This program is designed to train post-doctoral physicians and scientists capable of developing new advances in multi-disciplinary translational cardiovascular research directed toward the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Worldwide, CVD is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality for those >30 years in age; unfortunately in the US after years of decline, rates of CVD are now increasing in prevalence. This program will help to address the inadequate number of MD and PhD investigators (a shortage recognized by the NHLBI task force review of research training and career development programs) trained in multi-disciplinary CVD research activities that are needed to pursue solutions to reduce the burden of CVD. Our 5-year proposal includes the training of 4 MD applicants for 2 years beginning at the PGY 5 level, and 3 PhD applicants for 3 years beginning at the PGY 0 level. The program builds on research strengths at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) involving basic and clinical translational CV science using cellular, small animal, and single and multi-center population cohort and clinical trials. Key features of this proposed T32 training program include: 1) pairing each trainee with an externally funded research mentor whose research focuses on CVD; 2) outstanding multidisciplinary faculty who are experienced in training young investigators and can quickly establish this T32 program for fostering successful progress in academic medicine; 3) access to multiple phenotypic and biologic materials from major NIH-funded basic science, prospective cohort, or clinical trials at VCU through the supporting program faculty; 4) courses provided by the existing graduate school and medical faculty that supplement areas of CV research not previously experienced by trainees; and 5) two institutional seminar programs that enhances interaction among individuals from multiple disciplines. The proposed training program includes 15 faculty from 7 departments; these faculty currently mentor 11 individuals who meet the program eligibility criteria. Each has NIH or VA extramural funding; strong institutional support in the form of financial resources, facilities, and equipment; robust integration with the VCU Center of Health Disparities for recruiting and training minority scientists; and support for key professional development activities such as presentations and grant and manuscript writing. The ultimate goal of this T32 training program is to attract and train a cohort of outstanding academic scientists fluent in the latest developments of CV multidisciplinary translational research, who will then apply this knowledge to design and lead future studies regarding important questions in cardiovascular health. The proposed training program, with an emphasis on training both MD and PhD investigators, would augment the supply of physicians and scientists capable of developing new advances in multi- disciplinary translational cardiovascular research directed toward the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, a major public health issue.
A shortage exists of MD and PhD scientific researchers equipped to develop new treatments for cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of morbidity and mortality both internationally and within the United States. Over the last 15 years, Virginia Commonwealth University, through the Pauley Heart Center, has created a high-quality research environment with federally funded, multi-disciplinary (involving collaborations among 7 institutional departments), translational (involving pursuit of fundamental discoveries that impact meaningful health outcomes) research projects conducive to training and mentoring young investigators. We now propose to further expand this academic environment to train post-doctoral professionals and clinician scientists desirous of an academic career in translational cardiovascular research ? thereby helping to address the shortage of well-trained multi-disciplinary translational academic investigators needed in this area of high public health impact.