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Heart-Lung Interactions & Cardiovascular Insufficiency

PI: Michael R. Pinsky, MD

Funding: NIH K24HL67181 (Project period: 4/1/01 to 5/31/12)

This postdoctoral training program proposal is designed to train fellows, for a period of 2 or 3 years each, in basic science research relevant to cardiopulmonary and renal responses to stress. The overall research focus of the trainees is on four inter-related levels of basic science investigation: 1) cell and molecular immuno-biology; 2) cellular basis of organ injury; 3) organ-system interaction; and 4) outcomes-based research. This approach underscores the essential basis of critical care medicine, requiring an integration of cell and molecular biology to organ-system monitoring, and following therapies to define their effects on socially relevant outcomes. These areas of research coincide with extramural research grants on which the faculty members collaborate. The research plans are excellent vehicles for training because they ask broad questions on which precise, well-targeted individual research training efforts can be staged. The faculty members reflect an experienced and dedicated group of senior academicians, and all have extramural research training support and training experience. Upon completion of the training program, the fellow will understand how to design, execute, and complete experiments to answer specific questions derived from critically ill patients. Thus, the fellow will be trained not only in advanced laboratory methodology, but also in the thought processes needed to apply future experimental problems as they relate to real life problems in critically ill patients. All trainees will take formal postgraduate courses offered by the basic science departments of the University of Pittsburgh. Some may complete coursework necessary to receive advanced degrees. Most training will take place in the laboratories of the principal trainers using a carefully thought-out version of the master-apprentice system. This training technique combines weekly meetings between the trainee and trainer as well as a one-hour research training seminar. Furthermore, formal research presentations by the trainees will be given biannually to the local research community.