The global objective of the NIH-funded Molecular Therapeutics Training Program (MTTP) is to provide highly qualified predoctoral students with the knowledge base and research skills to begin independent investigative and teaching careers in the pharmacological sciences. Rapid advances in biotechnology coupled to the ever- expanding development of new and repurposed therapeutics has created a growing need for highly qualified scientists with core training in the principles and practice of pharmacology. The MTTP has had sustained excellent outcomes and an excess of excellent training grant eligible predoctoral students. Therefore, support is requested for an expansion of the program from four to six predoctoral positions for all years. The goal of the program is to develop professional pharmacologists with the maturity to address new research questions through creativity and collaboration and to communicate their findings to a wide audience documented by publications in premier scientific journals and effective communication with the lay public. We expect our graduates to be fully capable of contributing to the design and evaluation of therapeutic strategies in a range of careers. The MTTP provides a uniform conceptual framework and research environment through which students obtain the PhD degree in Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Designed with a three-tiered progression, the MTTP first establishes a didactic foundation in cell and molecular biology coupled with research rotations to facilitate mentor selection. Secondly, a foundation in molecular and physiological pharmacology is achieved via an intensive two-part core course which emphasizes both quantitative analysis and disease- focused study of drugs. Thirdly, students specialize via advanced courses and thesis research. In addition, rigor and reproducibility is a longitudinal component of the curriculum, which emphasizes unbiased experimental approaches that take into account group size, blinded experiments, and sex as a biological variable. These steps ensure that the importance of rigor and reproducibility is at the forefront from year 1 through preparation and defense of the thesis. The thirty-eight MTTP faculty preceptors represent six major research centers in Cleveland: CWRU, University Hospitals, the CWRU Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland VA Medical Center, and MetroHealth Medical Center. This rich diversity of research and training settings is accomplished while maintaining a united focus on pharmacology. The interdisciplinary design fosters productive interactions among students and faculty in basic and clinical departments around the common theme of therapeutics. Collectively the MTTP trainers are a highly interactive group of experienced, well-funded investigators, and there are many examples of collaborative scientific interactions among the program faculty. The environment at CWRU is excellent for research and training PhD students. Finally, The CWRU SOM is committed to graduate education and covers all first-year costs of all PhD students entering the MTTP.
A common foundation in both cell and molecular biology and the physiological and molecular bases of pharmacology for all students is unique to the Molecular Therapeutics Training Program (MTTP) under a rich interdisciplinary collection of trainers from multiple departments and institutions who are carefully selected and unified by their shared research interest in advancing insight for therapeutic development. As students diversify into the advanced courses and thesis research, they remain united by many functions, most importantly the uniform program of study overseen by the MTTP Steering Committee, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) that fosters educational as well as social interactions on a monthly basis, and the Annual Departmental Retreat that features the scientific accomplishments of the entire program and brings the community of faculty, students and research staff together to enjoy the science as well as recreational activities. These periodic functions are reinforced on a weekly basis by the universally attended Seminar Series in the Pharmacological Sciences and the Departmental Journal Club.
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