Diabetes is a debilitating and burdensome public health problem, affecting an estimated 29.1 million men, women, and children (9.3% of total population) in the U.S. alone. Patients with this and other related metabolic disorders are burdened with devastating quality of life and health consequences, making the need for proper disease management paramount. As a result, there is an urgent demand for transformative technologies that provide both physicians and patients with more options to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure diabetes, metabolic diseases, and their complications. Furthermore, an interdisciplinary workforce is needed to accelerate development and delivery of these cutting-edge technologies to the clinic and market. The Bioengineering Interdisciplinary Training in Diabetes Research (BTDR) Program, which was initiated in 2013, was strategically designed to meet this need. A notable aspect of the program is that it integrates the strength in engineering education and technology development found at Purdue with excellence in diabetes research found at Indiana University School of Medicine, yielding an uncommon cross-fertilization. The mission of the BTDR program is to develop the next-generation interdisciplinary workforce that innovates, designs, and translates bioengineering technologies to advance the mechanistic understanding, prevention, and treatment of diabetes and its complications.
The aims of the BTDR program are to: 1) recruit highly talented students in engineering, physical sciences, computational sciences, analytical chemistry, pharmacology, physiology, and endocrinology with strong research backgrounds and commitment to innovative technology development and diabetes related research; 2) ensure that the next generation of interdisciplinary educators, scientists, policy makers, and physicians includes individuals from diverse ethnic, social, economic, and regional backgrounds, maximizing the scope and breadth of societal impact; and 3) engage students in a novel training experience that integrates basic research, innovation, design, entrepreneurship, and translation, along with vertical mentoring, to develop an integrated workforce that is equipped to accelerate advanced diagnostics and therapeutics to market. The proposed training program provides training pathways for six predoctoral students (two years support per student) from various engineering, physical science, and medical science disciplines, culminating in PHD or MD-PHD degrees. BTDR offers an uncommon interdisciplinary curriculum and rigorous hands-on training focused on technology design and translation guided by faculty with expertise in the cross- cutting areas of Therapeutic Cell & Drug Delivery, Biosensing & Biomaging, Informatics & Modeling, and Molecular Mechanisms & Drug Targets. Trainee outcomes include the ability to operate beyond hypothesis- driven research, incorporating principles of engineering design, standardization and validation, regulatory policy, technology translation, and entrepreneurship.
PROJECT NARATIVE Diabetes is a debilitating and burdensome public health problem that has reached epidemic proportions. As a result, there is need to train the next-generation interdisciplinary workforce that innovates, designs, and translates bioengineering technologies to advance the mechanistic understanding, prevention, and treatment of diabetes and its complications. This application describes our ongoing Bioengineering Interdisciplinary Training in Diabetes Research (BTDR) program to train the future cadre of engineers, scientists, and physician-scientists/engineers that is equipped to accelerate these advanced tools and technologies to the clinic and market.
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