The scientific training will take place primarily in individual laboratories, where trainees will be taught to conduct responsible, rigorous research. Emphasis will be placed on (1) designing the best experiments (well-controlled with a single variation in each experiment) to address the most important scientific questions at hand, (2) carrying out experiments with scientific rigor (e.g. experimenters blind to the mouse genotype or expected outcomes), (3) using multidisciplinary, systematic approaches to address each of the key scientific questions, (4) responsible, careful data interpretation without assuming anything that is not supported by multiple lines of independent experimental evidence. Each of the PIs in our Udall Center has a strong track record of accomplishments in these areas, and many of our former trainees have moved on to establish successful, independent careers. The trainees will participate in our weekly lab meetings where they will improve their presentation skills and receive feedbacks from the PI and other lab members. The trainees will also meet with the PI individually each week to discuss research progress and any technical and conceptual issues that may arise. Each of our laboratories conducts multidisciplinary research and is large enough that the trainees will learn new techniques from other lab members and discuss their experimental data with their colleagues on a daily basis. We will also provide training on manuscript preparation, from responsible selection of data for figures, clear and concise description of the results and discussion of the findings in a larger scientific context. The trainees will also participate in each PI’s grant writing to gain first hand experience on preparation of grant applications, and the PI will also assist trainees’ fellowship and small grant applications by providing guidance and critiques.
Our Udall Center investigators will participate in multiple outreach activities. In addition to the planned annual symposium, our Udall PIs and trainees will participate in the annual PAN Forum in Washington DC, the annual NPF “Moving Day” activities, the BIDMC “Ask the Expert” series of educational seminars for PD patients and caregivers, and the annual Edward I. Rudman Parkinson’s Disease Patient and Caregiver Symposium.
Our Udall Center will also organize a number of training activities during our annual retreats in Boston, when our Udall trainees from all three laboratories will gather together and receive a number of planned training activities, including attending our annual symposium and presenting their posters outside of the auditorium. Our Udall trainees will also participate in two didactic sessions on clinical concepts (diagnosis and treatment, gross and microscopic pathology of PD and α-synucleinopathies) and translational topics (compound screening and medicinal chemistry, biomarker development, testing in animal models, and clinical trial development), followed by an interactive career development forum organized by Chairs of Neurology and Neuropathology Departments.