This is a new pre-doctoral training grant application in Translational and Molecular Sciences (TMS) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Currently, too few PhD graduates are entering the workforce with sufficient training in pathobiology of disease and translational experiences to effectively translate molecular advances into clinical practice. This proposal addresses this need with our goal being to provide a training environment that provides the necessary skills for the next generation of PhD biomedical scientists to incorporate translational objectives into their research and prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow. Our recent experiences in graduate education show increased demand from students for training in translational research; this is the driving force behind the current application. A major challenge in effective training in translational sciences for pre-doctoral students is the need to incorporate multiple disciplines and concepts ranging from understanding disease mechanisms, understanding of how findings may be translated in academia or industry, to understanding regulatory oversight procedures and rules. We propose a 2 year program (with 6 students per year) with students enrolling at the beginning of their second year. An integrative curriculum is proposed that involves didactic elements (that includes understanding disease mechanisms, drug discovery and development, translational research administration), career and translational research enrichment activities (including enrollment in a Certificate program in Translational and Molecular Sciences, academia and industry workshops, CTSA interactions, Eminent Speaker Series) and meaningful clinical / patient interaction experiences, the latter of which will be linked with the trainees' research interests. We feel that providing students with training in translational research early during a student's matriculation will provide required skills and empower them intellectually to incorporate translational research into their research and prepare them for the diverse requirements for the future workforce. To achieve this, we have assembled 42 training faculty with well-funded laboratories and a unique array of expertise (45% PhD, 45% MD, and 10% MD PhD) and experience whose collective research addresses fundamental scientific problems with a strong emphasis on translation and human disease. An additional goal of this program will be to involve more MDs in graduate training and education. Several disease areas that are perennial strengths of UAB and integrated with clinical and basic science departments, together with UAB Centers are represented and will provide breadth for students in diverse research disciplines. This proposal underscores our previous and ongoing commitment to pre-doctoral education and our collective goal of providing an environment for students to learn and develop the skills they will require to be successful in the biomedical research and other science related occupations.

Public Health Relevance

The Translational and Molecular Sciences Training Program will provide a focus on translational research training for PhD graduate students. The program will consist of a mixture of didactic elements interwoven with meaningful clinical experiences that are individualized to synergize with research interests of each trainee. The objectives are to provide the necessary skills, training and experience for the next generation of biomedical scientists to integrate translational research elements into their research interests and prepare students for the diverse set of jobs anticipated in the translational research arena.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
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Cole, Alison E
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Appling, Francis D; Scull, Catherine E; Lucius, Aaron L et al. (2018) The A12.2 Subunit Is an Intrinsic Destabilizer of the RNA Polymerase I Elongation Complex. Biophys J 114:2507-2515