There is a shortage of physician-scientists who can bridge basic research and clinical neurosciences. These are the individuals who can take the discoveries of basic science and use them to understand the mechanisms of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease or stroke, and to develop novel treatments and biomarkers. Neuropathologists play a key role in this process, as they are specifically trained to study the microscopic and molecular manifestations of disease. They can provide critical insights into the changes present in human neural tissues, as well as those of animal models and based on their unique perspective can generate novel hypotheses or form an essential part of multidisciplinary teams studying neurological disease. The goal of the Johns Hopkins Research Education Program in Experimental Neuropathology is to provide neuropathology residents and fellows with an intensive, mentored research experience during their residency or fellowship. This early immersion in research will help them to develop a research career and prepare them to successfully apply for NIH career development awards (KO8 and K23). To attain this goal, we have assembled a group of highly qualified mentors, both from neuropathology and other neurosciences departments, who will guide the research activities of the trainees. These mentors are physician-scientists and basic researchers with strong track records of independent funding and research, scholarship, and previous training of physician-scientists. Trainees will be selected based on their potential for becoming independent investigators and will be admitted to the program while in their neuropathology residency or fellowship. The trainees will then work for one or two years in the laboratory of a mentor, who will guide and supervise them. The plan for research will be jointly developed by the trainee and mentor and approved by the Program Executive Committee. The trainees will also attend courses in the ethical conduct of research and professional development (grant writing). They will also be able to apply for an Administrative Supplement of the award to extend their research experience once they complete their clinical training. While in the program, the trainees will start writing applications for KO8 or K23 awards. The success of the program will be evaluated by the number of trainees that apply for and succeed in obtaining career development awards (i.e. KO8 and K23) or other major research grants (i.e. R01), pursue research and academic careers, and author significant peer-reviewed publications.
Diseases of the nervous system such as dementia, stroke, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury are common causes or morbidity and mortality. There is an urgent need to find new ways to diagnose and cure these conditions. New advances in basic sciences, including cell imaging, molecular biology and genetics, have created great opportunities that need to be translated into diagnostic tests and therapies for these neurological disorders. This R25 Neuropathology Research Education Program aims to train physician-scientists focused on Neuropathology who will be able to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical medicine, and to develop the next generation of diagnostic tools and therapies for neurological disorders.
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