Sleep medicine is a relatively new discipline. Hence, few institutions have the critical mass of faculty to mount a single institutional training grant. he lack of research training is a major barrier for the field of sleep medicine to take advantage of current scientific opportunities. One area where there are substantial opportunities for new science is in the field of genetic/genomic approaches. These are needed to develop personalized sleep medicine. Many sleep disorders are heritable, although the gene variants that confer risk are largely unknown. Moreover, recently sleep-like states have been identified in many species such as worms, fruit flies and zebra fish as well as mice. These model systems can be used to determine the functional significance of gene variants identified in human studies. To capitalize on these opportunities, a novel national effort is proposed. The basis of this is a multi-institutional training grant involving three institutions-Johns Hopkins, Stanford University and University of Michigan. The program will be directed by the University of Pennsylvania with fellows at each of these three institutions. The University of Pennsylvania has the most experience in research training in sleep and has significant administrative and training infrastructure to support this program. The program will focus on training the next generation of physician-scientists. Trainees will be given three years of training supported by this program. There will be a core curriculum that will be taken by all trainees. This will use new video-based IT technology that is already operational. The core curriculum will involve the following: lectures on genetics/genomics of sleep and its disorders by faculty at all participating institutions;caree development;grants workshop;journal club;research-in-progress talks by trainees. Each trainee will have co- mentors at their home institution-one expert in sleep research and one in genetics/genomics. They will also have a mentorship committee with experts in sleep research and genetics. For the mentorship committee, mentors from the various institutions in this program, as well as from institutions that currently have funded training programs in sleep research (Harvard, Penn, Pittsburgh) will be involved, if appropriate. Trainees who pursue genetic/genomic research at these other institutions will also be considered part of this national effort. There will be an annual retreat of all trainees and faculty. This will orient new trainees o research opportunities and allow more advanced trainees to present their research. There will also be keynote speakers selected by trainees. This retreat will facilitate interaction between the trainees at all the different sites. The goal of this national effort is to develop a cadre of new investigators in genetic/genomic approaches to sleep and its disorders.
Sleep disorders are common and there are major genetic influences. Thus, developing a personalized approach to sleep medicine is a feasible goal. This research training grant proposes to train the next generation of investigators in this area using a multi-institutional effort based on Johns Hopkins, Michigan and Stanford.
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