This is an application for renewal of grant T32-MH018870, Schizophrenia Research Fellowship, which has been funded continuously since 1988. The primary goal of this proposal is to train postdoctoral (MD, MD/PhD and PhD) fellows for careers as independent researchers in Schizophrenia. An intensive three-year program is outlined in which fellows will learn how to identify key research questions, formulate hypotheses, and design and execute experiments that effectively test those hypotheses. In the course of training, fellows will acquire a range of skills relevant to research methodology, including expertise in experimental design and statistical analysis relevant to basic, translational and clinical research programs. Graduating fellows will be able to present clearly an entire project in both written and oral form as evidenced by publications and presentations. The success of the training program is best judged by the remarkable accomplishments of our former trainees. In the past 10 years, 27 fellows have been selected to enter the training program, 55% MDs, 30% MD/PhDs and 15% PhDs. 59% of our trainees have been women. Prospective fellows apply specifically to this program, and the competition for training slots remains intense. 26% of fellows have been recruited from the Columbia Psychiatry Residency program. The graduation rate of the fellowship is 100% over the last 10 years (21/21). Currently, there are six fellows: one fourth-year (special waiver related to a complicated pregnancy and maternity leave), one third-year, two second-year and 2 in the first year of training;four new fellows have been accepted to begin before the end of 2009. Of the 21 fellows who have graduated the program in the past 10 years, 11 (52%) have received K awards and two K award submissions are presently under review from current fellows. Two graduates (10%) have already received R01s with another two receiving R21s (total of 19% for both ROIs and R21s), and several others have applications pending. In total, 18 (86%) graduates have received substantial independent funding including ROIs, K awards, R03 awards, R21 awards, NARSAD awards, and grants from the Office of Naval Research and other funding agencies. Of the 21 fellows who graduated the program, 16 (76%) are in full-time academic research positions. No training program can maintain a successful track record if it remains stagnant;it must adapt to changes in circumstances and the growing opportunities in terms of translational research in Psychiatry. The training in translational research has been markedly strengthened by enhancement of the didactic teaching program and through the strategic addition of faculty mentors in this area. The greatest strengths of this training program have always been Columbia's faculty and the research environment within the Department of Psychiatry and beyond. This remains the case today, and the core of the training program has been strengthened by the changes in the current application.
Schizophrenia is a devastating illness that places a burden on patients, families and society. This grant aims to train psychiatrists and scientists to study schizophrenia's causes and to develop new treatments.
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