This revised competing renewal application provides a plan for the continuation and further development of the "Interdisciplinary and Translational Research Training Program (ITRTP) in NeuroAIDS" for predoctoral students studying central nervous system complications of HIV infection and related areas of research. This is a joint program from two institutions, Temple University and Drexel University, located in close proximity in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This program also integrates training activities and research resources available in the Comprehensive Center for NeuroAIDS (CNAC) involving both Temple and Drexel University as well as long-standing MD/PhD and clinical research training programs in AIDS and Neurovirology based in the Department of Neurology, and Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at the University of Pennsylvania. Our ongoing program further develops a citywide interdisciplinary and translational research training program in NeuroAIDS through shared resources, joint seminars, workshops, symposia, invited speakers, as well as thesis mentoring and educational activities at both institutions. The graduate curriculum at both institutions is designed to provide a broad based scientific foundation in biomedical sciences, including neuroscience, immunology, microbiology, and pharmacology and physiology. This curriculum includes responsible conduct of research, scientific communication, statistics, as well as advanced courses with in- depth training in molecular and cellular neurobiology, neuropathogenesis, and translational neuroscience. This program brings together multiple biomedical basic science departments and integrates joint training activities at two institutions with nearby University of Pennsylvania. With the inclusion of clinical AIDS investigators, as well as CNAC Core facilities, our training program is not only interdisciplinary, but exposes students to basic sciences and clinical perspectives focusing on HIV/AIDS/NeuroAIDS. Our joint training program, together with our joint infrastructural resources available through our CNAC and the nearby University of Pennsylvania CFAR, provides a strong, interactive, and highly successful training environment in neurovirology and NeuroAIDS within the greater Philadelphia region. In order to support and enhance our under-represented minority recruitment within this program, this application now includes the provision for summer laboratory training of undergraduates and medical students that would provide pathways for entry into our PhD and MD/PhD training program in NeuroAIDS.
This application provides a plan for the training of the next generation of biomedical scientists capable of addressing current and future challenges in molecular mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention research related to the neurological complications of HIV infection and other associated disorders. This application also provides a plan to increase the training and recruitment of minority candidates in the program, necessary to assure increased diversity and to enhance to ability of the future cadre of investigators to address issues related to HIV/AIDS/neuroAIDS and other diseases of health disparity.
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