This is a competitive renewal application for the Training Program in Neurobiology of Cognition and Cognitive Disorders at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (C&CD Program). Since the C&CD Program was implemented in 2007 under the leadership of Dr. David Sweatt, UAB has made an impressive investment in neuroscience with the areas of cognition and cognitive disorders now being identified as a focal point for strategic development across the entire institution. The C&CD Program is housed in the Department of Neurobiology, and includes 47 faculty from 11 basic science and clinical departments in the School of Medicine (SoM), School of Optometry, and College of Arts and Sciences. The goal of the C&CD Program is to develop the next generation of leaders and scholars in neuroscience research who: have a foundation in molecular, cellular, and cognitive neuroscience theories and research findings; value the importance of using findings from basic science to understanding the basis of cognitive disorders; are prepared to use innovative research approaches to understand cognition and brain-behavior relationships; and will be able to translate this knowledge to treatments and cures of cognitive disorders in the future. The success of the C&CD Program in its first funding period is evidenced by its robust participation (35 total students-18 trainees funded), graduation of a talented cadre of doctoral students (ten total graduates-six funded), with an average of more than four publications each, and all transitioning to competitive postdoctoral positions or completing clinical training. This renewal builds on the successful components of the Program Plan by providing: (1) A curriculum with courses in cellular, molecular, cognitive and translational neuroscience; (2) Clinical shadowing in the Clinical Evaluation of Cognitive Disorders course; (3) An outstanding seminar series; (4) Dissertation research with both a basic science and clinical mentor, using experimental approaches that address questions with direct relevance to cognition and cognitive disorders; and (5) Opportunities to hone presentation skills at retreats and national meetings, and instruction in ethical conduct of research, and career development. The specific value added components of the C&CD Program include the special clinical/translational training experience in patient-oriented research, interactions with both basic science and clinician scientist mentors, and distinct extracurricular activities. As the UAB SoM Strategic Plan highlighted cognition and cognitive diseases as an area for major investment with 15 new faculty and $20 million over the next five years, the future of the C&CD Program is secure and it will benefit substantially from this investment with the addition of dynamic new faculty mentors and research facilities.
The goal of the Training Program in Neurobiology of Cognition and Cognitive Disorders at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is to develop the next generation of leaders and scholars in neuroscience research who are prepared to use innovative research approaches to understand cognition and brain-behavior relationships, and will be able to translate this knowledge to treatments and cures of cognitive disorders in the future.
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