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T32 Training Program

The Multidisciplinary Schizophrenia and Psychosis-Related Research Training program prepares post-doctoral trainees from multiple disciplines (MD psychiatrists, PhDs in clinical and experimental psychology, neuroscience, other biomedical sciences including DVM, engineering, and PharmDs) for an independent or research-intensive career in the area of translational mental health research.

The MPRC T32 training program has trained 28 postdoctoral fellows during the last 15 years.  The multidisciplinary program has trained M.D.’s (5), Pharm.D.’s (2), DVM (1), clinical Ph.D.s (12) and basic scientists (5) . Importantly, nearly 90% of the trainees have gone on to pursue primary research careers and have averaged more than 1.5 grant awards per trainee. 

Three parallel means of training are implemented in the training program: Mentored Research, Coursework and Additional Educational Activities.  A general overview is presented below: 

1) Mentored Research: Each trainee will have a mentoring team consisting of a primary and a secondary mentor. We typically encourage that if the primary mentor is a clinical scientist then the secondary mentor will be a preclinical basic scientist and vice versa. This mentoring method provides trainees with diverse scientific approaches, familiarity with state-of-the-art technologies across disciplines, and enhances depth and critical thinking in translational research. We have adopted a flexible approach in selecting a secondary mentor that is optimal for the trainee’s research and career development. This mainly pertains to trainees with a clinical degree and strong clinical research focus who are interested in state-of-the art human techniques such as neuroimaging or sophisticated cognitive neuroscience paradigms. In such cases the secondary mentor may be selected for expertise in human neuroscience or imaging methodology. A third component of this team is the statistician (Dr. Shuo Chen, or a member of his team).  The trainee will meet with Dr. Chen (or his designate) twice per year to ensure familiarization with replicability and reliability standards within the trainee’s main research interests.  

Note: All mentors receive Mentorship and Diversity/Equity/Inclusion training prior to accepting a Trainee. 

The first year looks something like this...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Didactics: The overarching emphasis is placed on instilling  an integrative framework linking basic neuroscience findings and clinical observations, guiding the trainee in the practical skills necessary to implement and carry out productive research designs and to mentor the trainee in the practical and nuanced aspects of building a successful research career.  Each trainee will complete three areas of didactics: a) Psychopathology: A psychopathology oriented course designed to provide a translational conduit between basic neuroscience and clinical research in the context of deconstruction of clinical syndromes. The preclinical component makes a specific effort to direct the trainees in the conceptual and practical implications of NIMH’s emphasis on mechanisms, target engagement, syndrome deconstruction, dimensions of psychopathology and paradigms that enhance the translation of neuroscience to brain function in psychopathology. The course includes understanding clinical concepts, research ethics,scientific rigor, cultural competence, dimensions of pathology, endophenotypes as tools for research in mental illness, and application of paradigms such as the NIMH RDoC initiative and concepts based on computational approaches.  b) Career Advancement: Focused didactics on grant writing, conducting research, scientific leadership, careers in science, and ethics and c) Tailored Coursework: Coursework individualized to the trainees’ needs. This component might include advanced training related to a trainee’s research focus, such as genetics or neuroimaging, or coursework related to deficiencies in key research skills such as advanced computational statistics, big data analysis and machine learning methods.  

 

3) Career Development Evaluations: Trainees (in concert with primary mentor) are required to design a research and training plan that outlines their planned research projects and individualized training goals/plans for their two-year fellowship (i.e. Individualized Development Plan (IDP)). Dr. Kelly (mPI)  brings exceptional career training advice garnered from her Directorship of the Department of Psychiatry Faculty Mentoring Program. The IDP is reviewed and approved by the T32 Executive Committee. The T32 directors provide early input so that a plan is in place to ensure training success and also engage in regular formal review with trainee and primary mentor and a newly implemented Trainee/Mentor Evaluation provide structured attention to the basic elements for success.

 

4) Additional Educational Activities include a monthly journal club headed by MPRC faculty members, monthly meetings with Dr. Carpenter, monthly faculty seminars, and outside speaker seminars and a ‘Foundations Academy’ (a new initiative geared towards foundation grant applications). While many activities are based at the MPRC, our faculty has extensive collaborations with UMB faculty that offer additional training experiences. Further opportunities open to trainees include observing UMB IRB meetings, attending activities or lectures hosted by the Program in Neuroscience, the VISN 5 MIRECC at the VA, or by the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at UMB. The Washington-Baltimore area is rich in special programs of potential relevance for our trainees including shared programs between JHH, UMCP, and UMB which MPRC scientists are involved in planning. 

