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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 30 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 (13) and basic scientists (6) . Importantly, > 90% of the trainees have gone on to pursue primary research careers and have averaged more than 1.5 grant awards per trainee. 

     The overarching aim of the MPRC T32 Training Program is to establish a training environment designed to enhance academic research skills, facilitate the Fellow’s capacity implement their own mark in science and launch the next phase of their scientific career.  Basic and clinical post-doctoral trainees are exposed to aspects of their complimentary disciplines (basic <->clinical) in order to expand their knowledge base and promote translationally relevant research. 

     The MPRC T32 program is not just another post-doc position.  The NIMH has specifically awarded resources for a prescribed training experience geared towards advancing the academic and career needs of the Fellow. The Fellowship is predicated on a research program/hypothesis that has a realistic potential to provide a meaningful training opportunity.  The Primary Mentor acknowledges the inherent prioritization of training goals and the ultimate purpose of the Fellowship. 

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

 

Creating a healthy, encouraging, collaborative, dynamic experience,  

improves probabilities for truly translational work 

and germinate skills for a long-term satisfying career.

 

The T32 program exists in 3 overlapping domains:  

   First domain consists of lab work, work-flow management, manuscript and grant writing.  The majority of the most valuable academic training occurs within the lab at the guidance of the primary mentor with additional collaboration from the Mentor Team. 

   Second domain consists of the T32 working in concert with the trainee and mentor to facilitate the development and engagement of a fruitful mentor-trainee relationship.  The T32 role is to help put in place an empirically-derived scaffold designed to optimize mentor-trainee relations and provide encouragement, course corrections if need, and support along the way. 

   Third domain consists of value-added opportunities designed to synergize with Domains 1 and 2. The opportunities include a) Exploring Translational Psychiatry modules (see below), b) Effective Research Design, c) Grant & Foundation Writing Workshops, d) Scientific Leadership & Career Guidance and e) General wellness, life hacks and work-balance.  In this domain we aim to sharpen essential academic skills, help infuse additional intrinsic value to the work and entertain discussions about what makes a successful career in science.

 

The first year looks something like this...

 

 

Exploring Translational Psychiatry course:  The goal is to create a vision for translational work and a forum to discuss and deliberate the bigger-picture.  Three overarching principles will guide the course; 1) NIMH’s RDoC, experiential, 2) problem based learning, and 3) peer-to-peer discussion and presentation. 

Two'phases' define the course trajectory:  

RDoC as a dynamic platform for discussion and brain-storming.  This phase offers a means launch field trips and discussions related to cutting edge neuroscience technology (core facilities, specific genomics/imaging techniques and personal DTI neuroimaging) and clinical investigation tools (computer based tasks, questionnaires and assessments will be reviewed and taken). 

Translational Loops. The ‘Loop’ occurs in two classes.  First, trainees will have the opportunity to learn firsthand from patients about the real-life implications and unmeet clinical needs of patients with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety/trauma, and autism/ADHD (selected based upon cohort interest) (A).  These sessions are previewed, guided and reviewed by an attending psychologist/psychiatrists.  Second,

trainees will spend time reading

additional personal accounts and

working through the RDoC matrix to

identify key Domiains/Constructs/

Units descriptive of the illness in

general (B) and then descriptive

profiles of individual variations (C).

The goal will be to develop illness-

based ‘Matrix Constellations’ by

proposing uniquely affected constructs, methods of assessment and known mechanisms.  

     The problem-based learning combined with peer-to-peer discussion aims to strengthen knowledge and understanding of the constellation of factors contributing to mental illness, meaningful translational targets and gaps in our understanding.  

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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.