This proposal requests renewal of postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology of Neurological Disease. This is a 2 year program that currently funds six fellows each year. Due to the success of this program, as well as the large number of qualified candidates and faculty mentors, we seek an increase to cover eight fellows. Our program has five primary goals: 1) To foster understanding of the diseases and syndromes that are of high relevance to NINDS; 2) To ensure that trainees are appropriately mentored in their research and that they acquire the professional skills necessary for independent careers in neuroscience; 3) To afford opportunities for innovative research; 4) To attract underrepresented minorities to postdoctoral training in neuroscience; and 5) To support training of special cases ? individuals whose needs differ from those of the typical training fellow. These special cases may include individuals with computational backgrounds who now seek biological training, as well as young scientists who take on projects that require extended time and effort for completion. Our program requires trainees to be active participants in a two-year course on the ?Neurobiology of Disease.? Many sessions of the course are taught by an academic clinician and a basic scientist, and include patients to illustrate a relevant disease or syndrome that is the topic of the session. The course is spread over two years to cover the full spectrum of diseases and syndromes. This time period also makes it easier to schedule the participation of patients and active clinicians. At least two presentations per year are devoted to critical analysis of clinical research, as well as basic science papers. This allows trainees to discuss issues relevant to experimental design and data analysis. We also provide trainees with a two-step Professional Development Series that is tailored to the specific needs of early- and late-phase postdoctoral fellows in neuroscience. The professional development series includes topics ranging from grant writing to exploring job opportunities and setting up a first lab. Trainees can also take additional courses, as needed, to fill in gaps in their background. At the core of every postdoctoral experience is mentored research in an accomplished laboratory. To oversee this experience we have devised a mentoring program that includes regular review of both the trainee and the mentor. Each trainee has a primary research adviser as well as an individualized Research Advisory Committee. This arrangement has proven to be especially helpful to Early Stage Investigators who have trainees in their laboratories for the first time. Our 49 training faculty supervise 55 postdoctoral trainees. More than half of these trainees are eligible for individual NRSA and/or T32 support. We believe that the quality and breadth of our faculty, the state-of-the-art facilities, and the unique nature of our training program enable us to attract outstanding fellows and provide them with a special experience.

Public Health Relevance

Every year millions of Americans face the problems caused by disorders of the nervous system. These disorders can range from neuro-developmental abnormalities in infants to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases in adults. We propose to train a group of young neuroscientists to perform basic research that leads to prevention and/or new treatments for these disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
Program Officer
Korn, Stephen J
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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