The goal of this postdoctoral training program is to train young scientists and promote careers focused on understanding and developing treatments for developmental brain disorders. Multidisciplinary training is planned in scientific disciplines relevant to the study of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Training program mentors include research scientists selected from multiple departments at Baylor College of Medicine. The program mentors include three M.D.s, seven M.D./Ph.D.s and 13 Ph.D.s. Among these there are eleven professors, six associate professors and six assistant professors. There are currently 95 postdoctoral students training in laboratories of the program mentors, comprised of 7 M.D./Ph.D.s, 11 M.D.s and 77 Ph.D.s.
Dr. John Swann is the training program director and is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the program. Drs. Huda Zoghbi and Jeff Noebels are program co-directors.
Major areas of training include the genetic and molecular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders, including, but not limited to: Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and autism. Another concentrated area of training is in epilepsy where the molecular basis of the inherited as well as the acquired epilepsies is studied.
All labs employ cutting-edge biotechnology to create and study relevant animal models of disease in order not only to understand the biological basis for these disorders but to screen potential new therapies that could lead to clinical trials and eventually enter clinical practice. Over the first ten years of funding twenty-four post-doctoral students entered the training program, many of whom are now faculty members at major universities.
Three program tracks are offered for trainees. One is for M.D./Ph.D.s and M.D.s with substantial research experience. Another is for less experienced M.D.s for whom training is more formal and includes laboratory rotations and graduate courses. Ph.D.s receive substantial training in clinical aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders through dinner discussions, clinical conferences and subspecialty clinics.
Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital have committed substantial resources to the study of the neurobiology of disease. This includes the recent creation of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, which is rapidly becoming a major center of postdoctoral training for young scientists. By training outstanding research scientists we feel new understandings and treatments for the devastating developmental disorders in infants and young children will emerge.
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