Program Components

Each potential fellow in Pathobiology and Translational Neuroscience (PTN) will have a different background and goals. Therefore, a highly engaged steering committee is critical for screening applicants and for personalizing a training program that meets the goals of the trainee and program.

The members of the Steering Committee for the Pathobiology and Translational Neuroscience program were selected to reflect the breadth and depth of the training program as well as senior faculty who have a deep commitment to interdisciplinary training. The Steering Committee will have overall responsibility for the proposed training program. The Steering Committee will review and approve the new applications from faculty to participate in the program, as well as actively recruits new trainers. The Steering Committee will also review all faculty trainers every two years for their contributions to the program. The Steering Committee carries out long term planning, insures the completion, of the annual reports, and serves as the liaison with University administrators. The Steering Committee is also responsible for the programs handbook and program evaluation.

The background and career objectives of each trainee are weighed by the steering committee before suggesting the program of special emphasis.

  • Curriculum
    • Neurobiology and Disease/Neurodegeneration and Repair: A seminar course devoted to basic clinical and pathological features and pathogenic mechanisms of the spectrum of neurological diseases. The first quarter (Neurobiology of Disease I, NURB 24246/CPNS 34600) is devoted to a broad set of disorders ranging from developmental to acquired disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system. The second quarter (Neurobiology of Disease II/ Neurodegeneration and Repair, NURB 24247/CPNS 34700) is devoted to neurodegenerative disease and strategies for neuroprotection and repair of deficits. Twice-weekly seminars will be given by experts in the clinical and scientific aspects of the disease under discussion. For each lecture, students will first be given a brief description of clinical and pathological features of a given set of neurological diseases followed by a more detailed description of the current status of knowledge of several of the prototypic pathogenic mechanisms. The course will emphasize new information and common themes related to neurological disease and repair. The course also includes a lab practical, consisting of a series of field trip visits to several institutions and centers of clinical research (Table M). Students are asked to prepare their own presentations and will be graded on their presentations and a final exam.
    • The Essentials of Patient-Oriented Research (EPOR): A series of integrated weekly lectures exploring specific topics of patient-oriented research held during the academic year. PTN Fellows are required to take one of the three quarters to complete the requirements. Lectures focus on methods for planning, funding, conducting, and reporting clinical research. The Autumn quarter series consists of a series of standardized lectures on Human Subject Protection and Responsible Conduct of Research. The lectures within the section on Responsible Conduct of Research are identical to the required courses for all trainees in the BSD, and satisfy this requirement for training in Responsible Conduct of Research. The winter quarter series provides a set of lectures on Fundamentals of study design. The Spring quarter series consists of a set of lectures on Genetic methods and study designs for clinical research.
    • IRB Tutoral: The transition from bench to bedside in translational research presents one of the major obstacles to fully realized research plans. Successful maneuvering through regulatory requirements is often hampered because trainees lack a full understanding of the processes involved. Institutional review boards (IRBs) represent a critical link, assuring adherence to federal regulations, state laws, and institutional policies during the development and administration of clinical trials. To further enrich the training experience of the PTN program. Dr. M. Kelly Nicholas has re-modeled an existing IRB tutorial to fit the needs of the PTN fellows in a new component of the PTN training program. Trainees in this program will be mentored individually, taking a protocol through the IRB review process from initial submission to full approval. This will be accomplished under the direction of M. Kelly Nicholas, IRB Vice-Chair. The tutorial is intended to complement the required course, Essentials of Patient-Oriented Research, where general biostatistics, clinical epidemiology, and responsible conduct of research and human subject protection are reviewed.
    • The mentored IRB membership experience is intended to expose trainees, in a hands-on fashion, to the process. Each trainee will receive relevant historical background information to review. This material is intended to explain the historical context from which the current regulations emerged. Following this review, each trainee will attend an IRB meeting to observe, first-hand, its structure and function. Then, they will personally review a research application, acting as a surrogate; IRB member, taking a proposal through the entire review and approval process. (The IRB mentor, an official committee member, will be the responsible arbiter of the officially approved proposal.)
  • Courses
  • Seminars
    • Monthly seminars delivered by outside speakers to an audience trainees in neurology, neuroscience, psychiatry and neurosurgery faculty and trainees, co-sponsored by the PTN program together with one of the other graduate training programs.
    • Download the Program of Translational Neuroscience Seminars
  • Symposium
    • The first Chicago Symposium on Translational Neuroscience will be held on Friday, May 23, 2008 at The University of Chicago‚Äôs Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago.
    • The primary goal of this meeting is to bring together, into a common scientific forum, researchers working on the broad range of topics considered Translational Neuroscience, from the search for insights into disease pathogenesis to the latest molecular and bioengineering technologies targeted at disease. At the same time the intent of this meeting is to present to the students and trainees of this field the spectrum of disciplines whose forces can be brought to bear against neurological disease.
  • Clinical Shadowing
    • Some trainees, particularly PhD candidates may be provided a clinical co-mentor, who will serve on the thesis committee as well as meet monthly with the trainee.