Neuroscientists from underrepresents backgrounds drop out of predoctoral programs at a significantly higher rate than traditional students. This attrition has a detrimental impact on the scientific field as decreases in diversity diminish the range of techniques, perspectives, and potential for innovative collaborations necessary for scientific discovery. Therefore, the objective of the current proposal is to institute a robust individual research training plan to increase the diversity of the neuroscientific workforce. Specifically, a structured and formal training plan will supplement the applicant?s intensive dissertation research on the neurobiology of post-traumatic stress. Each year 25 million people in the United States suffer a traumatic event, however only about 30% of these individuals develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thus, there is individual variability in stress susceptibility, which may be due to variability in the neurobiology of post- traumatic stress. Currently, the acute effect (i.e. within a month) of post-traumatic stress on the brain is not well understood. Determining the impact of trauma-induced distress on brain structure, function, and biochemistry is critical for a thorough understanding of stress disorder that can then be translated into effective intervention and treatment programs. The applicant?s research during the F99 phase will utilize human neuroimaging technology with healthy and traumatized individuals to investigate how brain function, structure, and biochemistry vary with post-traumatic stress severity. The proposed research project will be completed in conjunction with a formal training plan. Specifically, training during the F99 phase will focus on developing competency in 1) MR methods/techniques, 2) scientific writing/presentation, and 3) mentorship skills. The applicant?s mentorship team includes established faculty members to provide formal training in these areas, as well as direct mentorship regarding particularly sensitive issues (e.g., self-efficacy, navigating professional interactions, etc.) for underrepresented minority scholars. The mentorship team is scientifically diverse drawing from faculty within the Departments of Psychology (Dr. David C. Knight ? Primary Mentor), Neurology (Dr. Jerzy Szaflarski), Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology (Dr. Adrienne Lahti), and Neurobiology (Dr. Farah Lubin). As part of the K00 phase, the applicant intends to translate the findings from the F99 phase into clinical research using novel neuroimaging and neuromodulatory techniques. The research direction is intended to focus on 1) prediction of stress disorder following trauma via advanced/integrated neuroimaging techniques and 2) prevention of stress disorder development through neuromodulatory techniques. Training during the K00 phase will focus on developing competency in 1) novel research approaches, 2) research program development and management, and 3) teaching skills. The current application will guide the applicant through the academic pipeline and allow him to achieve his goal of becoming an independent neuroscientist.

Public Health Relevance

/RELEVACE TO PUBLIC HEALTH The proposed research project uses a multimodal neuroimaging approach to investigate the relationship that brain function, structure, and biochemistry have with post-traumatic stress. This research is expected to provide important insights into the neurobiology of stress-disorder susceptibility in the 25 million individuals that experience a traumatic event each year. The findings from the proposed project will identify functional, structural, and biochemical correlates of post-traumatic stress with the long-term goal of ultimately improving diagnostic specificity and treatment outcomes in those who experience trauma.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
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Chavez, Mark
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Mclean Hospital
United States
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