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Mulitidisciplipary Directorship of the T32 Program 

The multi-PI team is a direct reflection of the programs interest in preparing post-doctoral trainees from multiple disciplines.  A vested leadership team with a broad background greatly facilitates our ability to provide training insight and adaptations that can be tailored for individual candidates and increases the likelihood for an independent, research-intensive career in the area of translational mental health research. 
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William T. Carpenter, M.D.
Training Grant mPI

Dr. Carpenter served as Director of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center 1977-2013. In this role, he has collaborated extensively with other members of the MPRC faculty and has a broad awareness of the on-going research and potential opportunities for trainees and a deep familiarity with the current faculty.  His insight provides an ideal background for matching faculty and fellows. He is a distinguished schizophrenia researcher, whose many positions and honors include presidency of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, membership in the National Academy of Medicine (IOM) and recipient of the NAM/IOM’s Sarnet Award in 2013, the 2019 Life-Time Achievement Award from SIRS and the 2019 Pardes Humanitarian Prize from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. He is listed in the top 1% of cited authors in his field. He continues as Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology full-time with 20% IPA as senior advisor to NIMH with primary involvement with the RDoC Unit.

Dr. Carpenter has a long and successful involvement in mentorships.  He meets monthly with T32 trainees for an informal seminar, provides course lectures on psychopathology, meets regularly with each trainee to review progress, reviews drafts of fellows’ initial applications for external funding, and meets informally as issues arise. He plays an active role in recruitment, interviewing and providing decisive input in the final selection of T32 applicants. He co-chairs meetings of the T32 training committee, which meets regularly to review the recruitment/selection, training process, and discuss the productivity of T32 trainees

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Greg Elmer, Ph.D.
Training Grant mPI

Dr. Elmer has been extensively involved in the education and training of Program in Neuroscience graduate students and Psychiatry residents.  In addition to being course master for a UMB Program in Neuroscience, Translational Psychiatry course and having developed and co-proctored a Neuroscience for Psychiatry Residents course, he has given on average 13 lectures per year in classes at UMB during the past 5 years. Dr. Elmer has broad mentoring experience at the undergraduate, post-bac and graduate school level. He has mentored 3 post-docs, 2 Ph.D. students as primary mentor, 25 Ph.D. students as a committee member, 15 Ph.D. students as a Program in Neuroscience Advisory committee member, 8 pre-doctoral students as part of NIH’s Intramural Research Training Award and 4 students in the MARC U*STAR-Meyerhoff program at UMBC. Dr. Elmer has contributed to the MPRC T32 Training Grant as an Executive Training committee member for the past 10 years.

See Dr. Elmer's research interests on the Mentor Research page. 

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Deanna Kelly, Pharm.D.,BCCP
Training Grant mPI

Dr. Kelly has a significant interest in mentorship.  Dr. Kelly initiated the Junior Faculty Mentoring Program at the MPRC and has broadened her successful program to now involve co-Directing the Junior Faculty Mentoring Program in the Department of Psychiatry as a whole. As part of her efforts she is actively involved in initiatives to ensure mentors are well-trained to take on the mentorship role. She has served as primary mentor for many fellows, residents and students. In addition, she has mentored junior faculty and served as primary mentor for five successful K award or NARSAD Young Investigator Awards from the BBRF.  Dr. Kelly has been a part of the MPRC T32 training grant for over a decade and a strong advocate for women and minority faculty including mentorship for the BIRCWH grant at UMB and a mentor to many women trainees. She is an advocate for multidisciplinary research training where she trains MDs, PhDs, and PharmDs. She has successfully mentored PharmD T32 fellows expanding the training grant in previous years to include post-doctoral candidates with training in this discipline. 

 

Dr. Kelly is a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and was awarded the prestigious Maltz Prize for Innovative and Promising Schizophrenia Research from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in 2017. 

See Dr. Kelly's research interests on the Mentor Research page.