This is a renewal application requesting continued funding for a Neurobiology of CNS Injury and Repair T32 Training Program to support 4 predoctoral fellows working toward their Ph.D. degrees. During the first 4 years of the original funding period, 11 trainees have been appointed to the 2 year program, of which 5 have completed training and their Ph.D.s (3 in Physiology and 2 in Anatomy & Neurobiology). Of those 5, 2 are currently postdoctoral fellows, 2 have been hired into university faculty positions and 1 has moved on to medical school. Of the other 6 trainees, 2 are expected to finish their Ph.D.s during year 5 of the initial funding period. The remaining 4 are anticipated to complete their doctorates within the next two to three years. The training of the predoctoral fellows will be mainly carried out by training faculty whose primary appointments are either within the University of Kentucky (UK) Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) or are the affiliated with it as SCoBIRC Faculty Associates. Three of the SCoBIRC faculty associates have their primary appointments within the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA). In addition to their primary appointments, the SCoBIRC and/or SBCoA training faculty have their academic appointments in one of three UK College of Medicine basic science departments: Anatomy & Neurobiology, Physiology, or Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry. One additional training faculty is from the UK College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The overall goal of the proposed program will continue to be providing broad-based training in modern research concepts regarding the acute, subacute and chronic pathophysiology of SCI, TBI and stroke, and the identification of potential disease-modifying molecular targets that can drive the discovery of pharmacological or gene therapeutic strategies by which the devastating effects of these injuries can be ameliorated. These strategies will include both ?neuroprotective? and ?neurorestorative? approaches. Although it is anticipated that most of the trainees will pursue careers in laboratory-based therapeutic discovery research, they will also receive training in clinical aspects of the targeted neurological disorders and the practical issues involved in the design and conduct of neurological clinical trials. To accomplish this, the predoctoral fellows will spend one day/week for a semester shadowing one of 6 Clinical Tutors from the Departments Neurosurgery and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and will attend weekly grand rounds to gain an understanding of the clinical nature of TBI and SCI upon which their research is focused. This will enhance their ability as independent investigators to not only make therapeutic discoveries in experimental neurotrauma and stroke injury models, but also provide them with knowledge concerning how to design their basic research in a manner that will more readily enable the translation of promising therapeutic approaches into clinical studies and therapeutic trials.

Public Health Relevance

This project will involve the continuation of a training program that prepares 4 predoctoral fellows/year for neurological research careers that are directed at the discovery and translation of novel neuroprotective and neurorestorative therapies for the treatment of acute neurotrauma and stroke as well as the chronic neurodegenerative sequelae of traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries. The training will be directed by basic science and clinical faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
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Weigand, Letitia Alexis
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University of Kentucky
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