The Department of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center serves as a rich site for multidisciplinary neurological research, with particular focus on disorders associated with the aging nervous system. In this proposal, the Brief Research in Aging and Interdisciplinary Neurosciences (BRAIN) program, we have developed a comprehensive approach to develop a formal research program for predoctoral students early in developing careers in biomedical, behavioral and clinical research. The work will be collaboratively approached through brief but intensive mentored summer research training experiences for these students, with the potential for subsequent development of a longitudinal research program. The research training will provide opportunities in basic, behavioral and clinical research through ongoing research in the fields of basic neuroscience, neuropathology, neurogenetics, neuropsychology, stroke, Alzheimer disease and related disorders, motor neuron disease, Parkinson disease and related disorders, and epilepsy, as well as neurologic clinical trials treating patients with these disorders. In addition, a comprehensive structured research education curriculum will be given over the course of the intense research experience, with topics including good clinical practice, basic research methodologies, introductions to abstract authorship and poster presentations, and introduction of statistical concepts and approach to analyses, as well as epidemiologic and pathophysiologic reviews of the most common neurologic disorders associated with aging and thus likely to be studied. Our institution has the strongest track record of developing academic neurologists of anywhere worldwide, and such a short-term, intense program will build upon this wealth of resources through hands-on introductions to neurological research, comprehensive review of principles of research, and thus assure the best opportunity for these students to develop research careers in the field.
The Brief Research in Interdisciplinary Neurosciences (BRAIN) program proposal offers a rich summer research opportunity at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University for predoctoral candidates interested in research in the field of aging, particularly among neurologic disorders including neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and Lou Gehrig diseases. This program has significant potential to stimulate dozens of students to pursue careers in research studying diseases often without cure or even effective treatments, and thus pose a significant public health burden. As such, efforts to enhance research in these fields could lead to significant discoveries to decrease the social and economic costs of illness associated with these disorders.