This is a renewal application for a SCHOOL-WIDE predoctoral training program, which was initiated in 2003. It is designed to train six graduate students annually in the field of Cardiovascular Biology. Cardiovascular diseases are major causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States, and thus require major efforts in fundamental and translational research. The training program offers a format for training students dedicated to developing the tools and knowledge needed to study and control cardiovascular disease. It provides formal research and academic training for Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. candidates carefully selected from interested candidates who are already students at Boston University. Trainees enter the program after passing their qualifying exams, and are supported by the fellowship for an average of 2 years. The program's major goal is to encourage competent young scientists to pursue their interest in cardiovascular research, and prepare them for careers in biomedical research. The objectives are: 1) to provide a thorough understanding of clinical implications as well as basic mechanisms; 2) to facilitate interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to cardiovascular disease; 3) to expose trainees to a broad range of current technologies; and 4) to provide professional development and career exploration opportunities. Training is offered in topics such as atherosclerosis, heart failure and hypertension, with application of various disciplines ranging from physiology to biochemistry to genetics to biomolecular engineering, thus broadening our trainees' knowledge during regular group meetings and Journal Clubs. Interdisciplinary training is further facilitated by coursework and participation in activities offered by the relatively new Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research (founded in 2009). To balance knowledge of clinical relevance, basic mechanisms, and technical innovations, each PhD thesis committee must include 2 members of the training program faculty, at least one with a Ph.D. and one with an M.D. Additional training activities include: participation in various activities of the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute (CI) at our institute, attendance at clinical cardiology forums and grand rounds, and required courses in cardiovascular biology. Members of the training faculty are experienced mentors affiliated with different academic departments and with the CVI, and all have at least one active NIH grant. There are strong research interactions between members of the training program, which are further strengthened by the trainees. Although this is a relatively young program, we have already trained twenty-seven graduate students, all of whom have documented success in research and academic skills. The program may be unique in that it provides an opportunity to train predoctoral fellows in cardiovascular research with emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, in an academic setting with considerable experience, cutting-edge funded research in cardiovascular biology, and where sensitivity to the needs of graduate students is provided by a well-developed mentoring program, addressing issues from time management to professional development.

Public Health Relevance

The Boston University-Boston Medical Center Training Program in Cardiovascular Biology for pre-doctoral students has been active since 2003 and is currently supporting six trainees. Cardiovascular diseases represent the major causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States, and thus require major efforts in fundamental and translational research. The training program offers a format for the training of future scientists who will devote time and efforts in developing the tools to study and control the disease, using interdisciplinary approaches, as needed.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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NHLBI Institutional Training Mechanism Review Committee (NITM)
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Carlson, Drew E
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Boston University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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