Programs - Training of the Pediatric Physician-Scientist

Principal Investigator/Program Director: Alan L. Schwartz, Ph.D., M.D.
Research Fellow Support: 4 Postdocs (M.D.'s)

The long-term objective is to utilize this funding to promote the career development of young pediatric physician-scientists who will become the future leaders in the biomedical research efforts dedicated to child health. The specific aims of this proposal are to identify potential trainees at the completion of their residency training, or in the midst of fellowship training, and to provide them with a three year research experience in the laboratory of a qualified mentor, protected from clinical and teaching responsibilities, and with a specific research focus relevant to pediatrics. During the initial funding period, 10 excellent candidates were supported (including seven women and one under-represented minority). Our long-term objective and specific aims remain unchanged; however, we have significantly expanded the scope of our program with the development of two pathways (basic science and clinical/translational science).

We shall achieve our long-term objective by applying the recent advances in genetic and genomic sciences to an understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of a broad spectrum of diseases within the Pediatric arena. In order to accomplish this, we shall combine the established areas of investigative strengths of the Washington University School of Medicine and its Department of Pediatrics. We have now incorporated a new area of emphasis (Pathway B), namely clinical and translational genomic medicine, which includes genetic epidemiology, biostatistics, and patient oriented research. Our program will ultimately close the gap between basic biologists and pediatric clinicians. We have in place a structure in which bright, motivated, young pediatricians shall flourish in a protected environment and will emerge as leaders in an evolving area of Pediatrics. The long-term goals of the program will be realized as its trainees contribute to the development of, and leadership as, pediatric physician-scientists during the next two or more decades.

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