Established in 1998, the Hospital's Training Program in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities trains MD, PhD or MD/PhD postdoctoral fellows each year in research on genetic and acquired disorders that cause mental retardation or developmental disability.
Each trainer under the grant is a faculty scientist with a record of commitment to the training of young researchers. Michael B. Robinson, PhD, serves as the Principal Investigator/Program Director (PI/PD) of this grant, which funds a rich educational program that includes frequent lectures, formal courses, a clinical practicum, monthly conferences and an annual convocation of the group.
The interdisciplinary program draws faculty from the Department of Pediatrics, multiple departments in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine. The focus of the program is mental retardation caused by chromosomal defects, inborn errors of metabolism (aminoacidurias, urea cycle defects, etc.) or hypoxia and trauma (peri-natal insult, traumatic brain injury, etc.).
An executive committee selects trainees from the postdoctoral fellows who apply for the program. We particularly encourage applications from members of minority groups that are underrepresented in science. In order to ensure that the selected trainees fully take advantage of the rich opportunities that the program offers, trainees are carefully supervised and their progress is monitored with a series of obligatory oral presentations and regular written reports from both trainees and supervising trainers. Graduates of the program are expected to assume academic positions at major medical schools and to become future leaders in research involving mental retardation.
The training program is intended to facilitate the development of research skills. Therefore, the program will include:
If the proposed mentor is not currently a member of the training grant, they will need to provide their NIH biosketch, including other support. Please note that mentors must have suitable independent funding (at least PI of an NIH R01 or R01 equivalent) and evidence that this funding will last through the duration of the training period. This is done to ensure that trainees will have access to adequate support during their training period. The mentor should also have a history of having successfully trained other individuals; mentors not on the list need to provide a copy of their training record using the standard NIH format for training grants (please contact Kristen Hearty at email@example.com for information). It is understood that some faculty may not have extensive training records. In this case, a plan should be described that will ensure that trainees will have regular access to experienced mentors.
Trainees are also required to identify an individual who can provide additional help as they progress through the program. The individual can either serve as a co-advisor or be someone who will commit to meet with the trainee on at least an annual basis to discuss progress with research, progress toward achieving longer term career objectives, and plans for the coming year. If, for example, a trainee writes a grant, it is expected that this person would read the proposal and provide feedback. This co-mentor should come from the list of mentors, but if this is not appropriate, other individuals can serve in this capacity. Please be sure to identify the individual who has agreed to serve in this capacity.
Michael B. Robinson, PhD, Program Director
Research Interests: Sodium dependent excitatory amino acid transporters
Ted Abel, PhD
Research Interests: Learning and memory in developmental disabilities
Stewart Anderson, MD
Research Interests: Molecular and cellular development of the mammalian forebrain
Gordon Barr, PhD
Research Interests: Environmental effects on developing nervous system
Sheryl Beck, PhD
Research Interests: Stress response and neural activity
Seema Bhatagnar, PhD
Research Interests: Neural mechanisms related to chronic stress exposure
Edward (Ted) Brodkin, MD
Research Interests: My laboratory uses methods of genetics and genomics to dissect the neurobiological pathways mediating social behaviors, including aggression and sociability.
Anjan Chatterjee, MD
Research Interests: Cognitive Imaging
Akiva Cohen, PhD
Research Interests: Cellular and circuit mechanisms of traumatic brain injury
Douglas A. Coulter, PhD
Research Interests: Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying epilepsy
Thomas Curran, PhD
Research Interests: Neoplastic growth in the developing nervous system
John A. Detre, MD
Research Interests: Clinical applications of functional MRI
Beverly S. Emanuel, PhD
Research Interests: Velocardiofacial syndrome, mapping of chromosome 22
Martha Farah, PhD
Research Interests: Neurocognitive development- language and vision
Judith B. Grinspan, PhD
Research Interests: Oligodendrocyte development and myelination in the CNS
Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD
Research Interests: Genetic factors that underlie complex medical disorders
Rebecca Ichord, MD
Research Interests: Childhood stroke and acute brain injury
Harry Ischiropoulos, PhD
Research Interests: Nitrosylation and brain function
Robert Kalb, MD
Research Interests: Synaptic activity between neurons
Ian Krantz, MD
Research Interests: Molecular basis for human birth defects, Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS)
Daniel Licht, MD
Research Interests: Influence of congenital heart defects on fetal brain development
David R. Lynch, MD, PhD
Research Interests: NMDA receptors and excitotoxicity
Eric Marsh, MD, PhD
Research Interests: Interneuron development, epilepsy models, intracranial EEG recordings, electrophysiology
Timothy P. Roberts, PhD
Research Interests: Functional neuroimaging
Robert T. Schultz, PhD
Research Interests: Cognitive neuroscience and autism research
Charles Stanley, MD
Research Interests: Congenital defects of glutamate metabolism
Rita Valentino, PhD Trainer
Research Interests: Biology of stress
Douglas Wallace, PhD
Research Interests: Mitochondrial inborn errors in metabolism
John H. Wolfe, VMD, PhD
Research Interests: Lysosomal genetic disorders that affect the brain
Marc Yudkoff, MD
Research Interests: Amino acid metabolism in inborn errors of metabolism
How to Apply
Postdoctoral candidates are selected for the training program based on an assessment of their ability and potential, as evidenced by their previous achievements in research and letters of recommendation. All prospective candidates are screened by the trainee selection committee as positions become available.
MD candidates should have had clinical training in Pediatrics, Neurology, Neuropathology or a related field. PhD candidates should have completed their PhD in neuroscience or a related field and should have conducted neuroscience research. We encourage applications from members of minority groups that are underrepresented in science careers. All candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) to be eligible for support from this training grant.
The Application for Training Grant candidates must be completed, and the required documents provided. Please send application materials to Kristen Hearty, 3615 Civic Center Boulevard, Abramson Research Center, Room 502, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4318 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.