This is a revised application for a T32 grant, "Research Training in Biobehavioral Disturbances of Eating Disorders." The primary goal of this proposal is to train postdoctoral (MD, MD/PhD, and PhD) fellows for careers as independent researchers in Eating Disorders. An intensive two-to-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 clinical research. Graduating fellows will be able to present research projects clearly in both written and oral forms as evidenced by publications and presentations. The training program outlined, utilizing the outstanding faculty at Columbia University and associated collaborators at nearby Weill Cornell Medical College, offers a unique opportunity to future researchers in the field of eating disorders. The Columbia Eating Disorders Research Unit has a long track record of recruiting and successfully training clinical researchers with its success reflected in high rates of its trainees receiving K awards and pursuing full-time academic careers. Also, the Columbia program has been highly successful at recruiting MD researchers into the field of eating disorders, making it an unusual training program in this specialized area. While research fellows specializing in eating disorders at Columbia have previously been trained using two other T32 programs, these programs have shifted their emphasis to basic science and neuroscience research, and have therefore been more reluctant to accept candidates with interests in the field of eating disorders whose areas of research focus have included the pathophysiology and behavioral disturbances associated with eating disorders, or treatment development research. The NIMH has identified eating disorders as an understudied area in need of research initiatives. This application outlines a training plan for future researchers in this important clinical area.
This proposal, Research Training in Biobehavioral Research in Eating Disorders, requests support for a two-to-three-year research fellowship program for post-doctoral MD and PhD scientists to train much needed future researchers specializing in eating disorders. Eating disorders are medically and psychiatrically potential treatments. The training program outlined in this application describes a plan to successfully train clinical researchers in this specialized area.