The proposed T32 Dermatology Scientist Training Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is designed to prepare outstanding predoctoral (Medical Scientist Training Program [MSTP] candidates only) and postdoctoral trainees (MD, PhD, and MD/PhD) for academic research careers in Dermatology at a time of declining numbers of physician-scientists nationwide. During the initial 5-year period, with 2 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral trainees per year, each for a 2- or, if indicated, 3-year appointment with protected research time, this new training program will fill a critical need for research training in a diverse range of research areas pertaining to skin biology, including immunology, metabolism, and computational biology, enhancing collaborative basic and translational research at UCLA. In response to this need, the interdisciplinary curriculum and mentored research opportunities of the new program interweave the scientific expertise and mentoring experience of 33 high-quality multidisciplinary faculty who are committed to collaborative, team- based science. The new career development program will leverage the resources of the UCLA MSTP, Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program, and Training Program in Translational Science for the core curriculum.
The aims of the UCLA Dermatology T32 program are to: i) expand the multidisciplinary knowledge base of dermatology as it relates to different aspects of skin diseases; ii) provide didactic and hands-on research training in the intellectual and philosophical foundation of dermatological investigation within the broader clinical-translational research enterprise; iii) develop trainees' scientific writing skills for publications and grants; iv) provide an academic environment that enables development of the research skills and experience needed for successful, independent scientific careers in academic medicine; and, v) model research-empowering teaching and mentoring skills for trainees' development, including their eventual replication of research education, training, and career development programs in skin biology as their careers evolve into stable, scientific independence. Overall, the proposed T32 carves out a unique niche not only within the health sciences training/career development enterprise at UCLA as an integrated program focused on both basic scientists and physician scientists in investigative dermatology but also among NIAMS-supported T32 programs in dermatology nationwide through its innovative leveraging of a university-wide program, the STAR Program, to develop the careers of physician scientists, combining clinical and research training.
Through mentored research training and career development of the next generation of leaders and innovators in academic dermatology, the Dermatology Scientist Training Program will advance our knowledge of skin biology in health and disease. The discovery science fostered and facilitated by the program will in turn lead to improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of dermatological disease.
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