Pediatric Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research Training Program
Principal Investigator/Program Director: Robert P. Mecham, Ph.D.
Co-Program Director: Thomas W. Ferkol, M.D.
Research Fellow Support: 4 Postdocs (M.D.'s or Ph.D.'s) and 2 Predocs
This training program is designed to attract and train both predoctoral and postdoctoral investigators in basic investigation of childhood diseases related to cardiovascular and pulmonary biology. The need for a training program in the cellular/molecular basis of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, especially of physician-scientists interested in childhood diseases, is based upon clear evidence of a small, national pool of such individuals as faculty or trainees. Our program is designed to address this need from two important perspectives: 1) to allow pediatric and other clinical fellows, with an interest in basic research, to develop research competence and career training; 2) to attract and train talented basic scientists to study mechanisms related to childhood diseases. In addition to continuing our strong training in developmental/cell biology and the molecular basis of disease, our program takes advantage of institutional strengths in genetics, stem cell biology, genomics, and bioinformatics—all of which are components of the foundation of modern research. We have adopted a training curriculum for four postdoctoral and two predoctoral fellows with an uninterrupted two to three year block of full-time investigation. This is combined with an integrated and multidisciplinary set of didactic seminars, journal clubs, and formal courses that are selected by the trainee in consultation with the mentor/program administrators to provide individualized education in key aspects of cardiopulmonary development and disease. Our objectives are: 1) to provide extensive mentoring to the trainee for career development and for developing independent research plans that focus on pediatric diseases; 2) to promote training in basic cell and molecular biology, genomics, and bioinformatics together with clinical translational research; 3) to guide the trainees’ development so that, after the completion of training, successful competition for independent funding is likely.