We request continued support for a training grant for advanced (3rd-5th year) graduate students engaged in translationally relevant neuroscience research. The training grant will be open to students enrolled in the Neurobiology and Behavior Program as it has been in the past and from now on also in the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Studies at Columbia University. Support for five students is requested. The impetus for initiating and continuing this training program is the desire to provide the best possible preparation of our students to fulfill productive careers that draw on their scientific training. Specifically, we intend to enhance the training in statistical and quantitative methods, foster collaborative research, and encourage students to study commonalities between nervous system disorders. In particular, we will support a cadre of students carrying out cross-disciplinary research that has translational significance and relevance to neurological diseases. We will further favor and support such research that is directed by co-mentors with different experimental expertise. In addition, we will provide out-of-laboratory training of these and other students in the programs via a continuing course in ?Professional Skills? and a course in ?Biology of Neurologic and Psychiatric Disorders?. We will also offer new value-added components in the program: Dr. Cheng-Shiun Leu, Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics, will provide one-on-one statistical counseling and advise for the trainees and their mentors, and he will participate in the regular meetings of the trainees with the PI. Another new component is a yearly quantitative approaches workshop and the requirement for trainees to participate in the Annual NINDS T32 Program workshop. These training opportunities are designed to be leveraged so that they benefit our supported trainees as well as other neuroscience-oriented students at Columbia. The program will be directed by the current co-PI Ulrich Hengst with the current co-PI Lloyd Greene stepping down at the end of the current funding cycle. The program will have 56 mentors at both junior and senior levels, who work in areas of relevance to translational neuroscience. Oversight will be provided by the directors of the Neurobiology and Behavior and the Integrated program, by the advisory committee of the Neurobiology and Behavior program, and by feedback from current and past students supported by the program. In the first 9 years of the program, 25 students have been supported with mentorship/co-mentorship by 25 different faculty. Publication records, thesis completion, retention rates, success in gaining outside support, continuation in science careers, increasing numbers of qualified and co-mentored applicants, and student feedback all indicate that the program is meeting its goals. This and the opening of the training grant to students from the Integrated program support the request to increase the number of supported students to five from the current number of four.
The goal of the proposed program is to support training of advanced graduate students to prepare them for successful and productive careers in neuroscience research that is relevant to translational neuroscience. We anticipate that students so trained will make important future contributions to understanding the causes of, and finding treatments for, disorders of the nervous system.
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