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Laboratory Animal & Comparative Medicine Training

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Project Summary The need for veterinarians trained as biomedical scientists is well-documented. We request here continued funding to support four post-DVM fellows per year for three years of research training. Optimal 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 scientists and 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 program. Diversity is sought through a multi-level outreach program. Trainees typically enroll in the Graduate School of Wake Forest University and pursue a PhD degree in one of the 7 biomedical tracks offered at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Trainees will choose a Mentor from among a group of well-funded and experienced scientists and educators and will 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 critical clinical or core laboratory expertise. This co-mentoring approach will allow Associate Mentors to gain training experience in a team setting. There are 19 Mentors with independent research programs and funding, and an additional 6 Associate Mentors. Of the training faculty, 9 are DVMs (including 5 DVM/PhD or DVM/MS researchers), 18 are PhDs, and 4 are MDs (including 3 MD/PhDs). In addition to mentored research and required coursework, all trainees will attend weekly research seminars and journal clubs. Training in the responsible conduct of research is integral and includes mentoring, didactic sessions, and group discussion. Structured evaluations of both the trainees and the program are conducted annually. There are 6 areas of research emphasis, based on interest in training and networks of collaboration among productive, funded investigative groups: 1) cardiovascular disease/diabetes, 2) cancer biology, 3) women's health and reproductive medicine 4) microbiology and immunology, and 5) radiation injury, and 6) regenerative medicine. Unique features of the research environment include access to national primate resources; a world-class program in tissue engineering at The Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine; the Wake Forest Translational Science Institute; and our long- standing collaborative veterinary training programs in Indonesia. In the past 15 years, 14 fellows have completed research training through this program, and 12 remain in academic, industry or government biomedical research. Nine sought and were awarded PhDs. Three fellows will defend in 2018. Seventy-six scientific publications have resulted from T32-supported projects in the past 10 years.
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