In response to PAR-15-101 Institutional Training for a Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research Workforce, a T90/R90 Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology is proposed. Building on twenty-four years of experience with a highly productive T32 and T90/R90 Training Program at the University of Florida College of Dentistry (UFCD), the proposed program will provide extensive breadth and depth in training for basic and clinician scientists in multiple areas that are designated as high priority by the NIDCR. The scientific areas encompassed in this Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology include, but are not entirely limited to, Oral Infectious Diseases, Mechanistic Connections between Oral and Systemic Health, Autoimmunity, Bone Biology, Head and Neck Cancers, Salivary Gland Biology, and Neuroscience/Pain. To accomplish our goals, a team of experienced and well- supported basic and clinical researchers has been assembled to serve as mentors to provide an extensive set of training experiences in the biomedical sciences that are directly relevant to oral health and diseases. Established interdisciplinary research training programs in the UFCD and the UF College of Medicine will be utilized, with particular emphasis on the UF Health Sciences Center Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences and the recently renewed UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Trainees will include i) traditional PhD students conducting oral health-related research, ii) dual-degree candidates in our DMD-PhD program, iii) degree-seeking DMD/DDS holders, iv) traditional post-doctoral PhD scientists, and v) DMD-DDS holders seeking advanced post-doctoral training to prepare them for careers in academic dentistry. Formal training in Clinical Investigation will be available to all trainees through the CTSI. Our extensive educational, scientific, and clinical resources have allowed us to develop highly integrated, yet sufficiently flexible, training options to meet the needs of a diverse group of talented trainees. Collectively, these programs will produce a cadre of highly skilled and interactive scientists who can engage in team science to generate new knowledge and translate discoveries to tangible advances in the detection, prevention, treatment and cures of diseases and abnormalities of the oral and craniofacial complex.
There is a critical need for basic and clinical research on oral health and its relationship to overall health. If effective preventive therapies and cures for the many diseases associated with the oral and craniofacial complex are to be discovered and applied, a cadre of oral health researchers must be trained to conduct, and to maintain the highest standards for ethical and responsible implementation of, rigorous interdisciplinary scientific research. The main objective of this comprehensive training program is to produce a diverse group of oral health researchers who can work with teams of scientists to generate novel basic and clinical knowledge, translate that information to applied therapies, and rigorously evaluate the outcomes of implementation of new preventive or treatment strategies to improve human health.
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