral science, integrated with biological and social science, for understanding etiology, progression and treatment of mental disorders. The program consists of didactic training, intensive supervised research, and a weekly colloquia series. The three pillars of the program are: (1) a strengthened curriculum on biological systems and bases of psychopathology, (2) inclusion of training in state-of-the-art research methods and quantitative techniques, and (3) an emphasis on health disparities by ethnicity, race, culture, SES, and gender. Trainees take a set of required courses and select from electives and research opportunities to create individualized, focused programs of study. This application proposes to train 4 predoctoral fellows and 3 postdoctoral fellows for two-year appointments. Two CoDirectors together with 8 core faculty, and 27 affiliated faculty members from within and outside Psychology, provide the training. This interdisciplinary faculty is composed of outstanding junior faculty and seasoned senior faculty who have a history of collaborating in research and training and who bring a rich array of active research labs, funded projects and centers, and methodological expertise to the program to provide rigorous training in mental health research. The core faculty represent theoretical expertise on stress processes, social relationships, and emotion regulation/coping. The program offers advanced quantitative training and mentored research training in experimental research, randomized controlled intervention trials, observational/survey research methods, and methods of studying immune, neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and neuroscience processes. Clinical populations studied include individuals with major depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, cancer and other chronic diseases, and pregnancy. Faculty research projects involve all stages of the lifespan from prenatal influences to elderly populations.
Integrative multidisciplinary science training is much needed to understand the complex biological processes and their interrelationship to behavioral and sociocultural factors in order to address the complex problems of mental disorders and disparities in the population. The proposed training will produce a cohort of scientists for the next generation of cutting-edge research.
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