The NIH institutional training grant, Multidisciplinary Research Training Program in Lung Diseases (NHLBI T32HL007749), has been in existence since July 1, 1993. The initial program was directed by Galen B. Toews, MD, and supported research training for four post-graduate trainees. The program has been continuously funded since its inception and has provided research training for over 100 research scientists. Funding for the program was successfully renewed July 1, 2013, and will continue to support research training for 12 postdoctoral research fellows. While the program has evolved considerably over the past 20+ years, the foundations on which the program was built remain intact.
During the past several years, the scope of our Multidisciplinary Research Training Program in Lung Diseases has been expanded to introduce trainees to new major areas of modern biology, including genetics/genomics, metagenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, stem cell biology, computational biology, and the microbiome. Emerging fields of patient-oriented research have been added or expanded, including health services research and sleep medicine. Our program is truly multidisciplinary, as more than 50 participating faculty trainers are drawn from 6 different divisions and 16 different departments at the University.
Over the last 15 years, approximately two-thirds of our graduates have been appointed to academic positions. Of these individuals, over 80% have received some type of research funding and over 60% have received peer-reviewed, federal funding (NIH, VA, Medical Research Council of Canada), indicating their active and respected role as investigators. Our trainees have been appointed to faculty positions in academic institutions including University of Michigan, Washington University, Northwestern University, Brown University, University of Utah, University of Toronto, University of Iowa, University of Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, University of Calgary, University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Los Angeles, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Texas-Southwestern, and Emory University.
The combination of the formal training program put in place, effective mentorship at all levels, and vigilance in the evaluation process has been instrumental in our success as a post-graduate training program. Of the PhD trainees that have completed the program in the past 10 years, 87% have appointments at academic institutions or the equivalent, or in the biomedical industry. Seven of these trainees have won national research grant awards (one R15, two R01s, one R56, one K22, four Parker B. Francis Awards, two VA Career Development Award, one VA Merit Award, and one Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers). Of the MD trainees who have completed the program in the past 10 years, 89% have faculty appointments at academic institutions, and over 50% have been awarded K series, R series, VA Merit, VA Career Development or major independent foundation Awards. Six of these trainees are the Principal Investigator of at least one R01 or Merit.