Acute and chronic lung diseases are major causes of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. For many of these diseases, the fundamental pathobiology is not well understood and effective disease-modifying treatments are not available. This training program titled ?Interdisciplinary Training Program in Lung Research? focuses on training researchers in basic mechanisms of lung disease and is committed to equipping young investigators with the skill set necessary to develop into successful researchers and academic leaders. The Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Center for Lung Research (VCLR) have a long, successful history in developing well-trained researchers who have the vision and the skills with which to embark on successful research careers. This program is housed in the VCLR, which was developed to coordinate and enhance collaborative interdisciplinary research and training. Dr. Timothy Blackwell (director of the VCLR) serves as program director. The program is designed to support post-doctoral trainees (both M.D. and Ph.D.) who show exceptional aptitude for successfully pursuing an academic research career. Trainees concentrate on one of five disease focused areas of existing expertise in the VCLR: acute lung injury and host defense, asthma and airway disease, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, or lung cancer. A customized mentoring team is formed for each trainee, consisting of a mentor with nationally recognized expertise in the area and a research advisory committee to provide additional guidance, mentoring, and feedback. The trainee's experience is enhanced by interactions with other investigators and trainees in existing lung disease-focused research programs in the VCLR, an extensive program of seminars and conferences, and coursework tailored to meet the needs of each trainee. As a result, each trainee develops an understanding of the translational paradigm in his/her area of research and attains the academic skills necessary to become a future leader in the field of lung research.
While there are unprecedented opportunities for advancement in understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of lung diseases, the pipeline of new investigators who are trained and committed to careers in lung disease-oriented biomedical research is inadequate. This interdisciplinary training program is designed to meet this challenge by preparing future leaders in lung research to advance science and improve health.
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