A T32 pre-doctoral training program will be initiated in Tulane University?s Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Bioinnovation. This will cultivate PhD students? abilities to develop clinically relevant biomedical technologies that may lead to marketable products. The career development aspect is timely, as 50-75% of PhD science/engineering graduates pursue careers outside of academia, and the conventional graduate school apprenticeship model does not adequately prepare these students for professional life beyond the university. This project is designed to prepare students for biomedical science and engineering careers at the interface of academia, industry, and government. The training plan includes three Program Aims: PROGRAM AIM 1 (Research): Fellows will complete a translational biomedical research project with an emphasis on either imaging or transport processes that are fundamental to elucidating or manipulating physiological/cellular systems and are ripe for the creation of biomedical technologies. PROGRAM AIM 2 (Educational Curriculum): The curriculum will educate trainees about scientific fundamentals, biomedical systems analysis, product conceptualization, analysis and design, entrepreneurship, IP and regulatory mechanisms, and market responses to innovation. This broad curriculum will expand trainees career horizon. PROGRAM AIM 3 (Community): This project will reinforce a Bioinnovation community that emphasizes interdisciplinary interactions, and will improve the Bioinnovation ecosystem in our New Orleans region. Key activities include: Laboratory rotations in the Tulane?s Schools of Science and Engineering, Medicine, and Public Health and Tropical Medicine and thus provide trainees with a perspective of resources and research questions from which to build and integrate translational technologies; A required externship at the FDA in Silver Springs, MD. This provides students with an understanding of the regulatory environment that must be negotiated if a translational project is to become a marketable product, and Curricular emphases on innovation and entrepreneurship that facilitates communication with supporters of biomedical technology development. This 5-year project will fund 12 pre-doctoral fellows; each with 2 years of T32 support and 1 academic year of Tulane support. This 5-year project thus funds 33 fellow-years of support for T32 trainees.
This project supports PhD students who will translate biomedical science and engineering research to technologies that can enter the healthcare marketplace. Healthcare products developed by this project may reduce the cost of healthcare, improve healthcare accessibility, and/or provide support for individuals with physical disabilities. Increasing the number of professionals with these capabilities will improve the quality of health care in our Nation.