This application is a resubmission for a T35 summer medical student training program in vision research with two Specific Aims: 1) To provide hands-on training in basic and clinical vision research to medical students in a structured mentored environment and 2) To provide an interactive, educational experience that introduces medical students the fundamental skills necessary for basic, translational, and clinical research in vision biology. The co-directors of this program request support for 6 second-year medical students each summer in vision related research laboratories that focus on topics such as visual circuitry, retinal degeneration, corneal epithelial homeostasis, uveitis, and development of the visual system. Trainees will be selected from the first year class at University of Louisville School of Medicine. Students will review research projects submitted by 19 faculty funded by the NEI or vision related foundations. The directors will make a special effort to recruit students from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds. Students will review the available projects and enter their 1st-3rd choices, allowing matching of trainees with mentors. Final decisions will be made based on interviews between mentors and Trainees. During the 10-week summer training, students work with mentors on their research project in clinical or laboratory settings, complete training in the Responsible Conduct of Research including topics such as fabrication and falsification of data, plagiarism, managing scientific data, publication practices and responsible authorship, mentorship, stewardship, and conflict of interest. Trainees will complete human subject, IRB training, and animal care and handling as required by their specific research projects. All Trainees will attend a 2-hour weekly ?Vision Sciences Research Training Seminar? designed to introduce clinical/translational research in Ophthalmology led by mentors in this T35 program. The seminar series will culminate with each Trainee presenting his/her research project to peers and mentors. Trainees present the results of their research as posters with peers at a School of Medicine-wide, week-long celebration of research that includes nationally recognized physician- scientists as keynote speakers. Trainees will be encouraged to continue research as part of the Distinction in Research track that is an enrichment program focusing on providing meaningful and productive research experiences throughout second through fourth years of medical school, with ongoing presentations by students with mentors and 4+ weeks of research time in the fourth year toward the goal of developing clinician-researchers. Trainees will be tracked to assess the impact of this T35 program on careers as physician-scientists.
Program Narrative: This new NEI Short-Term Institutional Training Grant application is to request 5 years of support for 6 rising second year Medical Student trainees in our Vision Science laboratories for a 10 week research experience. We will focus on recruitment of under-represented trainees into this program to enhance the diversity of our medical workforce. The T35 training grant will be used to entice our medical students into our new Distinction in Research Track, a program that encourages students to participate in laboratory research in years 2-4 of medical school with an eye toward scholarly activities in academic medicine to continue to build a pipeline of translational clinician-researchers in the future.