This is an application for renewal of grant T32-MH015174 titled Translational Neuroscience Training Program. We have continued to strengthen our emphasis on translational neuroscience. This is evidenced by our new faculty list consisting of a balanced mix of basic neuroscientists with an interest in brain disorders and translational neuroscientists working directly on models of neurological or psychiatric disorders. Ren Hen PhD (10% effort), the director of this program, will chair a three-person steering committee that also includes Holly Moore PhD (10% effort) and Josh Gordon MD/PhD (10% effort). The primary goal of this proposal is to train postdoctoral fellows (PhDs and MD/PhDs) for careers as independent researchers at the interface between neuroscience and psychiatry as well as neurology. An intensive program is outlined in which fellows will be exposed to a series of courses, workshops and lectures by a mix of basic and preclinical neuroscientists as well as psychiatrists and neurologists. In the course of training, fellows will also acquire a range of skils relevant to research methodology, ethics and career development. Graduating fellows will be able to present clearly an entire project in both written and oral form as evidenced by publications, presentations and grant writing. A trainee must maintain the highest standards of scientific integrity and understand the ethical issues relevant to animal and human experimentation. The success of the training program is reflected in both the accomplishments of the trainees and in the diversity of the fellows. In the past 10 years, 32 fellows have been selected to enter the training program; 52% female, 13% minorities. Of the 32 postdoctoral fellows supported during the past 10 years, 28 are either in training or employed full time in scientific research, teaching or administration in neuroscience. Seven are faculty members, three are independent full-time researchers at research institutes, six are either research scientists or research fellows at universities. Six graduates have already received RO1s, and several others have applications pending. In total, 20 graduates have received substantial independent funding including one DP5 award, two R21s, three K awards, three R03 awards, as well as awards from NARSAD, Sackler, and other funding agencies. The greatest strength of this training program has always been our exceptionally large neuroscience community as well as the research environment within the Departments of Neuroscience, Psychiatry and the recently created Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative (CTNI), which is an umbrella program that consists of 200 neuroscience labs from various departments but with a common interest in translational neuroscience. Our increased emphasis on translational neuroscience will hopefully create a generation of researchers who are equally comfortable with basic science and clinical questions and who will provide us in the future with a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurological and psychiatric disorders.
The primary goal of this proposal is to train postdoctoral fellows for careers as independent researchers at the interface between neuroscience and psychiatry as well as neurology. Our emphasis on translational neuroscience will hopefully create a generation of researchers who are equally comfortable with basic science and clinical questions and who will provide us in the future with a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurological and psychiatric disorders.
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