) We propose to continue a successful Training Program for predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in the visual sciences. The core of the training program is coupled strongly with and through the Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF. The emphasis will be on training students and fellows who will apply modern biological methods to research problems in the visual sciences. All trainees will receive comprehensive research training in the laboratory of their mentor. Additionally, trainees will receive a strong foundation in visual sciences and the disciplines of modern biology through formal course work, seminars, journal clubs, and contacts with the clinical and basic science faculty at the UCSF School of Medicine. All of the faculty members of the Training Program are established scientists who are members of the Neuroscience Program. Most of the faculty members also have affiliations with other graduate programs at UCSF. Eight of the training faculty are also members of the Department of Ophthalmology, and seven of these have neighboring laboratories in the Koret Vision Building. Twelve of the faculty members receive their primary research funding from the National Eye Institute. The research interests of the entire faculty encompass or complement one or more areas of the visual sciences, Predoctoral trainees will be selected after choosing a research mentor and following completion of the Neuroscience Core courses and 3-laboratory research rotations. The progress of predoctoral trainees will be monitored by a thesis committee and by the Vision Training Program. Postdoctoral fellows will join and train primarily in the laboratory of a selected faculty member. Collaboration with the laboratories of other training faculty, or other faculty within the School of Medicine, will be strongly encouraged. Such collaborations are a strong tradition at UCSF. UCSF is particularly well suited for this Training Program because of the strength of its research and graduate training in molecular biology, cell biology, molecular genetics, and neurosciences, and because of the quality of broad-based research in the visual sciences. The exemplary record of successful training of predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows by the mentors on the Vision Training Grant shows the capabilities and dedication of our program. Of the 78 postdoctoral fellows who have completed training in the labs of the Vision Training Faculty in the last 10 years, 57% are presently in independent academic positions at universities, medical schools and dedicated biomedical research institutes such as the Riken in Tokyo. Another 14% remain in research in an academic setting and another 14% have taken an industrial position in companies associated with biomedical products. Continued NIH support for this training grant will be essential for enabling us to continue training scientists and academicians for the future.
The goal and mission of biomedical research, and NIH, is first to search for and discover fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and then to apply that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. The goal of predoctoral and postdoctoral training at UCSF is to guide and educate future researchers who will make fundamental creative discoveries, develop innovative research strategies, and apply their skills and knowledge as a basis for ultimately protecting and improving health. Additionally, this training is organized to promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science. Because we are training students and fellows in the visual sciences, we will be focused ultimately on the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and cure of human blindness. Given the research interests and expertise of the faculty members in this program, predoctoral and postdoctoral training will also emphasize the growth and development of the visual system. This proposed training program will play an important role in educating students who will become our future biomedical researchers. Having a well-trained cadre of researchers is the principal means that we, as a nation, have for understanding and treating illnesses and disabilities of our own and the world's population.
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