Training the next generation of clinical neuroscientists

Project Details


The last decade has witnessed a surge in new research findings in neuroscience. So far, however, that impressive progress has not translated into more effective treatments, or better outcomes, for patients with serious mental illness. Although this may just be a matter of time, another contributing factor is the lack of physician scientists in the field of clinical neuroscience. Physician scientists are uniquely capable of linking basic science findings to the clinical phenomenology of psychiatric illness. Indeed, scientists like these - with both clinical and research training - are uniquely poised to bridge the gap between basic neurobiology and clinical disease. This combination is critical for advancing our understanding of the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders - and for developing the highly needed disease-modifying treatments for psychiatric illnesses. One of the explanations for the lack of clinician-scientists is the difficulty in obtaining grant funding right after residency. This proposal aims to fill that gap. In a two-three year fellowship we will provide intense research training for a select group of psychiatrists (or PhD psychologists). Upon completion, trainees should be able to apply successfully for individual grants and develop into independent clinical neuroscientists. We aim to create clinician-researchers who can combine clinical knowledge with superior research skills. The long-term goal is to help shape the new generation of leaders in clinical neuroscience. Drs. Kahn, Malaspina and New are each renowned physician scientists who combine clinical expertise with deep research and training experience. This program will fill an important gap in the otherwise impressive translational research program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), recognized as a top ten innovative research engine worldwide by Nature. Indeed, the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry are ranked #1 and #6 respectively in NIH funding. We already have extensive experience, and a successful track record, in supporting other research career pathways, including a Physician-Scientist residency research track for MD, PhD trainees, and the first Combined Psychiatry Residency and PhD Training program in the US, funded by an NIMH R25 grant, of which Dr. New is PI. We also have 6 K awardees and 2 K99/R00 investigators in our rich training programs. The proposed T32 fellowship program is designed to train psychiatrists and clinical PhDs to formulate original research questions on etiology, pathogenesis, course, treatment and prevention of serious mental illness. Its focus is on patients with schizophrenia and major mood disorders. Each trainee, paired with a mentor, will formulate a career development plan with targeted goals for acquisition of skills, presentations, publications, gathering pilot data, and preparation of proposals for external funding - usually a career development award. Regular meetings, internally and with an external advisory board, will monitor trainee development in relevant milestones. We aim to help fill the dearth in clinical neuroscientists so that the recent advances in neuroscience can be translated into better care for the millions of patients with serious mental illness.
Effective start/end date1/07/2030/06/23




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