The long-term objective of the T32 Multidisciplinary Rheumatology Training Program (MRTP) at Johns Hopkins University is to train and develop a cadre of outstanding rheumatologists and scientists who will advance knowledge and improve outcomes for people living with rheumatic disease, and who will become leaders across the biomedical research enterprise. This goal is directly relevant to the NIAMS mission to support the training of investigators conducting research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases. This will be accomplished through the following Specific Aims: (1) Provide rigorous instruction in investigational methods to postdoctoral fellows, applicable to the conduct of clinical, translational, and basic research; (2) Utilize clinical centers of excellence to access well-defined rheumatic disease patient populations, enabling trainee projects to be rapidly initiated on established patient cohorts; (3) Provide access to outstanding resources and methodologic and analytic expertise that facilitate research success; (4) Engage trainees in high caliber collaborative research projects that address important questions and test meaningful hypotheses under the supervision of nationally-renowned multi-disciplinary program faculty; (5) Integrate multi-layered and individualized mentorship for each trainee to develop meaningful scholarship and a successful investigative career; (6) Assess the outcomes of this program and make modifications to maximize its success. In this proposal, we demonstrate the outstanding clinical and translational infrastructure we have developed to support training and research. This infrastructure includes highly productive program faculty and mentors, vibrant interdepartmental collaborations and multidisciplinary investigative teams, a robust institutional commitment to postdoctoral training in rheumatology at Johns Hopkins, and a robust pool of trainee candidates. The core of the experience is the close relationship between a primary mentor, co-mentors, and the trainee around specific research projects. This is supplemented by individual development plans, formal course work, and core conferences. Our trainees? education includes training in the responsible research conduct, career planning, grant writing, and manuscript preparation. Postdoctoral trainees in the clinical sciences can also earn a Masters in Health Sciences Degree. This program combines intensive training in a single area of investigation within a matrix of multidisciplinary collaborations. Only post-doctoral fellows are eligible for the T32 MRTP, which will support 4 post-doctoral trainees annually, each for a period of 1-3 years. A wide range of training opportunities will be provided by a large interactive network of faculty supported by individual, collaborative, and inter-institutional research grants.
There is a growing need for well-trained investigators in rheumatic diseases, to define pathophysiologic mechanisms, recognize phenotype and trajectory, identify risk factors, and direct intervention and prevention programs. The goal of this program is to train highly qualified individuals to be future leaders in rheumatology.
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