Common to Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Trainees
The Training Program in Translational Cardiovascular Science seeks to provide basic laboratory research training in the laboratories of the faculty trainers for candidates seeking a career in translational cardiovascular research sciences. This is not a degree-granting program, but captures a very important and compelling opportunity to involve trainees at various stages of their careers in research into cardiovascular disease. Through our program, we have developed a very successful forum for trainees with different backgrounds to interact with each other and with trainers from a diverse background, all of whom have a history of collaborative, interdisciplinary work through the hosting organization, the UW Cardiovascular Research Center.
The purpose of this program is to bring together all trainees, postdoctoral and predoctoral, basic and clinical, as well as trainers in the various disciplines. Most of the training for the program is not unique for one group or the other, but rather integrates trainees and trainers from different levels and different disciplines. These functions foster interaction among the trainees (predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees, both basic and clinical) and make this a cohesive program rather than simply a funding mechanism for individual predoctoral and postdoctoral programs. Three of these functions are either solely or mainly for trainees in this program.
- Annual Meeting: This dinner meeting is held at the home of the PI Dr. Makielski. Current trainees and trainers, many past trainees, and trainers without current trainees attend. The main purpose of this meeting is to have a social occasion early in the year to bond this diverse group of trainers and trainees. The business meeting is brief, with an overview of requirements and discussion of what translational research means, along with introductions for the benefit of those new to the program.
- Semester Meetings: These occur in the fall and spring semester, usually November/December and April/May. All trainees make at least one 20-minute presentation on their research at one of these meetings during their training period. All current trainees and trainers, as well as many past trainees and trainers presently without trainers, attend the meeting.
- Journal Clubs: These clubs review cutting edge research in each of the topic areas: Heart Failure/Cardioregenerative Medicine, Ion Channels/Arrhythmias and Vascular Biology. A club in each area meets once a month on Thursday at 11 AM, so overall a journal club occurs on a nearly weekly basis during the academic year. The presenter gives a background introduction to the area, and then presents one or two recent journal articles. The Heart Failure/Cardioregenerative Medicine club meets on the second Thursday led by Dr. Kurt Saupe, ion channels/arrhythmias on the fourth Thursday led by Dr. Jonathan Makielski, and vascular biology on the first Thursday led by Dr. Emery Bresnick. All current trainees, and all trainers with current trainees are required to make a presentation; the remaining presentations are made by former trainees, trainers without current trainees, or other invited guests. These journal clubs are open to the general academic community and indeed each club has an email list of more than 90 members. Frequently attendance is as many as 30 attendees at each session.
Integration of training also occurs through more general CVRC functions. The interactions among trainees at every level and with faculty trainers within the CVRC makes this training program unique from training in departmental programs and under the sponsorship of other training grants. The CVRC undertakes regular activities that foster these interactions, which in turn contribute directly to the translational quality of our training program. CVRC functions that are open to a wider audience include the scientific poster fair, monthly research conference, and special research conferences. These are also key parts of the program and are briefly summarized.
The UW Cardiovascular Research Center sponsors annual scientific poster fairs for ongoing research projects of Center members. This has proved to be a highly successful event, with research representing the broad disciplines of the many departments and schools of center members. It is now held in the newly constructed Atrium of the Health Sciences Learning Center, which provides an open area for exhibiting that is very accessible to faculty and students. Trainees are strongly encouraged to present their research at this forum and many have presented.
The UW Cardiovascular Research Center also hosts a monthly Cardiovascular Research Conference presented by prominent national faculty and by UW-Madison experts. The Conference attempts to develop a laboratory-meeting setting as its approach to presentations and encourages discussion and interactions among the attendees. The average number of participants is approximately 30-40. Trainees are encouraged to attend; many trainers are regular attendees and presenters as well. This conference is organized by Gail A. Robertson, PhD.