The goal of this training program is to encourage medical students of the University of Texas, Houston to pursue research in Neuroscience. The PI will oversee recruitment and selection of trainees and then monitor their progress. During the summer following their first year, students will participate in a Summer Research Program, which has been supported by NIH since 1985 and is directed by the Co-Pi. The key personnel are the Pi's of NINDS grants and investigators supported by other agencies who do research that supports the NINDS mission. In the spring of their first year, students select mentors, who suggest research topics and help prepare a proposal describing the project, which may be clinical, translational or basic research that supports the mission of the NINDS. The proposals are then evaluated by a Faculty Advisory Committee, and stipends are awarded based on the quality of the proposals. The program begins with mandatory workshops in laboratory safety, bioethics and the responsible conduct of research, regulations related to the use of human subjects in research, and the proper use and care of experimental animals. Each week, trainees are also required to attend research seminars and enrichment sessions describing career options. The major activity is full-time research for 10 weeks with guidance from the mentors. In addition to the space and equipment available in the laboratories of the mentors, there are many core facilities available to support student research. Trainees are invited to attend grand rounds in neurology, pediatric neurology and neurosurgery and encouraged to attend research seminars in basic neuroscience. Trainees prepare an abstract and a poster summarizing their results and present them during the fall of their second year. Some also present their results at national meetings and co-author publications. Students who wish to continue their research training are encouraged to select research as an elective, to take a year off from medical school or to apply for admission to the M.D./Ph.D. program.
The goal of this training program is to increase the number of physician-scientists who both treat patients with neurological diseases and carry out research on the underlying mechanisms. They are uniquely qualified to devise new therapies and to test them in patients, but their numbers have been declining in recent years. This will be accomplished by providing research training to students early in their careers.