This renewal application requests support for integrated, broad-based, fundamental, multidisciplinary predoctoral training of first- and second-year (pre-thesis) students in neuroscience at the University of Iowa. The application builds on more than two decades of success in training Ph.D. students, on recent successes in matriculating and training increasingly top-caliber students, and on stable, mature leadership, including a highly experienced Program Director. The Program, which is small but stellar, draws on a long tradition of close interactions among scientists with primary appointments in basic and clinical departments, and their availability to mentor students, formally and by example, in the interplay between basic and clinical research. The training faculty members are 38 extramurally-funded neuroscientists with research interests that span the gamut of neuroscience, from biophysical and pharmacological properties of ion channels, to synaptic proteins and signaling molecules, to neural mechanisms of higher functions such as language, memory, and decision-making. The preceptors have extensive experience and success training students. Students participate in a well-developed, mature curriculum that offers broad and fundamental training in neuroscience, spanning the breadth of the field in terms of levels of analysis (from genes to molecules to cells to integrated functional systems) and diversity of approaches (from ion channels and patch clamp microelectrodes to transgenic and gene-knockout mouse models to human lesion-deficit and functional neuroimaging to translational research), with a special focus on the neuroscience of disease and disorders (including an NIH-supported Neurobiology of Disease course), along with training in statistics and experimental design. The program incorporates three laboratory rotations, regular programmatic activities (laboratory meetings, seminars, journal clubs, retreats), and comprehensive training in responsible conduct of research. The """"""""value-added"""""""" feature of this Program is especially compelling - NIH training grant dollars enhance every aspect of the Program, and have contributed directly to unprecedented success during the current funding period, including increases in the quantity and quality of applicants, matriculation and retention of students from diverse backgrounds (including racial/ethnic, disabled, disadvantaged), decreased time-to-degree, publication records of students, and placement of graduates in prominent neuroscience-related academic positions. To extend these accomplishments, this renewal request asks for six slots per year to support first- and second-year students.
The Iowa Neuroscience Training Program emphasizes a highly interdisciplinary orientation, and is tightly tied to the jointly sponsored NIH predoctoral neuroscience mission to foster work toward the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nervous system disorders, and the basic sciences fundamental to this purpose. The Program remains committed to training a diverse and highly expert workforce of neuroscientists, who will then assume leadership roles related to the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda.
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