The overarching goal of the mixed predoctoral and postdoctoral T32HD071866 training program is to develop burgeoning scientists into future leaders in translational rehabilitation research ? scientists who are equipped to test and disseminate novel rehabilitative strategies that will alleviate impairment and compromised life quality in the face of chronic disease management. To meet this goal, we will build on achievements during the first funding cycle, as the program grew in number of trainees and established a reputation that attracts high caliber applicants nationwide. The now proven program leverages an exceptionally rich institutional environment that offers myriad resources, and a collaborative team that has grown to 50 productive mentors in three categories (Core, Content, Mentors-in-Training); all of whom are deeply committed to training and career development. Trainees benefit from two years of interdisciplinary training that carefully meld three core levels of scientific inquiry: (i) molecular pathobiology; (ii) rehabilitation science/physiology; and (iii) rehabilitation medicine (i.e. clinical trials). Consequent to recent successes in faculty recruitment ? seeding more interdisciplinary teams ? translational rehabilitation research training in the renewal period will expand to four areas of concentrated strength: (i) Musculoskeletal Disorders; (ii) Neurologic Diseases; (iii) Cardiometabolic Diseases; or (iv) Cancer. Predoctoral trainees are selected from a highly competitive and diverse national pool admitted to a UAB graduate program (e.g., Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Rehabilitation Science). Nationally recruited postdoctoral trainees leverage institutionally funded training/career development programs tailored to meet diverse postdoctoral training goals. Each trainee's primary mentor and Translational Mentoring Team are drawn from expert program faculty in the Schools of Medicine (cell/integrative biology; physical medicine & rehabilitation; neurology; pathology; medicine; surgery; oncology; pediatrics; biomedical engineering), Health Professions (rehabilitation & nutrition sciences), Public Health (biostatistics; epidemiology), and Arts & Sciences (psychology). Together the trainee, mentor, and Translational Mentoring Team craft an individual development plan, approved and monitored semi-annually by the Executive Committee. The plan includes coursework, laboratory and clinical research, professional development programs, workshops, presentations locally and at national meetings, and training in the responsible conduct of research. Learning to conduct and publish high-impact research is a primary focus. The program will continue mentoring 4 predoctoral and 4 postdoctoral trainees each year, and will leverage expanded resources to maximize recruitment and training of underrepresented minorities and individuals with disabilities. As a top 25 NIH-funded academic medical center with over 80 state-of-the-art scientific core facilities and 24 University-wide, interdisciplinary research centers, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is remarkably well-positioned to cultivate truly translational scientists equipped to drive the field of rehabilitation medicine with cutting edge research.
The main goal of this training program is to develop highly competitive junior scientists into future leaders in rehabilitation research. This goal will be met by taking advantage of a rich academic environment that offers numerous resources and a complementary and collaborative team of basic and clinical research mentors committed to training and career development. The program will teach both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees how to conduct, and the importance of, integrative research that spans from understanding disease at the cellular level to improving clinical rehabilitation practices.
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