This amended application seeks continued support for the T-32, Interdisciplinary Training in Rheumatic Diseases at Vanderbilt University. The program has completed its first 5 year cycle. The program seeks support for 2 predoctoral and 3 postdoctoral positions. The goal of the program is to provide the next generation of investigators with the tools necessary to make critical discoveries and to advance our understanding and treatment of complex rheumatic disorders. Our faculty have created an interactive environment of discovery that bridges both clinical and basic research for pre and post-doctoral trainees. An interdisciplinary approach is coupled with a carefully orchestrated mentoring process so that trainees are provided with a broad perspective and they are exposed to opportunities for clinical translation of problems that cannot be solved by a single laboratory. The preceptors in the program are highly interactive and maintain extensive collaborative efforts between and among the research groups. These interactions create four Research Interest Groups within the program: Innate and Adaptive Immunity; Vascular Biology and Inflammation; Clinical and Health Services Research; and Musculoskeletal Biology. The program is organized to meet the career goals of individuals who want to apply advanced technologies, such as genomics or proteomics to rheumatic disease as well as to support the careers of individuals who want to translate these advances to improve health care. In addition to Departmental and preceptor-specific laboratory instruction, each trainee receives rheumatic disease research training through an interdisciplinary curriculum. Combined research forums, journal clubs and shared core facilities promote interactions beyond individual laboratories or divisions. Trainees in the program are actively mentored by both faculty members and through peer mentoring by former students and senior fellows in the program. Revisions in the application address recruiting, selection and monitoring progress of trainees. Degree granting pathways for MSCI and MPH will be available to the program. Significant institutional investment in the Division's facilities and the recruitment of outstanding new facult further strengthen the program for the future.
Rheumatic diseases constitute a major health care problem; they are among the most common and costly causes of chronic disease and long term disability. These diseases are also complex and difficult to treat. This program will improve health care by training researchers who will translate technical advances into earlier diagnosis and more effective therapies.
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