This is a resubmission of the first competitive renewal of a T32 training grant at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC), originally funded in 2003 (MH067533). The goal of the proposed program is to prepare MDs, PhDs and PharmDs interested in basic or clinical research for a career in translational research in schizophrenia. The MPRC, a division of the University Of Maryland Medical School Department Of Psychiatry, is a focused center for schizophrenia research, located on the grounds of the Spring Grove Hospital Center, an inpatient mental health hospital located just outside Baltimore. The faculty of the MPRC have an integrated research program of clinical and neuroscience research into the neurophysiology, developmental origins, familial associations, symptoms, neurocognition, and treatment of schizophrenia. This successful research program is characterized by frequent interaction and collaboration among different preclinical and clinical researchers within the MPRC and nearby SOM campus. Postdoctoral training offered under this T32 fellowship has a primary focus on either basic neuroscience or clinical investigations of schizophrenia. All trainees are educated on the translational perspective of the MPRC and provided mentors and didactic training in both clinical and neuroscience in schizophrenia. This resubmission for a competitive five-year renewal application proposes to fund 3 new trainee positions in each year, with each a fellowship lasting for 2 years. Although this is a very young T32 program, it is successful in terms of recruiting and training independent researchers. During the initial funding period, 10 trainees were enrolled. Four trainees completed the training program, 1 withdrew for personal reasons and 5 are currently in training. Of the 4 that completed, 3 have faculty appointments at the Assistant Professor level (at the University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Wales, Bangor, and the University of Osnabruck) and one is currently employed at the MPRC as research associate. Three of these graduates have received competitive funding. One current trainee will graduate from this program in July and has secured an assistant professorship position at the University of Maryland Baltimore. In addition, 2 of the 5 current trainees have received competitive NARSAD Young Investigator awards.
Complex problems such as schizophrenia require a multidisciplinary clinical research workforce, accustomed to working in integrated teams. This proposal seeks to address the dwindling number of translational scientists studying severe mental illness by recruiting and mentoring clinical and preclinical post-docs.
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