This proposal requests funding for a new postdoctoral training program entitled, "Training in the Neurobiology of Neurological Disease." Briefly, the program has 5 primary goals: 1) To foster understanding of the diseases and syndromes that are of high relevance to the research careers of our trainees;2) To ensure that trainees are appropriately mentored in their research and that they acquire the professional skills necessary for independent careers in neuroscience;3) To afford opportunities for innovative research;4) To attract under-represented minorities to postdoctoral training in neuroscience, and 5) To support training of "special cases" - individuals whose needs differ from those of the typical training fellow. These special cases may include individuals with computational backgrounds who now seek biological training, as well as young scientists who take on projects that require extended time and effort for completion. Our proposal includes a two-year course on the Neurobiology of Disease. The course actively involves academic clinicians and their patients to cover the full spectrum of diseases and syndromes that are of relevance to basic and translational neuroscientists. We also provide trainees with a two-step "Professional Development Series" that is tailored to the specific needs of early- and late-phase postdoctoral fellows in neuroscience. The professional development series includes topics ranging from grant writing to exploring job opportunities and setting up a first lab. Trainees will also be provided with the opportunity to take additional courses, as needed, to fill in gaps in ther background. At the core of every postdoctoral experience is mentored research in an accomplished laboratory. To oversee this experience we have devised a mentoring program that includes regular review of both the trainee and the mentor. Each trainee will have a primary research adviser as well as an individualized Research Advisory Committee. This arrangement will be especially helpful to Early Stage Investigators who will have trainees in their laboratorie for the first time. Our rich neuroscience environment includes 44 primary training scientists and 12 junior faculties specific to this T32. Currently this core training faculty supervises more than 75 postdoctoral trainees (in addition to a substantial number of pre-doctoral students). Nearly 50 of these trainees are eligible for NRSA and/or T32 support. Our neuroscience community includes a broad range of neuroscientists in multiple basic science and clinical departments at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as basic scientists in departments at our sister institution, Carnegie Mellon University. Thus, we believe that the quality and breadth of our faculty, the state-of-the-art facilities, and the unique nature of our training program will enable us to attrac outstanding postdoctoral trainees and provide them with a special experience.
Every year millions of Americans face the problems caused by disorders of the central nervous system. These disorders can range from neurodevelopmental abnormalities in infants to head trauma or spinal cord injury in our wounded warriors. We propose to train a group of young neuroscientists to perform basic research that leads to prevention and/or new treatments for these disorders.
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