This application seeks to renew the Neurobiology of Information Storage Training Program (NISTP), which is devoted to preparing exceptional predoctoral students for research-intensive careers in the science of learning and memory. Active since 2003, the program is focused on training in fundamental mechanisms of information storage in animals and humans, acting as a central organizer for research in this area at Northwestern. With the recent shift in mental health research toward dimensional, systems-based frameworks there is unprecedented need for training of the kind offered through this program, which provides training at multiple levels of analyses for understanding mechanisms of learning and memory and their relevance to mental health. The NISTP is based in the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience (NUIN) program, emerging from a multidisciplinary group of 29 interactive investigators who have successfully engaged in collaborative research on molecular/genetic, cellular/circuit, and systems/behavioral determinants of information storage. NISTP preceptors have strong track records in predoctoral training and well-funded research programs, and can impart both basic and clinical perspectives to a group of outstanding developing scientists. Training components of the NISTP will include: 1) an advanced course in the latest research in information storage neurobiology, taught by NISTP preceptors; 2) two trainee-hosted lecture series featuring leading investigators in the field of information storage; 3) mock study sections for trainees preparing NRSA applications; and 4) quarterly NISTP meetings including a) ?research in progress? trainee talks, b) ?bench to bedside? translational discussions, c) ?computational modeling and memory? interactive discussions, and d) the annual NISTP retreat. NISTP also serves to educate students in the ethics of science and to recruit students from underrepresented groups to study learning and memory. Continuous evaluation of the program will be accomplished using qualitative mechanisms, such as evaluations by trainees, and quantitative measures, such as tracking the research productivity, funding, and career trajectories of former trainees. An internal Steering Committee and an External Advisory Committee will conduct additional assessment processes.Trainees are drawn primarily from a pool of NUIN students who have completed most of the required coursework and have We r equest continued support for five trainee slots, which will be supplemented with one institutionally funded ?affiliate? slot . With the value added by the NISTP, we are confident that NISTP trainees will emerge from their graduate training poised to advance research in fundamental biological mechanisms of learning and memory and well positioned to develop novel translational applications. made significant progress in their thesis research.
Many psychiatric disorders, including stress-related, affective, autism spectrum, and psychotic disorders, are associated with abnormal learning and memory. This proposal is a request for renewed funding of the predoctoral Neurobiology of Information Storage Training Program to prepare the next generation of scientists to understand, at the most fundamental level, the process of learning and memory and its relevance for mental health.
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