The purpose of this program is to train promising young postdoctoral scientists in the multidisciplinary strategies of molecular, cellular, behavioral, and clinical neuropsychopharmacology.
The Scripps Research Institute Alcohol Research Center (ARC), combined with a very active San Diego Alcohol Research Community, has developed a conceptual framework to study the neurobiology of alcoholism and the neurobiological bases for individual differences in vulnerability to alcoholism. Biochemical, morphological, physiological, and behavioral methods have been developed to study the neuropsychopharmacology of alcoholism through such fields as molecular biology, immunocytochemistry, electrophysiology (both in vivo and in vitro), neuroendocrinology, behavioral pharmacology, electroencephalography, cognitive and motivational testing applied to animal and human subjects, and clinical studies. We develop in the trainees important skills for pathways to independence, such as creative research expression, critical selection of problems, experimental design, data recording, validation and security, data interpretation, manuscript and grant preparation, and the ethical conduct of research. Trainees participate in scientific project development and implementation, research seminars, and journal clubs. Each trainee receives formal courses on Ethanol Neuropsychopharmacology and the ethical conduct of research.
Both informal and formal recruitment mechanisms are well established and provide a sufficient number of high quality applicants. Extensive programs are in place for recruitment of minority candidates and for facilitating minority interest in alcohol research. Significant success in the past funding period has resulted in the recruitment of five young faculty, including two minority faculty, to the training program.
A formal evaluation of the success of the program charts the career development of pathways to independence in alcohol research of former fellows. Postdoctoral fellows and other advanced trainees are selected with preferential weighting given to those seeking interdisciplinary methodologies. Trainees are assigned to one of the training grant faculty members who coordinate their initial research project selections. Depending upon a trainee's prior research skills, collaborations with more than one senior faculty member are encouraged. In summary, the training program discussed herein provides a dynamic environment for fellows to develop a strong foundation to pursue a career in the neuropsychopharmacology of alcoholism.
This program is funded by an NRSA Institutional Training Grant, number T32AA007456 and has been training young scientists in the field of alcohol research for over 25 years.