The University of Michigan has a superb history of training in gastrointestinal sciences over the last several decades. Since its inception in 1989, our original NIDDK-funded training program supported a large number of physician scientists and clinical investigators, many of whom now maintain full time academic positions in the U.S. The original grant, which was designed mainly to train physician scientists, was until 2009 continuously funded for 20 years. In 2012 we started a new training program that focuses solely on training postdoctoral (MD, PhD, MD/PhD) and predoctoral PhD candidate scientists interested in basic and translational digestive sciences. In addition to eight gastroenterologist physician scientists (all R01 holders), we have expanded our research base to include an additional 17 R01-funded basic and physician scientists from the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology (7), Department of Pathology (3), Department of Cell and Developmental Biology (2), Department of Microbiology and Immunology (2), Division of Infectious Diseases (1), Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, & Diabetes (1), and Division of Hematology/Oncology (1). This program consolidates the major investigators who are conducting gastrointestinal research at the University of Michigan Medical School into a strong core of mentors for the training of physician scientists and biomedical investigators interested in basic and translational digestive sciences. Our group of 25 program faculty are all members of the Michigan Digestive Diseases Core Center funded by NIH (P30 DK34933) since 1986, and bring a long history of collaboration and team science. The training program focuses on three thematic areas that provide exceptional cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst the participating faculty: 1) neurobiology of obesity and appetite control, visceral pain and neurosignaling regulating GI motility; 2) molecular and cellular mechanisms of inflammation, tissue injury and repair; 3) cell growth, differentiation, neoplastic development and programmed cell death. Continued support is requested for 3 predoctoral trainees seeking PhDs in one of eight disciplines that range from Physiology to Cell and Molecular Biology, and for 3 postdoctoral trainees. The program will be co-directed by Chung Owyang, MD (Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology) and Bishr Omary, MD, PhD (Chair of Physiology), and includes coursework, seminars, strong mentoring and other enriching features. The efforts of the trainees will be supported by 25,000 ft2 of research space and more than $20 million of annual NIH research funding. The combined mass and diversity of available resources and the demonstrated successes of the training faculty past and current mentees provide strong evidence that this program will be highly successful in training the next generation of investigators interested in basic and translational digestive sciences.
There is a clear need to train academic physicians and scientists to perform research in gastroenterology in order to sustain the future generations of scientists and to maintain our edge in scientific excellence and innovation worldwide. This proposal puts together a training program which consolidates the major investigators conducting gastrointestinal research at the University of Michigan into a strong core of mentors to address this unmet need. Support is requested for 3 postdoctoral trainees and 3 predoctoral candidates selected from the University of Michigan program in biological sciences.
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