Perinatal Research Center - Education

The PRC provides a unique basic biology training program for students (from high school through university and medical school), clinical and basic science trainees, and clinical and basic faculty scientists. The primary focus of the training program is to provide research training for neonatology and maternal-fetal medicine physicians and basic scientists who have completed residency training or a PhD degree. The research training includes concepts and techniques in perinatal/developmental physiology, biochemistry, and cell and molecular biology. Currently, research training is supported by a long-standing NIH-NICHD T32 Training Grant in Perinatal Biology and Medicine.

Four principal areas of research are included:

  1. fetal nutritional metabolism and growth
  2. placental development and function
  3. brain, liver, lung, muscle, and pancreatic islet development and injury
  4. vascular development and regulation of blood flow

Each area includes clinical, whole animal, organ, cell, and molecular research so that a trainee can participate at any one or several levels of biological investigation.

Trainees participate in seminars that review intrauterine development and fetal, maternal, and neonatal physiology. Courses in the graduate school dealing with cell culture, genetics, developmental biology, cell and molecular biology, isotope applications, biostatistics, data processing and informatics, graphics, clinical bioethics, and ethical conduct of research in animals are included. Seminars in research design, abstract and manuscript preparation, and grant writing are provided.

Second and third years of training are devoted to the completion of research projects begun in the first year and expansion into new areas of research and research techniques. Each trainee develops institutional animal and clinical research protocols to address ethical issues involved in research. Trainees plan and conduct their research projects independently, but with full faculty guidance.

This program provides multidisciplinary training in basic and clinical biological investigation, integrating state-of-the-art research techniques with important questions in perinatal medicine and biology. This approach equips the trainees with the capacity to move independently and successfully into academic careers.

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