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Laboratory Animal &Comparative Medicine Training

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The need for veterinarians trained as biomedical scientists has been well-documented. We request here funding to support four post-DVM fellows for three years of research training. The optimal situation for research training exists when qualified and motivated trainees work in the laboratories of experienced, productive and well-funded scientist mentors. Such mentors impart the knowledge, work habits, communicative skills and research skills enabling trainees to succeed as independent comparative medicine scientists and as contributors to multidisciplinary research teams. These scientists will be skilled both in the use of animal models and the application of cellular, immunologic, molecular, genomic or translational approaches to address questions of human health significance. Promising trainees identified through a summer fellowship program and multiple other strategies are encouraged to apply to this postdoctoral fellowship program. All trainees will be expected to enroll in the Graduate School of Wake Forest University and pursue a PhD degree. Trainees will usually choose from the Department of Pathology Ph.D. program in Molecular and Cellular Pathobiology or the multidisciplinary PhD program in Molecular Medicine and Translational Science. This latter program was established by Wake Forest University to respond to the increase in demand for MD's and DVM's trained in translational science and, more specifically, to participate in translational science programs supported by the new Clinical and Translational Science Award Program (CTSA). There are 26 members of the training faculty, of which 19 have independent research programs and funding. In addition, 15 have appointments in Comparative Medicine and 11 of these are DVM's. Trainees will choose a Mentor from among a group of well-funded and experienced scientists and educators and be assigned an Associate Mentor with expertise relevant to the trainee's research project. Associate Mentors are faculty members without independent research funding and/or with limited training experience, but with funding as co-investigators. This co-mentoring approach will allow junior faculty to gain training experience in a team setting preparing them to serve as the next generation of mentors. There are five areas of research emphasis: 1) atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, 2) cancer biology, 3) obesity and diabetes, 4) neurobiology and substance abuse and 5) women's health and reproductive medicine. Important new research resources and opportunities include 1) the imminent relocation of a unique multigenerational and pedigreed colony of about 500 vervet monkeys from UCLA to WFUSM, 2) a world-class program in tissue engineering at The Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine and 3) the newly-established Wake Forest University Translational Science Institute (WFU TSI). In addition to required coursework, all trainees will attend weekly research seminars and journal clubs. We believe that veterinarians play a critical role in the development of strategies for preventing and treating human diseases. Therefore, NCRR's funding of high-quality training of veterinarians for this purpose is vital to the continued success of the biomedical research enterprise.

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