Predoctoral Training in Exercise Physiology and Aging
The University of Maryland College Park Department of Kinesiology exercise biology and aging program has a history of producing well-trained PhDs who complete postdoctoral training and become productive faculty members. We have supported 18 trainees over the first 9 yrs of this program with 12 completing their PhD degrees, 5 still in training, and 1 pursuing an MD/PhD degree in a different discipline (neuroscience). Eleven of the 12 who graduated (92%) have gone on to NIH postdoctoral research fellowships. Seven of these 12 graduates are now in tenure-track academic positions, 1 is in industry, 1 is part-time faculty, and 3 are still in postdoctoral positions. Furthermore, we have graduated 3 African-American women who have gone on to NIH postdoctoral research fellowships at UT-Southwestern, Wake Forest, and Temple.
This program provides trainees with the skills necessary for them to complete high-quality dissertation research projects addressing:
- 1) Age-related changes in body composition, metabolic, CV, and musculoskeletal function, and CV disease risk factors
- 2) Exercise training-induced changes in these same parameters
- 3) The genetic architecture underlying the baseline measures of these parameters, their changes with aging, and their changes with exercise training interventions
- 4) The mechanisms responsible for these responses in animal and cell culture models using cell and molecular biology methodologies
A substantial enhancement of this renewal Training Program is this translational component, whereby trainees can extend their studies from human physiological studies to investigations in animal models and cell culture to delineate the underlying cell and molecular mechanisms. Trainees' research can be conducted with Primary, Secondary, and Associate Mentors at closely collaborating laboratories at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Division of Gerontology, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Department of Physiology, and School of Nursing and Childrens National Medical Center Research Center for Genetic Medicine. Trainees complete coursework in the basic biology of aging; specific knowledge in exercise, CV, musculoskeletal, metabolic, cell, and molecular biology and physiology; genetics; and biostatistics and research design.
We propose to continue this program to fund each of 6 predoctoral trainees for 4 yrs to complete their PhD degrees with high-quality coursework and a dissertation research project that will prepare them for an NIH postdoctoral research fellowship and an eventual academic faculty position with a research program focusing on exercise biology and aging.
This program will support 6 trainees/yr who will complete their PhD degrees with high quality research projects. The long-term goal is to prepare trainees to pursue high-level NIH postdoctoral research fellowships and, eventually, academic faculty positions that focus on research and teaching in the prevention of such major age-associated issues as sarcopenia, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and CV disease