The overarching goal of the mixed predoctoral and postdoctoral T32HD071866 training program is to develop
burgeoning scientists into future leaders in translational rehabilitation research – scientists who are equipped to
test and disseminate novel rehabilitative strategies that will alleviate impairment and compromised life quality
in the face of chronic disease management. To meet this goal, we will build on achievements during the first
funding cycle, as the program grew in number of trainees and established a reputation that attracts high caliber
applicants nationwide. The now proven program leverages an exceptionally rich institutional environment that
offers myriad resources, and a collaborative team that has grown to 50 productive mentors in three categories
(Core, Content, Mentors-in-Training); all of whom are deeply committed to training and career development.
Trainees benefit from two years of interdisciplinary training that carefully meld three core levels of scientific
inquiry: (i) molecular pathobiology; (ii) rehabilitation science/physiology; and (iii) rehabilitation medicine (i.e.
clinical trials). Consequent to recent successes in faculty recruitment – seeding more interdisciplinary teams –
translational rehabilitation research training in the renewal period will expand to four areas of concentrated
strength: (i) Musculoskeletal Disorders; (ii) Neurologic Diseases; (iii) Cardiometabolic Diseases; or (iv) Cancer.
Predoctoral trainees are selected from a highly competitive and diverse national pool admitted to a UAB
graduate program (e.g., Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Rehabilitation Science). Nationally recruited
postdoctoral trainees leverage institutionally funded training/career development programs tailored to meet
diverse postdoctoral training goals. Each trainee's primary mentor and Translational Mentoring Team are
drawn from expert program faculty in the Schools of Medicine (cell/integrative biology; physical medicine &
rehabilitation; neurology; pathology; medicine; surgery; oncology; pediatrics; biomedical engineering), Health
Professions (rehabilitation & nutrition sciences), Public Health (biostatistics; epidemiology), and Arts &
Sciences (psychology). Together the trainee, mentor, and Translational Mentoring Team craft an individual
development plan, approved and monitored semi-annually by the Executive Committee. The plan includes
coursework, laboratory and clinical research, professional development programs, workshops, presentations
locally and at national meetings, and training in the responsible conduct of research. Learning to conduct and
publish high-impact research is a primary focus. The program will continue mentoring 4 predoctoral and 4
postdoctoral trainees each year, and will leverage expanded resources to maximize recruitment and training of
underrepresented minorities and individuals with disabilities. As a top 25 NIH-funded academic medical center
with over 80 state-of-the-art scientific core facilities and 24 University-wide, interdisciplinary research centers,
the University of Alabama at Birmingham is remarkably well-positioned to cultivate truly translational scientists
equipped to drive the field of rehabilitation medicine with cutting edge research.