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University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center Joins Other Institutions to Develop Unique Training Program in Sleep Research

The University of Michigan Center for Sleep Science is accepting applications for a specialized training program in sleep research.  The goal of this national effort is to develop a cadre of new investigators in genetic/genomic approaches to sleep and its disorders.  The University of Michigan, in addition to Stanford and Johns Hopkins, educates trainees, with administrative coordination of the program by the University of Pennsylvania.  Training involves a specifically designed core curriculum, developed and agreed on by experts in the field.  In addition, three other institutions that currently hold training grants for sleep education – Harvard, Penn and the University of Pittsburgh – participates in developing the curriculum for the program.  Expertise not available at a one site can be accessed through other participating sites.  The program provides a mechanism for ongoing feedback from experts at all sites, exposing fellows to a range of interdisciplinary research, clinical, and career development perspectives.  Fellows have opportunities to network, find mentors ideally targeted to their scientific interests and long-term career plans, and to collaborate with peers, all of which are integral to effective career development.

The 2-3 year program allows trainees at each site to undergo the same training using new video-based technology.  The core curriculum involves lectures on genetics/genomics of sleep and its disorders by faculty at all participating institutions; career development; a grants workshop; a journal club; and research-in-progress talks by trainees.  Each trainee has two co-mentors at his or her institution – one expert in sleep research and one in genetics/genomics.  Trainees also form mentorship committees that can include any sleep expert from another institution.

Sleep science offers superb opportunities to explore genetic/genomic approaches that are needed to improve personalized medicine.  Many sleep disorders are heritable, although the gene variants that confer risk are largely unknown.  This unique program provides the background necessary for new investigators to create successful academic careers that focus on these novel paths.  If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact Ronald D. Chervin, MD, MS (chervin@umich.edu), John K. Fink, MD (jkfink@umich.edu), or Sarina Davis (sarinaw@umich.edu or 734-647-9064).


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