Productivity in basic and clinical neuroscience research is accelerating due to technological advances in the area of biomedical imaging. These new technologies have the potential to advance knowledge about the underlying etiology of brain-based disorders, mechanisms of treatment, and predictors of response. This competing renewal grant proposal describes a Neuroimaging Training Program (NTP) established in 2003 within the framework of the longstanding and highly successful doctoral degree program offered by the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST). HST is an ideal home for the NTP. The sponsoring institutions, MIT and Harvard, and the affiliated teaching hospitals, have been and continue to be at the forefront of the development and application of biomedical imaging technologies. The faculty has consistently mentored leaders in the fields of biomedical imaging and clinical neuroscience. The integrated, interdisciplinary educational program trains pre- doctoral students to meet the scientific, engineering, and clinical challenges posed by this area of investigation. Importantly, the curriculum creates a cohesive environment in which educators from both neuroscience and technology-based domains work and teach together effectively. The environment, mentorship, and formal didactic training attract exceptional individuals to the pursuit of clinical neuroimaging research. In the past three funding cycles, the NTP developed a comprehensive core curriculum and became established as an exceptional program for those wishing to pursue advanced training in neuroimaging. The unique strengths of the NTP include in-depth, direct clinical training, a comprehensive didactic curriculum specifically geared to this cadre of trainees, and vast faculty and technology resources. Our outstanding faculty exemplify the highest standards in teaching, advising and mentoring. Each member of the faculty prioritizes their trainees needs to explore, identify and achieve their career aspirations. Not focused on any particular niche of neuropsychiatric disease (e.g., alcoholism or brain injury), or specific imaging modality or approach, the NTP also prides itself on its multimodal approach to training and demonstrated record of training students in a diverse array of technologies and their basic and clinical applications. Funding is requested to support 6 pre-doctoral trainees each year, providing 2 years of funding per trainee.
Investment in training of biomedical engineers to become experts in the development of new non-invasive imaging tools and their use in patients with brain diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's Disease will greatly advance the ability to provide good medical care. The trainees from this program make significant contributions to medical technologies that enable accurate diagnosis of illnesses and determination of responses to treatments.
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