This is an application for the continuation of the Institutional Training Program in Skeletal, Craniofacial and Oral Biology at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine as a T90/R90 program. It is intended to help meet the substantial need for independent scientists trained in research related to improving oral, dental and craniofacial health in the United States. The program has trained and will continue to train dental scholars to meet the growing needs of academic dentistry, who are competent as clinicians and independent scientists, who are able to initiate and maintain funded research programs, who understand multidisciplinary research and who are prepared for the evolution of their research into new directions. Areas of research training include skeletal biology, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, oral and craniofacial biology and clinical and translational research. The major tracks of the training program are the DMD/PhD (7-8 yrs of training with 5 years of support from this training grant;4 present trainees;7 additional trainees requested), PhD (4-5 yrs of training with 3 years of support;4 present trainees;5 additional trainees requested), postdoctoral research (3 yrs;4 present trainees;6 additional trainees requested) and non-citizen PhD trainees (with DDS degrees) (4-5 years of training with 3-5 years of support;0 present trainees;2 additional trainees requested). We will be training individuals with a broad range of backgrounds, including those with BS/BA degrees to those who have completed PhD and/or dental residency training. To provide a solid, common foundation for our scholars/trainees, we have developed Core Activities required of all trainees in all training tracks. In addition to providing important training elements, the Core Activities provide opportunities for both formal and informal interactions between trainees in various disciplines and at various stages in their training. We are introducing several new program features to (i) insure training milestones are achieved, (ii) facilitate preparation of F and K awards by trainees and (iii) better integrate clinical and research training for our DMD/PhDs to enhance transition into an academic career. The Health Center has a dynamic group of faculty in Skeletal, Craniofacial and Oral Biology, with highly successful collaborations among faculty throughout the Schools of Dental Medicine and Medicine. The Biomedical Science PhD program graduate faculty and active institutional research centers and clinical signature programs provide laboratory, translational and patient oriented research opportunities that enable a diversified training environment for the program tracks, allow flexibility for the individual needs of trainees, and ensure successful progress through the tracks. The institution has vigorous trainee recruitment programs;several are directed towards under-represented minority candidates. We will continue to provide training that is tailored to each candidate, while maintaining a focus on skeletal, craniofacial and oral biology through symposia, seminars, courses, clinical research centers and collaborative research activities which are integrated both within individual tracks and amongst all the tracks of the program.
The goal of this training program is to prepare individuals of outstanding potential for independent research careers in dental, oral and craniofacial research. Training of these individuals is critical to the health and quality of life of the American public.
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