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Transformative Discovery

This research training program is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and based in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.  It is open to MDs and PhDs who are interested in enhancing their skills in conducting translational neuroscience research, with the intent of transitioning to an independent academic research career.  The core philosophy of the Training for Transformative Discovery in Psychiatry Program is that translational neuroscience investigation is a skill in its own right. This skill consists of the ability to critically evaluate hypotheses and conduct experiments with knowledge of the clinical Robert Sweet, MDexpression of disease, the associated cellular and molecular pathology, the expected pathophysiological mechanisms leading to the phenotype, and the possibilities and limitations of experimental models. Our training program components have been developed to ensure trainees achieve this goal.  The program provides core training activities focused in both research skills and professional development. Training in Translational Models and Investigative Strategies emphasizes learning through mentored research activities. The Department has assembled an outstanding group of mentors in our training faculty. The efforts of our faculty are augmented by a weekly translational neuroscience research seminar presenting by leading local, national, and international investigators, and the biweekly translational models practicum- a critical dissection of approaches to translational neuroscience inquiry lead by the program directors. Training in Professional and Research Career Skills has as its core our highly successful Professional Survival Skills seminar, a substantial proportion of which is focused specifically on developing grant writing skills. Other training focuses on developing and managing interdisciplinary collaborations, setting professional priorities, and the responsible conduct of research. Outside of these two core training domains, individualized training components are designed to ensure that trainees have established “fluency” in both basic and clinical neuroscience concepts, without which the goal of effective translation cannot be achieved. For example, a series of clinical exposure activities are available to individuals with basic neuroscience training.

Robert Sweet, MD

Contact: Robert Sweet, MD
Telephone: (412) 383-8548
Web Site: http://www.wpic.pitt.edu/research/sweetlab/TTDP.htm