The training program in Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology (CMDB) was founded at UAB in the early 1970s with a commitment to develop scholars who are well prepared for the challenges inherent to a career in biomedical research/education. Graduate education at UAB is through the interdepartmental-based Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS) umbrella program that combines an innovative problem-based core curriculum with small group learning modules focused on thematic areas. The CMDB T32 program integrates with the GBS curriculum and workshops on scientific integrity and reproducibility, and career and development programs. The training approach has four basic components composed of 1) a didactic and inductive/student-driven learning curriculum, 2) a mentored research project, 3) practical experiences in scientific writing, review, and communication, and 4) career development opportunities. The CMDB T32 provides enhanced training and support for a select group of highly-talented predoctoral trainees that are interested in basic and clinical research related to cell and developmental mechanisms that contribute to normal and altered physiology, disease pathogenesis, and birth defects. Importantly, CMDB is unique at UAB in that it is the only T32 program that supports predoctoral trainees independent of a disease focus, thus, extending opportunities to high-caliber trainees that would otherwise be ineligible due to the nature of their research. The CMDB training program is highly competitive with 114 predoctoral trainees currently in CMDB mentor laboratories. The program receives on average 32 applicants annually for only 8 positions, thus, the highly qualified applicant pool of trainees far exceeds the number of positions. CMDB is strengthened by robust University commitments that include support for the CMDB T32 Directors Fund. The Directors Fund provides added value programs such as the annual multi- institutional scientific retreat between UAB, Vanderbilt, St. Jude's, and UT-Memphis, the CMDB Distinguished Lectureship Series, CMDB Chalk Talk and Works in Progress, and trainee participation in career development workshops and meetings. The CMDB T32 establishes a vibrant and effective training environment by bringing together a collaborative group of 57 basic and clinical scientists. These mentors were selected on the basis of their collegiality, their research focus, productivity, and support, and most importantly, their strong commitment to predoctoral mentorship. The CMDB T32 training program has a long track record of success. Compared to national averages, the CMDB trainees' completion rates are remarkably high (89%) and they have a shorter median time to degree (5.5 years). They have a high success rate in continuing on in scientific research, education, law, or policy/management in academia, industry or government careers. The success of this program is also evidenced by the 184 peer-reviewed manuscripts published by CMDB T32 trainees over the past 10 years, averaging 3.8 papers per trainee. Importantly, the overall quality of the CMDB T32 experience is enhanced by the incredibly collaborative and collegial environment entrenched in the UAB scientific culture.

Public Health Relevance

The interdepartmental Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology (CMDB) T32 program is dedicated to training highly motivated students who are interested in pursuing careers in biomedical research and education with a focus on cell and developmental mechanisms that contribute to normal and altered physiology, disease pathogenesis, and birth defects. The CMDB T32 program selects exceptionally talented predoctoral trainees that matriculate into the UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS) umbrella program to provide them with enhanced training and career development opportunities along with a flexible curriculum that can be tailored to the individual research and career goals of the trainee. Our objective is to continue to build on the remarkable successes that the CMDB T32 program has had over the past thirty plus years to provide trainees with an outstanding training environment that will facilitate their maturation into creative, independent research scholars in the biomedical sciences.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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NIGMS Initial Review Group (TWD)
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Gindhart, Joseph G
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
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