This revised application requests continuation of funding for a successful and long-standing training program (dating back to 1991). At a critical juncture of change in leadership, the program strives to maintain a strong foundation with the opportunity for growth and restructuring. Rebranded as the Iowa Neuroscience Specialty Program In Research Education (INSPIRE) this program seeks to integrate training in translational neuroscience with an emphasis on a lifespan trajectory perspective. Our approach is to re-shape and reframe our research opportunities based on the NIMH's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project by focusing on mechanisms of psychopathology based on functional dimensions rather than the diagnostic criteria that define patient populations. The ultimate goal is to train a group of young investigators who will combine a high level of sophistication about the complexities of the human brain's functional domains, how these systems develop over time, and the mechanisms that may lead to pathologic functioning. . This program is at a pivotal point in time. Nancy Andreasen, a pioneer of brain imaging in the study of schizophrenia, conceptualized and directed this program from 1991 until now. The current Co-PI of the program, Peg Nopoulos, is an alumnus of the program herself and will now be responsible for directing the program. She is joined by John Wemmie, the new Co-PI of the program. This change in leadership has afforded the opportunity to retain the solid foundation, but also to re-shape the program substantially in two broad areas: 1) a focus on the study of neurobiologic mechanisms of psychiatric illness across the lifespan, and 2) implementing a more highly structure training program with emphasis on translational science. In expanding the content of the program beyond the major psychoses, we partner with a new and growing Molecular Psychiatry division, adding six new MD/PhD and PhD scientists as mentors. This helps expand the program to include basic science PhDs, a new phenotype of fellow, and allows for the creation of an interdisciplinary cohort or trainees. This mix of types of trainees adds an addition layer of exposure to translational research with a strong emphasis on team science. Central to the training program is the Master's in Translational Biomedicine (TBM) program which is hosted by our Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS). This program is designed to be individualized and flexible. The INSPIRE program will recruit a total of 4 fellows at the post-doctoral level who are MD, MD/PhD, or PhD trained. Each fellow will be `matched' with an outstanding mentor as well as a mentor team to oversee the primary activity of mentored research activity. In addition, each fellow will develop a program through the TBM that suits their needs while fulfilling requirements (such as Training in Responsible Conduct in Research), utilizing both formal didactics and career development activities. A degree (certificate or Master's) is an option, but not a requirement. The training period is typically 2 years in length but can be expanded to 3 years.

Public Health Relevance

This revised application requests continuation of funding for a successful and well-established training program rebranded as the Iowa Neuroscience Specialty Program In Research Education (INSPIRE). INSPIRE seeks to integrate training in translational neuroscience with an emphasis on a lifespan trajectory perspective, with the ultimate goal of advancing research in the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1)
Program Officer
Chavez, Mark
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University of Iowa
Schools of Medicine
Iowa City
United States
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