Research Training Program


Rationale, Goals, and Specific Aims of Training Program

Traumatic injury constitutes a public health problem having enormous impact on individuals and society. A comprehensive trauma system provides a continuum of care including injury prevention and critical care as well as rehabilitation and return to society. Clearly, an essential component of the trauma care system is basic and clinical science research aimed at understanding the underlying mechanisms responsible for the cellular dysfunction and multiorgan failure observed after injury. Continued discovery and the scholarly application of knowledge are essential to optimize patient care. To achieve this goal, we at the Penn State College of Medicine aim to train the clinician-scientists of the future in molecular techniques to perform mechanistic and translational research on clinically relevant problems related to trauma care.

Although the Program is centered primarily in the Departments of Surgery and Cellular & Molecular Physiology, the Program brings together experienced, federally-funded training faculty from other departments including Pharmacology, Internal Medicine/Nephrology, and Orthopedics who have, as a common theme, research programs which determine mechanisms responsible for altered homeostasis following inflammation and organ injury. The Program is primarily designed to train surgical residents in one of two focus areas:
1) endocrine and metabolic dysfunction,
2) organ injury and tissue repair.

The overall goal of the Training Program is to provide highly qualified and motivated individuals with a comprehensive knowledge base and rigorous laboratory experience that leads to a successful and productive career in independent academic trauma research. The specific aims of the training program are to: (1) provide comprehensive rigorous scientific training with an multidisciplinary approach in one of two major disciplines, namely Endocrine and Metabolic Dysfunction, or Organ Injury and Tissue Repair, allowing trainees to approach investigation of particular areas of traumatic injury from the perspective of its underlying mechanisms; and (2) instruct postdoctoral fellows in all aspects of the investigative process. Overall, this training program is intended to fully equip young clinician-scientists to approach scientific problems related to injury and trauma using techniques based at a variety of levels and to fully prepare these individuals for a career as an independent investigator in academic research.