The pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases is complex. Accordingly, we propose to train future vascular biologists capable of implementing integrated approaches combining cellular, whole animal and human systems through multidisciplinary collaborations that begin during pre-doctoral training. The interdisciplinary pre doctoral training program in Integrative Vascular Biology (IVB) at the University of North Carolina was established in 2002 and has effectively united graduate students who are working in broad disciplines of vascular biology. The success of the IVB Program is clearly demonstrated by the fact that 18 of the 42 trainees received individual fellowships while they were/are in training, and that 22 of 27 past trainees who completed their PhDs are continuing research in academic settings or are residents/students at Medical Schools. The program aims (1) To connect graduate students in broad areas of research related to vascular biology and to cultivate their communication and collaboration skills; (2) To facilitate collaborations through co mentors in different Departments, and thereby integrate a broad knowledge base and skill set relevant to the trainee's thesis research. This renewal application requests funding to continue our IVB Program with support for 12 trainees per year, each up to three years. A new approach in this renewal is to identify outstanding students from under-represented minority backgrounds and guide their vascular biology interest during their first year; one of the trainee positions wil be specifically assigned to support this Fellow. Other trainees will be selected among those who are already in departmental graduate programs at UNC and have chosen thesis projects/mentors in areas related to vascular biology at the end of their first or second year. To encourage a multi-disciplinary approach, we require each trainee to have a collaborating advisor(s) in addition to their conventional primary mentor. The IVB Program is administered by the campus-wide Program for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Dr. Nobuyo Maeda, Prof. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is the Director, and Drs. Kathleen Caron, Assoc. Prof. of Cell and Molecular Physiology, and Leslie Parise, Prof. and Chair of Biochemistry and Biophysics, are the Associate Directors. The primary mentors are faculty members at UNC from 13 Departments in four Schools and one College, all of which have a strong commitment to predoctoral training through vascular biology-related research. To form a body of complementing faculty with whom the trainees can choose to collaborate, the primary training faculty are joined by clinical faculty and investigators at UNC who maintain active laboratories staffed primarily with postdoctoral fellows. Support for the IVB community is also provided through the McAlister Heart Institute which offers a seminar series and Core facilities to study vascular biology. With its outstanding history and breadth in vascular biology research, its strong group of investigators, and its strength in animal model studies, the IVB Program at UNC offers an ideal environment for the multidisciplinary training of pre-doctoral students.

Public Health Relevance

To accelerate progress in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease we must expand our knowledge of the basic mechanisms and pathways underlying the complexities of vascular biology by investigating these research areas from multiple directions. The interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program in Integrative Vascular Biology (IVB program) at the University of North Carolina proposes to train future vascular biologists capable of implementing integrated approaches that combine 'cellular', 'whole animal' and 'human' systems through multidisciplinary collaborations that begin during pre-doctoral training. With its outstanding history in vascular biology research, its strong group of investigators, and its strength in animal model studies, the IVB Program at UNC offers an outstanding environment for multidisciplinary training of pre-doctoral students in broadly based areas of vascular biology-related research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1)
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Wang, Wayne C
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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