Fourteen vision scientists at Indiana University, seek to provide short-term research training to students in the school of Optometry. The long-term objective is to develop in these students an abiding interest in research that will motivate them to pursue M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Vision Science, and ultimately lead to careers in health-related vision research. Students are mentored by vision scientists with active Vision Science research programs. The research funding of the involved laboratories includes seven R01s from NEI, one R01 from NIBIB, two multicenter Bioengineering Research Partnership grants from NEI (R01 based), one P30 core grant from NEI and multiple other grants from the Industry. Support is requested for twelve short-term trainees for three months of summer research in the laboratories of vision scientists. Students with an undergraduate degree enter the program usually at the end of the first year in Optometry school. The potential areas of training include: Optics: including aberrations and retinal imaging, Biology: including molecular, biochemical mechanisms and pharmacology, Disease: including ocular surface defects, age Related macular degeneration, glaucoma and developmental problems, Vision: including sensitivity, development, and higher order processing. Three different graduate level courses will expose trainees to a) Epidemiology, research design and basic statistics as part of the optometry curriculum during the spring prior to entering the short-term training program b) Ethical issues in scientific research during the summer training c) Weekly seminars during the summer training that provides students the opportunity to participate in the critical analysis of peer reviewed papers and discuss their own research projects terminating with a presentation of their work at the end of the summer. Trainees are encouraged to continue their research interest following their summer training by continuing their research in the mentor's lab and attending weekly seminars of in-house faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars, and by attending scientific meetings at which they present their research under the guidance of their mentors. Trainees are also encouraged through a special degree program to continue their participation by incorporating their data and analysis as part of a thesis for an M.S. degree which by additional efforts during their second through fourth year can be achieved without additional costs.
Clinician-scientists play an important role in translating basic research into clinical practice. This grant application will provide short-term research training t optometry students with the ultimate goal of motivating them through a special Masters Degree program to consider pursuing higher level research training in vision science that will ultimately lead them to careers in vision research.
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