Young investigators are critical to maintaining the physician-scientist workforce, but keeping this pipeline robust faces a myriad of challenges. These include expanding bureaucracy, greater clinical demands, diminishing research time, rapid pace of advancement in basic science, and limited funding for research training. To create a more seamless pipeline for physician-scientist training in Neurosurgery and Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), we have established this Research Education Program that aims to train and develop the future generation of neurosurgeon- and neurologist-scientists essential for future advances in basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience. The structure of the Research Education Program proposed in this renewal application builds upon the strengths and successes of our original program, but changes it in one fundamental way ? the program is now expanded to include both neurosurgery and neurology faculty and trainees. In the first iteration of our program, we focused solely on preparing neurosurgeon-scientists for independent investigative careers. In the current application, we now propose to prepare both neurosurgeon- and neurologist-scientists for investigative careers by enlisting full participation and leadership from the Department of Neurology at WUSM. What has not changed is the overarching goal of the WUSM Resident Education Program: to recruit and prepare the next generation of physician-neuroscientists so that they successfully compete for the best junior faculty positions in the country, secure extramural career development funding including K series grants from the NIH, and ultimately become highly successful physician-scientists. The Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology at WUSM provide an excellent institutional environment for basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience research and education. Both departments have long and distinguished track records of training academic physician-neuroscientists spanning many decades. This success has been particularly strong over the past 10 years. In Neurosurgery, over 70% of graduates have entered academic practice and nearly 20% of graduates have become successful NIH-funded neurosurgeon- scientists. In Neurology, 66% of graduates have taken positions at academic medical centers, and 30% have received independent fellowship grants, K awards, and/or R01 grants. The proposed Neurosurgery and Neurology Research Education Program leverages our past educational experiences and the strong neuroscience community at WUSM in order to develop an enhanced and distinct research training pipeline, specifically for neurosurgeons and neurologists interested in academic careers as independent researchers, with the overall long-term goal of ensuring that highly-trained physician-scientists will be available to make future advances to reduce the burden of neurological diseases.

Public Health Relevance

There is a critical need for well-trained neurosurgeon-scientists and neurologist-scientists to conduct basic, clinical, and translational research that will lead to improvements in the treatment or cure of neurological disorders. These individuals occupy a unique space working at the interface between clinical medicine and scientific discovery. The immediate goal of the proposed Washington University in St. Louis Neurosurgery and Neurology Research Education Program is to train neurosurgery and neurology residents in either basic or clinical science research, so as to foster their academic success and development into independent physician-scientists who can further our understanding of the mechanisms, etiology, and treatment of neurological diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
Program Officer
Korn, Stephen J
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Washington University
Schools of Medicine
Saint Louis
United States
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