Medical College of Wisconsin: Research training program in vision science receives continued federal support

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Research training program in vision science receives continued federal support

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Eye Institute to continue support for a research training program in vision science. The program has been continuously funded by the NIH since 2002.

Joseph C. Besharse, Ph.D., the Marvin Wagner Professor and Chair of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, is the primary investigator for the grant. He is director of MCW’s Interdisciplinary Program in the Biomedical Sciences, a multidisciplinary doctorate program providing students with training in basic and translational sciences, including vision research. The Vision Science training program is a collaborative effort that includes 10 faculty mentors from cell biology, ophthalmology, biochemistry and biophysics.

This grant will fund five pre-doctoral students annually who will receive training in ocular and vision research under the mentorship of a program faculty member. Trainees will be recruited nationally and will complete a core curriculum of courses in molecular genetics, biochemistry and cellular biology. Students will develop additional specialization in the fundamental biology of the visual system, its neural circuitry and diseases that affect vision. An emphasis of this and other graduate programs at MCW is knowledge of and exposure to the newest technologies for research, which students will acquire through laboratory rotations and in completing their dissertation projects.

The overall goal of the program is to prepare trainees for a career in translational research by providing them with the analytical skills, knowledge and laboratory experience necessary for success in their chosen fields. With this training, the next generation of scientists will improve understanding of the visual system and the causes and treatments of diseases that impact it.

This program is funded by NIH grant 2T32EY014537-11.

About the Medical College of Wisconsin

The Medical College of Wisconsin is the state’s only private medical school and health sciences graduate school. Founded in 1893, it is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and community engagement. More than 1,200 students are enrolled in the Medical College’s medical school and graduate school programs in Milwaukee. New regional medical education campuses are opening in Green Bay in 2015, and in Central Wisconsin in 2016, with each recruiting initial classes of 15-20 students. A major national research center, MCW is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In FY 2012-13, faculty received approximately $160 million in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes, of which approximately $144 million is for research. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, College faculty direct or collaborate on more than 2,000 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,350 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 425,000 patients annually.