Training in Clinical and Basic Neuroscience

Overview

This mentored research training program in basic and clinical neuroscience has been funded continuously by the NIH/NINDS since 1982 and has served more than 125 trainees, who continued accelerating careers. The continued success of this research program is founded on providing comprehensive research training and mentoring to both PhDs and MDs interested in uncovering and/or targeting molecular mechanisms associated with diseases that affect the nervous system.  Trainees take advantage of a supportive and encouraging environment composed of more than 45 faculty members, most of whom are both basic or clinician scientists and clinical neurologists that serve as mentors, and state-of-the-art research facilities housed in 35,000 square feet of laboratory space. 

Training

The training program is tailored to promote career development for both PhDs and MDs.  Although PhDs and MDs are trained together, the training program has two tracks, bench scientists (PhDs) and clinical scientists (MDs), supplemented by interdisciplinary and collaborative project meetings, seminars and appropriate course work including research responsibility and ethics.  All trainees in clinical scientist track are required to complete a Master’s Degree, either the School of Public Health’s Masters Program in Clinical Research or a unique Health Services Research Master’s Program. This training program is embedded within the rich research environment of the University of Michigan which includes a highly collegial and interdisciplinary neuroscience research community, excellent core resources for biomedical research, and strong resources for clinical and health services research. The latter include a very strong School of Public Health, a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, and the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), the largest academic health services research program in the USA. Individual mentors are responsible for guiding their trainees in generating research proposals, supervising trainees’ work, and evaluating trainees’ performance with additional mentoring provided by discipline specific committees for each trainee and general oversight by the Executive Committee. 

The main research focus areas are neurodegeneration, neuromuscular diseases, neuroinflammatory disorders, stroke, systems neuroscience, and health services research. In addition, the trainees are exposed to the most advanced research techniques in different areas, ranging from genomics and proteomics to computational medicine and bioinformatics.  Trainees are biomedical scientists who seek training in disease-oriented neuroscience and clinicians (neurologists, neurosurgeons, pediatricians, or other physicians) who have completed clinical training and select a laboratory-based or clinical research career. Interested candidates with research experience in genetics, proteomics, molecular biology, biochemistry and clinical research applied to other research focus areas will also excel within the available research programs.

Individual Research Training

Each trainee will work closely with a faculty mentor in his or her laboratory or clinical research program on a specific project or projects. The trainee will be expected to progress towards independence during the training period. Each trainee will have a 3 person mentorship committee which will monitor the progress of the trainee and provide additional insights. Trainees are expected to present their work in national forums and publish their work in peer reviewed journals. Each trainee will submit a grant application during the first year of training.

Courses

All trainees are required to complete Research Responsibility and Ethics (PIBS 503). This course fulfills the NIH requirement for responsible conduct of research training and includes 8 hours of small group sessions. Laboratory based trainees (PhDs) are also required to take the course Introduction to Scientific Communications (Pharm 502) which includes training on grant writing. Trainees in clinical scientist track are required to complete a Master’s Degree, either the School of Public Health’s Masters Program in Clinical Research or a unique Health Services Research Master’s Program. These provide comprehensive formal training in clinical or health services research methods by University of Michigan.

Seminars

All trainees attend a weekly Translational Neurology Seminar. This seminar series supplements the many conferences available to the trainees within the Department of Neurology and other programs, such as Grand Rounds and a Live Patient Conference. Trainees also attend laboratory meetings within their mentor’s research area.  They are also required to present their research at one of the Neurology Research Seminars.

Fellow Research Days

Trainees present their work at Neuroscience Day and the annual Neurobiology of Disease Symposium.

Financial Support

Trainees are given stipends based on their post-doctoral level in accordance with NIH standards. Funding to support research-related expenses is also available.

Travel Expenses

Trainees are expected to present their work at national meetings. Travel stipends are provided by the program.

Tuition

The training program provides support for related coursework including a master’s program in clinical research.

Application

Eligibility

Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents, and must hold an MD and/or PhD.   Postdoctoral trainees are either 1) neurologists or physicians in related fields who have completed clinical training and select a basic or clinical research career, 2) biomedical scientists who seek training in basic neuroscience research, or 3) other clinical researchers with PhD training who desire additional mentored research experience related to clinical neuroscience. One or two years of training are anticipated with the second year contingent on trainee progression and submission of an external grant application. Stipends are commensurate with prior postdoctoral experience and NRSA regulations.

Selection and Recruitment

Trainees are selected competitively by the program’s Executive Committee. Trainee recruitment includes a strong diversity outreach program with a “bridging” program connecting this training program to NINDS sponsored programs aimed at increasing diversity in Neuroscience graduate student education and a particularly strong connection to the University of Puerto Rico.  

The program is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community.

Interested applicants should send their CV, research statement (description of interest area, mentor identified, and title of planned research), and three letters of recommendation to:
 
Denice Heckel, on behalf of
Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D.
Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology
Director, A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute
University of Michigan
109 Zina Pitcher Place
5017 BSRB
Ann Arbor, MI  48109-2200

Tel: 734-763-7274 / Fax: 734-763-7275

dmjanus@med.umich.edu

Program Director