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Institutional Training Programs

Drugs of Abuse and Related Neuropeptides Training Program 

Program Director: Ellen Unterwald, PhD 

This National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-supported training program prepares predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows for successful independent careers in the broad field of substance abuse research. This program has been the cornerstone of interdisciplinary basic science training in addiction, drugs of abuse, and pain at Temple University since 1988. The Drugs of Abuse Training Program is administered through the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CSAR) at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine and supports six pre-doctoral students and four post-doctoral fellows. CSAR brings together faculty from multiple disciplines who share a common interest in researching topics related to the neurobiology of addiction, pharmacology of drugs of abuse, pain processes and novel analgesics, and the intersection of drugs of abuse with immune function including HIV/AIDS.  Some of the current research emphasis is on investigating the effects of opioids, cannabinoids, stimulants, nicotine and alcohol on behavior and on the brain and immune systems using pre-clinical models. The Drugs of Abuse Training Program is supported by a cadre of dedicated faculty mentors who are devoted to the education and training of the next generation of scientists. The program provides rigorous training in scientific methods, experiment design, data analysis, and research ethics. It includes didactic instruction through a set of core courses and seminars focusing on the pharmacology of drugs of abuse, neurobiology of addiction, and neuroimmunology. Excellence in scientific communication is achieved through coursework and practical opportunities for written and oral presentations. Participation in seminars, meetings with visiting scientists, journal club, scientific retreats, annual self-assessments and faculty evaluations of progress results in trainees who are exceedingly well-prepared for the next step in their scientific careers. Trainees complete the program with excellent credentials and go on to successful careers in academia, industry, government and other science-related employment, thus fulfilling the NIH directive to improve human health.   


Integrative Cardiovascular Pathophysiology Training Program 

Program Directors: Steven Houser, PhD and Walter Koch, PhD 

This National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-supported training program prepares predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows for successful independent careers in the area of integrative cardiovascular pathophysiology. This interdisciplinary training program involves the Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC), directed by Dr. Steven Houser, along with Cardiovascular Researchers within several other units at LKSOM. Many researchers are housed in our Center for Translational Medicine (CTM) directed by Dr. Walter J. Koch, the Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center (SSTRC) directed by Dr. Satya Kunapuli,) and the Center for Metabolic Disease Research (CMDR) directed by Dr. Hong Wang. Collaborative NIH-funded cardiovascular research is going on within and between all of these research centers. There are also collaborative research projects with other Temple University Colleges, including the College of Engineering (Bioengineering).  This collaborative interdisciplinary research environment provides six pre-doctoral students and two post-doctoral fellows each year a strong understanding of both the normal and diseased cardiovascular system and the ability to investigate important questions in cardiovascular pathophysiology with significant clinical impact. 


Interdisciplinary and Translational NeuroHIV Research Training Program 

Program Directors: Tricia Burdo, PhD

This National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-supported training program is a joint program between the Center for Neurovirology and Gene Editing at Lewis Katz School of Medicine and Drexel University College of Medicine that integrates training activities and resources related to neurovirology and HIV disease. This training program supports eight pre-doctoral trainees at any one time, with four at Temple and four at Drexel. With a broad range of neuroHIV-related activities, it provides a rich environment for neuroHIV training for predoctoral PhD and MD/PhD students. The training program focuses on high impact and high priority areas of research including: neuroinflammation, CNS structure and function, CNS dysfunction and HIV persistence in the CNS, CNS therapeutics and HIV CNS curative strategies and comorbidities. The major goal of this joint program is to train predoctoral scientists who have strong biomedical foundations and are capable, in the future, of making major contributions in “bench-to- bedside” research in NeuroHIV and co-morbidities. This program provides basic and translational research training in NeuroHIV and related disciplines at the predoctoral level for PhD and MD/PhD students in order to provide for the next group of investigators capable of addressing important and emerging issues related to the neurologic complications of the nervous system that result from HIV infection, co-morbidities, or toxic antiretroviral regimens and to design novel therapeutics and develop innovative strategies for HIV cure. Here, interdisciplinary curricula are provided as well as training experiences in our research laboratories, research seminar programs, grand rounds, workshops, symposia as well as integrated citywide neuroHIV-related activities. 


Molecular Biology and Genetics with Concentration in Signaling, Epigenetics and Genome Maintenance Training Program 

Program Directors: Xavier Graña, PhD and Jonathan Soboloff, PhD 

This National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)-supported training program provides training for six pre-doctoral students each year within the Cancer Biology and Genetics (CBGN) and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCBS) clusters. This program is administered by the Fels Cancer Institute for Personalized Medicine and includes mentors from multiple LKSOM Centers and FCCC. Selected trainees have a broad interest in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry and the genetic basis of disease and are seeking interdisciplinary approaches in a collaborative environment. The program’s mentors are selected to bring strength in multidisciplinary programs in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics and epigenetics, using state of the art approaches. This program provides a broader understanding of disease mechanisms and provides trainees with an in-depth understanding of the clinical challenges associated with their research interest area. Our goal is for our trainees to develop skills in critical thinking and experimental rigor, managerial, teaching and training skills, communication proficiency and a capacity for professional networking.  Upon graduating, we are confident that this unique interdisciplinary training experience will make our students highly competitive for post-doctoral training in academia and industry, as well as research related jobs in science college education, research administration, science policy and advocacy, technology transfer, science and medical writing and scientific editing, business and financial analysis, science consulting, big bioscience data managing and a broader array of future biomedical research jobs.