This proposal requests continued Child Health Research Career Development Award (CHRCDA) support for the Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC (CHP). The primary goal of the Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease Training Program is to identify, mentor, and foster the careers of future leaders in pediatric research who are dedicated to improving child health through discovery. The program offers a 1- to 3-year experience for three scholars per year focused on training in cell and molecular biology research relevant to child health. The training experience is designed to allow scholars to establish careers as independent, NIH-funded pediatric physician-scientists. The mentoring faculty includes 26 outstanding basic investigators who have a distinguished record of research contributions and mentoring. The emphasis of the mentoring experience is on the fundamentals of scientific inquiry combined with the highest standards of excellence for rigor and integrity. Each scholar is expected to conduct an innovative research project in the laboratory of one of the faculty mentors leading to publications and applications for individual NIH K or R01 grants. The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh has one of the fastest growing pediatric research programs in the country and is housed on the CHP campus along with the new 300,000-square-foot CHP Rangos Research Center. We have appointed 28 scholars to the CHRCDA program at the University of Pittsburgh since its establishment in 1992; 27 have completed training. We also use departmental resources to provide additional positions for pediatric physician-scientists, who are called CHP scholars and afforded training opportunities identical to those of the CHRCDA scholars. We have appointed 16 CHP scholars to date; all have completed training. The outcomes of our CHRCDA and CHP scholars are outstanding. Of the 43 program graduates, 28 (65.1%) have transitioned to K02, K08, K23, K99, or R01 funding. Of the 29 graduates who completed program support at least 5 years ago, 14 (48.3%) have transitioned from K grants to R01 grants. Of the 43 program graduates, 25 (58.1%) are currently in lab-based, investigative careers with either active NIH funding or applying for NIH awards. One of the graduates is a department chair, six are division directors, and seven are full professors. These outcomes provide confidence that the Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease Training Program selects talented trainees, provides a powerful team of mentors, and offers an intellectually stimulating environment that will inspire junior faculty in pediatric subspecialties and provide them with the experience and training to become leaders in child health research.
The Molecular Basis of Pediatric Disease Training Program at Children?s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC supports the training of physician-scientists who seek to improve child health through basic research. The broad public health significance of this program will be realized through the academic and scholarly accomplishments of the trainees, with connections to both the direct treatment of patients in the clinical setting and the discovery of basic disease mechanisms and new therapeutic agents.
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