The Department of Physiology & Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Mayo Clinic has a long and rich history of preparing pre- and postdoctoral students for academic careers in a biomedical research environment that is increasingly more technological and complex. We strongly believe that a training grant that takes the novel approach of encouraging and nurturing biomedical research skills alongside computational, mathematical and engineering skills will create a unique cadre of future leaders in biomedical research related to lung disease. Under the auspices of the Training Program in Lung Physiology and Biomedical Engineering we successfully implemented a multifaceted program to train the next generation of biomedical researchers in lung physiology and disease. We recruited highly competitive predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees from different backgrounds (including clinicians (MDs)) who highlighted the success of our multidisciplinary approach. Accordingly, in this first renewal of our T32, the primary objectives of the training program will continue to be to train three groups of trainees for biomedical research careers in lung physiology and disease: 1) Predoctoral PhD (or MD/PhD) students with undergraduate backgrounds in engineering, mathematics or physics; 2) Postdoctoral PhD scientists with backgrounds in engineering, mathematics, physics or basic biomedical sciences; and 3) Postdoctoral MD or MD/PhD clinician-scientists. To achieve our objectives, we are requesting support for 2 predoctoral students (PhD or MD/PhD) and 6 postdoctoral trainees (with PhD and/or MD). From a pool of highly competitive eligible candidates with diverse backgrounds, we plan to recruit: 1) Predoctoral students via the Mayo Graduate (PhD students) and Medical (MD/PhD students) Schools; 2) Postdoctoral PhD scientists from applicants working in or applying to faculty laboratories; and 3) Postdoctoral MD or MD/PhD clinician-scientists from the large pool of residents or fellows from participating clinical departments (especially Anesthesiology, Pulmonary/Critical Care, Radiology and Surgery). A total of 20 highly-funded faculty mentors were selected based on their outstanding pre- and postdoctoral training records and their abilities to support trainees via extramural funding. The program is jointly led by Drs. Gary Sieck, PhD (Prof of Physiology, BME, and Anesthesiology; contact PI) and Y.S. Prakash, MD, PhD (Professor and Chair of Physiology and BME, Vice-Chair, Anesthesiology; Co-PI) who have extensive experience in biomedical research and demonstrated leadership in graduate and postgraduate education as well as administration at departmental, institutional and national levels. Individual trainee needs are met by common formal didactic program in lung physiology and BME, customized elective coursework, and training in writing manuscripts, grant applications, presentations, professional networking and interview skills. Success of the training program will be determined by retention and placement of trainees in academia at all levels of career development and ultimately as established, extramurally-funded biomedical researchers.
Respiratory and lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension impose an enormous healthcare and financial burden on the US population as well as worldwide. There is substantial societal need to train the next generation of lung researchers to take the lead in addressing these important healthcare issues. In this regard, the collaboration between scientists and engineers is key. We strongly believe that a training grant that takes the novel approach of encouraging and nurturing biomedical research skills alongside computational, mathematical and engineering skills in carefully selected trainees will create a unique cadre of future leaders in biomedical research. Under the auspices of the first renewal of our Interdisciplinary Training Program in Lung Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, we will continue to use a multifaceted approach to train this next generation of researchers using a cadre of outstanding basic research and clinical faculty mentors with diverse backgrounds, and a world-class research and educational environment within the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at the Mayo Clinic.
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