The Developmental Neurology Training Program at Boston Children's Hospital is designed to produce trainees who are equipped for and deeply engaged in state-of-the-art research in developmental neuroscience from a detailed and mechanistic perspective, while also cognizant of the clinical importance of their field and the clinical challenges and opportunities today. We take advantage of the presence of an extraordinary community of basic neuroscientists at Children's Hospital and its affiliated institutions, embedded in a world-class clinical setting. We select outstanding candidates who will work in one of 30 mentor laboratories and engage in fundamental research into the mechanisms that guide the development of the nervous system. These highly interactive laboratories employ genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, electrophysiology, anatomy and behavior and use systems ranging from Drosophila to mouse, rat, and human cells. Consequently, our trainees are exposed to the full breadth of the field and are prepared to make informed strategic decisions. It is a special feature of this training program that each trainee wil be paired with a clinician or clinician-scientist as a co-mentor with the goal of helping trainees o understand the relationship of basic research to health and disease. This co-mentoring relationship will take advantage of the hospital setting and augment the rich opportunities for learning about translational research. The goal of the program is not to distract from an intensive research experience in fundamental molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopment, but rather to inform the trainee of its context in human health. The research experience of the trainee is also enhanced by an unusually extensive mentoring relationship with the Director of the Training Program, Prof. Thomas Schwarz, who meets with and advises all the trainees to offer feedback and career guidance. The training experience is also supplemented by a wealth of career-guidance instruction, including presentations skills, job- seeking skills, information about diverse career options, and of course the responsible conduct of research. All of this is situated within an environment of extraordinary resources and intellectual life. We have recruited a racially and ethnically diverse faculty of mentors and are committed to enhancing the diversity of the community of neuroscientists through our Training Program. The program thus seeks to enhance the experience of trainees beyond the opportunity to work with superb scientists tackling essential questions. There are few challenges in neuroscience as great as understanding the processes that result in neurodevelopmental disorders and intellectual disabilities and there is a growing awareness that many affective disorders arise from errors in development. Without deeper mechanistic understanding of these processes, the clinical challenges will remain. Training the next generation for this task is imperative.

Public Health Relevance

The Developmental Neurology Training Program supports postdoctoral fellows in the laboratories of neuroscientists at Boston Children's Hospital and related institutions in the Harvard Medical Area. The trainees are engaged in ground-breaking research into the molecular mechanisms underlying brain development, including studies of autism, epilepsy, Rett syndrome, spinomuscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy, and tuberous sclerosis. The trainees are prepared for careers in fundamental research that are informed by clinical needs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Korn, Stephen J
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Boston Children's Hospital
Independent Hospitals
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