This renewal application requests support for integrated, broad-based, fundamental, multidisciplinary predoctoral training of first- and second-year (pre-thesis) students in Neuroscience at the University of Iowa. The application builds on three decades of success in matriculating and training top-caliber students, on stable, mature leadership (including a highly experienced Program Director), and on a sharp increase over the past five years in the quality and depth of our applicant pool. The Program is modest in size (48 current students) but stellar in quality, and draws on a long tradition of close interactions among scientists with primary appointments in basic and clinical departments, and their expertise in mentoring students, formally and by example, in the interplay between basic and clinical research. The Training Faculty are 44 extramurally-funded neuroscientists with research interests that span the gamut of neuroscience, from ion channels to consciousness. The preceptors have extensive experience and success training students. Students participate in a well-developed, mature curriculum that offers broad and fundamental training in neuroscience, spanning the breadth of the field in terms of levels of analysis (from molecules to integrated functional systems) and diversity of approaches (from patch clamp microelectrodes to human lesion-deficit and functional neuroimaging to translational research), with a special focus on the neuroscience of disease and disorders (including an NIH- supported Neurobiology of Disease course), along with training in statistics and experimental design. The program incorporates three laboratory rotations, regular programmatic activities (lab meetings, seminars, journal clubs, retreats), and comprehensive, mandatory training in responsible conduct of research. The "value-added" feature of our Program is especially compelling-NIH training grant dollars enhance every aspect of our Program and have contributed directly to unprecedented success during the current funding period, including major increases in the quantity and quality of applicants, matriculation and retention of students from diverse backgrounds, an outstanding time-to-degree of just over 5 years, a completion rate of over 80%, outstanding student publication records, and placement of graduates in prominent neuroscience- related academic positions. To maintain and extend these accomplishments, this renewal request asks for 6 slots per year to support first- and second-year students.
The Iowa Neuroscience Training Program emphasizes a highly interdisciplinary orientation, and is tightly tied to the jointly sponsored NIH predoctoral neuroscience mission to foster work toward the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nervous system disorders, and the basic sciences fundamental to this purpose. Our Program remains committed to training a diverse and highly expert workforce of neuroscientists who will assume leadership roles related to the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda.
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