The Interdisciplinary Vision Training Program (VTP) at Brown University supports graduate students as they develop research skills and expertise in vision research. Students enter Brown through the Department of Neuroscience or the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences (CLPS) and in their second year a small number are selected for support by the Vision Program. By the second year the students have much of their broad neuroscience or CLPS coursework completed. At this stage the vision program supports trainees as they receive specialized training and experiences aimed at strengthening and broadening their understanding and abilities in vision research. The core of the vision program is the research training they receive in the lab. Though the trainees conduct basic research, a key part of the program consists of experiences through which they learn about visual disease and disorders. In general, we foster an environment unconstrained by traditional discipline boundaries and where graduate students are encouraged to work at the interfaces of these disciplines. At all stages of instruction, we integrate skills considered essential for successful, independent research careers in vision research. These include critical thinking and reasoning, effective science writing and oral presentation, knowledge of scientific review processes, and training in ethics. To ensure a successful training program, we have selected a core training faculty engaged in the study of biological vision. These trainers have their own grant support and most have significant track records successfully training pre- and/or post-doctoral students; a couple are relatively junior but are highly active in research and student training and they show great promise as research mentors. In addition to the preceptors in the vision training program, there is a rich intellectual environment at Brown. The Institute for Brain Sciences has over 130 faculty. The Center for Vision Research consists of 35 faculty sharing interests in vision research ranging from molecular biology to artificial systems to philosophy. Both of the host departments are in new or newly renovated space. In 2007, the Department of Neuroscience moved to the new Sidney Frank Hall for Life Sciences. In the Fall of 2011, the CLPS department will move back into the Metcalf Research Building which they vacated to make way for a $40M renovation. This proposal requests renewal of the vision training program with support for 3 (years 1-2)-4 (years 3-5) predoctoral students.

Public Health Relevance

Brown's Interdisciplinary Vision Training Program supports predoctoral students as they develop the skills required for a successful career in vision research. The core of the program is the research the students conduct in Program laboratories. In addition to coursework, trainees are educated in visual disease and disorders so that they move toward research careers with an understanding of the practical goals of vision research. This application is a proposal to renew the Vision Training Program for five years.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEY1)
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Agarwal, Neeraj
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Brown University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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