This is a proposal for the continuation of the Institutional Training Program in Skeletal, Craniofacial and Oral Biology at the UConn Health, School of Dental Medicine as a T90/R90 program. It is intended to help meet the substantial need for independent scientists trained in research related to improving oral, dental and craniofacial health in the United States. The program has and will continue to train scholars (DMD and non-DMD) who are competent as clinicians and independent scientists, who are able to initiate and maintain funded research programs, who understand multidisciplinary research and who are prepared for the evolution of their research into new directions. Areas of research training include Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Cell and Cancer Biology, Computational Biology, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Craniofacial and Skeletal Biology, Gene Regulation, Immunology, Microbiome/Microbiology, Oral Biology, Stem Cell Biology, and clinical and translational research. The major tracks of the training program are the (i) DMD/PhD (7-8 yrs of training with 3- 5 yrs of support from this training grant; 4 present trainees, 1-4 (depending on success of F30s) additional trainees requested over five yrs), (ii) PhD (4-5 yrs of training with 3 yrs of support; 3 present trainees, 6 additional trainees requested), (iii) postdoctoral research (3 yrs training and support; 3 present trainees, 5 additional trainees requested) and (iv) non-citizen PhD trainees (with DDS degrees) (3-5 yrs of training with 3 yrs of support; 1 present trainees 2 additional trainees requested). We will be training individuals with a broad range of backgrounds, from those with BS/BA degrees to those who have completed PhD and/or dental residency training. To provide a solid, common foundation for our scholars/trainees, we have developed Core Activities required of all trainees in all training tracks. We are introducing several new program features to (i) insure training milestones are achieved, (ii) facilitate preparation of F and K awards by trainees, (iii) better integrate clinical and research training for our DMD/PhDs to enhance transition into an academic career, and (iv) career development plans for teaching and laboratory management. UConn Health has a dynamic group of faculty in various areas of research with highly successful collaborations among faculty throughout the Schools of Dental Medicine and Medicine and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. The Biomedical Science PhD program graduate faculty, active and new institutional research centers and clinical programs provide contemporary laboratory, translational and patient oriented research opportunities that enable a diversified training environment for the program tracks, allow flexibility for the individual needs of trainees, and ensure successful progress through the tracks. The institution has vigorous trainee recruitment programs. Several are directed towards under-represented minority candidates. We will continue to provide training that is tailored to each candidate through symposia, seminars, courses, clinical research centers and collaborative research activities which are integrated both within individual tracks and amongst all the tracks of the program.
The goal of this training program is to prepare individuals of outstanding potential for independent research careers in dental, oral and craniofacial research. Training of these individuals is critical to the health and quality of life of the American public.
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