This is a renewal application of an established NHLBI- sponsored T32, ?Training Grant in Circadian and Sleep Research?, to train predoctoral and postdoctoral students and fellows at Northwestern University. The integration of circadian biology and sleep research has been the cornerstone of this Training Program from its inception in 1998. Dr. Fred Turek will be one of the Program Directors of this T32 Program, which he has been for 20 years. Dr. Phyllis Zee will also be one of the two Program Directors (Multiple PI), in order to provide leadership for increasing clinical research training in Circadian Biology and Sleep Research for Fellows and residents at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) who will become leading physician scientists as their careers develop. The T32 Program will involve 15 Primary Training Faculty who have their primary appointments in either basic science or clinical departments. The proposed Training Program will offer predoctoral and postdoctoral students interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary training in a wide range of scientific disciplines that are highly relevant to understanding the function, regulation and health implications of sleep and circadian rhythmicity. Central to this Program is the training of students in modern basic science, translational research as well as patient oriented research. Multiple research perspectives have fueled for more than 2 decades the productive interactions and cross-fertilization that have developed between the preceptors in this Program. As our nation is facing unprecedented epidemics of obesity, diabetes and their cardiovascular consequences, the Training Program proposed in the present application is uniquely positioned to train an interdisciplinary workforce of academic and industry investigators, as well as government decision makers, to address the roles of sleep disturbances and circadian dysfunction in these public health challenges. A key feature of our Training Program is the inclusion of 7 Collaborating Faculty with additional clinical, scientific and/or educational expertise that greatly enhances our training environment. Our Program will enable trainees to integrate cutting edge approaches and techniques in the areas of genetics, genomics, microbiomics, endocrinology, metabolism, pharmacology, neurobiology, pulmonology, cognitive neuroscience, gerontology, and gastroenterology into their training in sleep and circadian research. Because the preceptors are actively involved in research at the molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and epidemiological levels, trainees will be trained in a rich environment of research activities that are integrated to study of the basic mechanisms of sleep and circadian function at all levels of biological organization. We are requesting support from this T32 renewal for 4 predoctoral students and 4 postdoctoral fellows for each of the five years. We anticipate the training period will be 2-3 years for each student/fellow, although it may be less if a trainee obtains individual support through other funding sources. It should be noted that the NU graduate school will provide support for an additional 2 predoctoral students for each of the next 5 years of this Training Program.
There is an urgent need to better understand the interactions between sleep and, circadian function and dysfunction and their implications for human health including cardiometabolic health. Progress in this area is crucial for the development and implementation of preventive and therapeutic strategies to address the epidemics of chronic disease that represent a major threat to public health in America and elsewhere; if funded, the results from the research carried out by the Trainees and their preceptors will become public information. The proposed Training Program in Circadian and Sleep Research is uniquely poised to offer the multidisciplinary training needed to prepare investigators in basic, translational and patient-oriented research to lead efforts to improve our understanding of the roles of sleep and circadian function (and dysfunction) for health and disease, and to develop interventions to prevent the development, or reduce the severity and co- morbidities, of some of some of the most prevalent major chronic diseases of modern times.
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