Movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and ataxia strip away the ability to act on our environment. Each disease causes unwanted movements, makes desired movements more difficult to perform, and also affects how we think and process our emotions. To be effective, research into movement disorders must cross disciplines, and enhance the translation of basic science discoveries to help humans move more effectively. This Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration Training (MDNR) program confronts this problem head on by bringing together an outstanding group of mentors with a rich infrastructure and resources to train predoctoral Trainees focused on movement disorders. This program combines a critical mass of well-trained scientists prepared to conduct research focused on the ABC'S of translational research: an etiology, biomarkers/end phenotypes, and causative and symptom based therapies. To do so, the program will encompass three areas with a central theme of movement disorders: a) molecular biology and animal models; b) translational neuroscience and physiology, and c) human motor and cognitive neuroscience. Specific approaches within these themes can range from genetics to molecular to neuroimaging to neurorestoration to behavioral, but the central focus is movement disorders. Trainees are selected from a pool of outstanding students with diverse backgrounds and are admitted by one of five graduate programs. A key feature is that Trainees experience laboratories that cross areas, and dissertation committee members must come from each of the three scientific areas. The MDNR program capitalizes on existing strengths and strategic investments at the University of Florida (UF) including well-established investigators in ataxia, Parkinson's disease, atypical parkinsonism, and dystonia, outstanding animal research facilities for basic science, world class animal and human imaging facilities, three privately endowed and foundation supported Centers of Excellence for Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and ataxia, and the UF Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration. This patient-centered clinical research facility maintains the largest, comprehensive clinical research database in the world. Upon entering the program, each trainee prepares an individualized career development plan that consists of a structured didactic program, specialized courses, seminars, and laboratory research. The mentor to mentor interaction that crosses levels of analysis sets up a unique learning environment that will prepare Trainees for a strong future as biomedical scientists that can make a difference in movement disorders. This training program in Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration provides an interdisciplinary training environment that is fundamental to the advancement of research in the etiology and treatment of movement disorders.
Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders are devastating disorders that disrupt quality of life for individuals and their families. This predoctral program involving Interdisciplinary Training in Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration (MDNR) is designed to help build a group of rigorously trained scientifically competent and innovative young scientists who can make a difference in the lives of individuals with movement disorders by advancing research in etiology and treatment of movement disorders.
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