Physician-scientists occupy a critical niche in the translation of basic science findings into new clinical treatments. Within the field of neurology, physician-scientists have been at the forefront, among many examples, in developing new models of human disease, developing new clinical treatments for Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and stroke and identifying novel genetic signatures of brain tumors, glial progenitors and neural stem cells that may facilitate new therapies. However, the relative and absolute numbers of physician scientists have been declining over the past 25 years, despite the doubling of the NIH research budget during a portion of this epoch. This is in large part due to the prolonged nature of the training for a physician-scientist. The NIH has recognized this problem in the release of this RFA for Neurology and Neurosurgery Education Programs. The goal of the neurology research education program in this grant proposal is to train neurology residents in either basic or clinical science research through direct investigative study, oral/written scientific presentation, and intensive mentored career development. The structure of the training program incorporates two tiers of mentoring and focused time on oral and written presentations, with a culmination in the production of career development grant in the final year of the residency for each trainee. This training program is supported by an excellent environment for neuroscience research and education in the UCLA Neurology Department. The department has been the number 1 NIH funded neurology department since 2002, and has a large clinical and basic research faculty with diverse and well-funded programs. The residency program is relatively large (8 per year) with flexibility to place selected residents in a research program, and has a track record of training many academic neurologists in the past. The proposed education program leverages the existing research programs of the 61 mentors on this grant, and the past educational experience of the department, to develop novel basic and clinical science tutorials so as to provide technical training outside of primary research labs and to develop a larger translational neuroscience program within the neuroscience community at UCLA. This translational neuroscience program will be developed through didactics seminars, a translational neuroscience symposium and the formal investigative studies of the neurology residents on this proposed research track grant. In summary, the proposed training program in this grant develops a system of mentoring and scientific development for neurology resident trainees as well as serving as a focus for a larger environment in which to bring residents, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows into communication and collaboration around translational neuroscience training.
Physician-scientists have an important role in developing new therapies for disease. However, the numbers of physician-scientists have been declining. This grant develops a research program to train physician-scientists in neurology using an innovative program of laboratory training, exposure to cutting edge scientific techniques and development of a translational neuroscience environment. Relevance to Public Health: This grant will develop physician scientists in neurology that will develop new therapies for human diseases.
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