Our broad goal is to train a generation of investigators with programs of basic, translational or clinical research in movement disorders. 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 T32 program confronts this problem head on by bringing together an outstanding group of mentors and predoctoral trainees to foster interdisciplinary training in movement disorders across the disciplines of genetics and molecular biology, translational neuroscience and physiology, and cognitive and movement science. To achieve this goal, we have designed our training program as follows. First, six trainees are selected from a pool of outstanding predoctoral students with diverse backgrounds and are admitted from one of six participating graduate programs for up to two-years of support. Second, we have created built in mechanisms via which trainees interact including: a) monthly T32 meetings with the program directors and a biostatistician where trainees present and discuss their research; b) development of a joint research project as part of a required Movement Disorders course using one of several available large scale ?movement disorder? databases; c) annual chalk-talk symposium between the T32 Trainees and Neurology Fellows from the UF Center for Movement Disorders. Third, the trainee's doctoral committee includes a biostatistician and faculty mentors who represent at least 2 of the 3 themes of the training program. Fourth, trainees take a required clinical-lab rotation course where they shadow clinicians, view DBS surgery, and rotate through clinical and basic science laboratories outside their core area of expertise. To enhance rigor, we have incorporated a biostatistician into our program along with specific training activities. Other core requirements include development of an individual career development plan, T32-specific courses, publications and presentations at professional and scientific conferences (including the NINDS workshop), and career development and networking opportunities. The Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration (MDNR) training program capitalizes on existing clinical and research strengths of faculty of the Fixel Institute and the Center for Movement Disorders and six affiliated centers of excellence (Parkinson Disease, Tourette, dystonia, Lewy Body Disease, PSP, Huntington?s Disease), outstanding animal research facilities, world class neuroimaging, and a strong interdisciplinary environment. Taken together, the experiences provided by the training program provide a rich foundation ? ranging from research conceptualization and design, oral and written communication, and mentorship 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 predoctoral 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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