Nutrition plays a significant role in many of the major chronic diseases affecting the United States including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, obesity and cancer. While the influence of nutrition on these diseases is often well established, their multifactorial nature has hampered identification of the underlying causes and impaired development of effective therapies. Cross-disciplinary efforts are needed to understand human nutritional diseases to create new modes of treatment and prevention. Investigators pursuing these research goals must be trained as integrative Nutritional Scientists well versed in the principles of nutrition, as well as interrelated biological, physical, and socia sciences. This renewal application requests support for the successful Molecular and Applied Nutrition Training Program (MANTP) initiated in 1993 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The MANTP is built on a UW-Madison tradition of outstanding nutrition research and disciplinary breadth that provides a unique opportunity for trainees. Given UW-Madison's broad strength in pre- and postdoctoral training and the historical and continued prominence of nutrition and metabolism research and training, the MANTP is uniquely poised to train nutrition researchers of the 21st century. The specific objectives are to: 1) Provide an exceptional training environment that instructs and engages 5 predoctoral for two yrs and 4 postdoctoral trainees for 2 or 3 yrs in collaborative cross-disciplinary research that promotes innovative state-of-the-art approaches to the study of nutrition. Twenty-six well-funded trainers from 9 basic, applied or clinical departments will provide tailored cross-disciplinary training that emphasizes integrative approaches to nutrition research. 2) Broaden the knowledge base of the trainees in multiple disciplines through instruction and discourse between trainees and trainers of varied backgrounds to bring a wider array of approaches to bear on reducing nutrition-related human diseases. A flexible didactic plan is proposed that provides disciplinary breadth and allow trainees to embrace integrative research approaches. 3) Develop physician scientists interested in nutrition-related research. To infuse trainees with an appreciation of both basic and clinical science and to address the national shortage in physician scientists, especially in nutrition, we initiated a two-year resident MD research-training program along with the Division of General Surgery. Training will be in the conduct of basic, applied or translational hypothesis-based nutrition research and through participation in individually designed didactic and mentoring programs. Resident MDs will join the program after two years of residency. 4) Enhance career competitiveness with innovative professional develop- ment opportunities. Trainees will choose from a menu of opportunities that prepare them for many career choices in nutrition-related sciences. With renewed NIH support, the MANTP will continue to grow and refine its mission to provide the US scientific community with expertly trained PhD and MD nutritional scientists.
The incidence of nutrition-related chronic disease, especially those linked to obesity, is increasing in the US. While the role of nutrition in such diseases has been demonstrated by epidemiological research and clinical trials, many of the underlying fundamental mechanisms are not known. This training program will produce PhD and MD scientists with the breadth of knowledge and experience in cross-disciplinary research needed to generate far-reaching advances in treating these complex, multifaceted diseases.
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