There is a need for an enhanced and expanded hematology research trainee pipeline to fit the changing landscape of the 21st century. Dr. Hoots and colleagues from the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources (DBDR) at extramural NHLBI reported in Blood in 2015 that ?the total number of investigator-initiated (R01) grants that the NHLBI DBDR funds (almost all of which have nonmalignant hematologic science as their emphasis) has declined over the past decade, as have the number of unique R01 investigators.? They called for enhancement of trainee career development, a reinvigoration of hematology research technology and redefinition of roles of the hematology physician-scientist. The Pittsburgh Blood Science Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has responded to the hematology training need with a full-featured training program in translational hematology science. The program combines cross-departmental strength in laboratory blood research, innovative, well-developed degree programs in clinical research and entrepreneurship, and translationally motivated hematology physician-scientist faculty research mentors with over $28 million in current fiscal year total cost NIH funding. Each trainee will attend a core T32 training structure in place already for heart, lung, vascular and sleep researchers at the Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, including an intensive two- week ?Fundamentals of Bench Research? course, grant writing workshops, academic survival skills conference series, reimbursed grant review program, and K-to-R transition workshop. An individualized career development plan is developed from a menu of options for research experience and degree programs to enhance their translational research skills: ? Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Research from our Institute for Clinical Research Education ? Master of Public Health (MPH) from our Graduate School of Public Health ? Master of Science in Medical Product Engineering (MS-MPE) from our Swanson School of Engineering ? Master of Business Administration (MBA) in entrepreneurship and product development from Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business ? FDA, NIH and American Society of Hematology externships for regulatory and infrastructure experience ? In-house internships in drug development regulatory expertise ? Laboratory training in translationally-oriented basic science labs ? Apprenticeship with in-house leaders of multicenter clinical trials ? Experience with computational biologists and other ?big data? researchers ? Skills for transitioning to early stage funded faculty researcher positions ? Advanced scientific expertise on the role of emerging inflammatory biology on hemostasis, thrombosis, sickle cell disease and other vascular biology The research training program impact is augmented by an updated, USGME-approved hematology- concentrated clinical fellowship training program that offers training for evolving roles in health-system clinical hematology, transfusion medicine, hemostasis and thrombosis, and hematopathology.
The workforce in hematology, the science of blood, has been in decline for two decades due to a variety of reasons. NHLBI has called in published articles for new research training plans for hematologists to align with the changing landscape of clinical and research hematology, including expansion of clinical-translational training. In this proposal, we leverage the extensive portfolio of clinical-translational degree programs and informal training opportunities at the University of Pittsburgh to meet the needs announced by NHLBI.