Research Training Program Description

Program Overview
The Program for Training in Sleep, Circadian and Respiratory Neurobiology in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital is supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA (T-32 grant) from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute within the National Institutes of Health. This program is designed to address a nationally recognized need to enhance the number of trained investigators and trainees in neurobiological and neurobehavioral research related to: (1) basic sleep and circadian neurobiology; (2) patient-oriented sleep disorders medicine research; and (3) applied research on sleep and chronobiology.

This program addresses the goals of the NCSDR in providing both breadth and depth to training by ensuring that all trainees complete a series of core requirements, elective courses and didactic sessions to supplement the specialized training and individual research experiences in a preceptor's laboratory. In connection with their research projects, trainees have the opportunity to learn state-of-the-art techniques from bench to clinical research. As an additional component of the post-doctoral training program, all postdoctoral trainees also are required, with guidance, to write an application for individual grant support.

The collective expertise of the faculty preceptors in this program, representing a wide range of interests across five Harvard-affiliated Hospitals and the Medical School, together with the institutional research facilities available to those preceptors, are ideal for addressing the research training recommendations of the NIH National Sleep Disorders Research Plan. The fields of inquiry represented by our faculty members encompass patient-oriented and applied research relevant to sleep, circadian and respiratory neurobiology, including neurophysiology, molecular neurobiology, neuroendocrinology, human physiology, integrative and visual neuroscience, cognitive science, mathematical modeling, statistical modeling, neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology, electrophysiology, respiratory neurobiology, cardiorespiratory physiology, sleep pathophysiology, medical chronobiology, and human genetics.

Program Direction
Several faculty committees oversee this Training Program. The Program Director, Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, is chair of the Education and Training Committee, consisting of all preceptors who assist in the administration of the Training Program. The Education and Training Committee meets at least twice annually to review reports on the work and progress of four standing sub-committees: Trainee Selection, Curriculum Development, Minority Recruitment and Tracking and Evaluation. For more information on committee structure and responsibilities, please visit the Faculty Committees of the Training Program page.

Postdoctoral Training Program
The Postdoctoral Training Program is divided into three components: (1) core required courses and activities; (2) elective courses and activities; and (3) research mentored by an experienced preceptor, sometimes together with an Associate Preceptor. Close monitoring and interaction among the Program Director, the Education and Training Committee and its three standing sub-committees, participating preceptors and trainees, ensures programmatic integrity. The structure of our Training Program is based on the thesis that the most important aspect of research training is the intense involvement of trainees in research under close supervision of faculty preceptors, after and during the establishment of a core body of knowledge relevant to the particular area of research in which the trainee wishes to receive his/her training. An important dividend of the Training Program is that the trainees themselves contribute to the fabric of the academic environment with their collaborations, diverse backgrounds and interests. Accommodating the trainees’ research interests often serves as a catalyst to bring two or more areas of research and faculty together, leading to an enriched experience for all members of the Division of Sleep Medicine.
Link to Postdoctoral Trainee Program Requirements and Academic Guidelines

Pre-doctoral Training Program
The pre-doctoral Training Program consists of core-required courses and activities, elective courses and activities, and an intensive research experience. Cross-discipline research is promoted, as exemplified by the collaborations that already exist among the preceptors. The Program exists in parallel with the student’s training that they receive at the University in which they are enrolled, and is designed to provide a structured, comprehensive program to train outstanding individuals for eventual academic positions in the broad field of Sleep Disorders Medicine with specific expertise in basic science, patient-oriented or applied research. By design, many pre-doctoral students enroll in our Sleep, Circadian and Respiratory Neurobiology Training Program from the Harvard Medical School Program in Neuroscience.

The faculty preceptors who mentor pre-doctoral research training provide trainees with the opportunity to participate directly in on-going experimental studies in many diverse areas of sleep, circadian and respiratory neurobiology from molecular genetics to patient-oriented applied research. The structure of our pre-doctoral training program, as with postdoctoral research, is based on the concept that the most important aspect of training is the intense involvement of trainees in research under close supervision of faculty preceptors, after the establishment of a core body of knowledge relevant to the particular area of research in which the trainee wishes to receive his/her training.
Link to Pre-doctoral Trainee Program Requirements and Academic Guidelines

Summer Minority Medical Student Program
The goal of our Summer Minority Medical Student Training Program is to increase the number of under-represented minority individuals involved in biomedical research, and more specifically, to identify, recruit and train talented minority students in the field of sleep, circadian and respiratory neurobiology. The Program recruits eligible individuals, regardless of gender, with a special emphasis on African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.  

Through the Summer Research Training Program for Minority Medical Students, under-represented minority medical school students have the opportunity to participate in a 2- to 3-month summer research training experience working in the laboratory of a program preceptor. This program is designed to provide trainees with experience in many aspects of the research process in a short period. The student is matched to a specific mentor, based on the interests of the student. The varied faculty offer expert training in a broad scope of disciplines within the field of sleep, circadian and respiratory neurobiology research that is available, incorporating physiology and pathophysiology in both humans and experimental animals as well as molecular and genetic approaches to the study of sleep and circadian rhythm disorders. After matching with a specific mentor, the student has a structured research internship with the ultimate goal of encouraging outstanding individuals to consider academic positions in sleep and circadian research: which can be basic science, patient-oriented or applied research. The rich academic environment of this Training Program provides a ready resource for the development of an individually tailored didactic program to support the overall goals of the Program and the enrolled students.
Link to Summer Minority Medical Student Program Requirements and Guidelines

Trainees completing this program may earn a Certificate in Sleep Medicine from the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine, which is a certificate of completion of program requirements. Students and Fellows with alternate funding may also apply to participate in this program and earn the certificate of completion. For more information, please review the Program Description, or link directly to any of the program specifics and resources below.

All Related Links
Research Training Program main page
Program Faculty (descriptions of research interests)
Certificate Program Guidelines
Academic Requirements and Recommended Courses
Pre-doctoral Trainee Program Description
Postdoctoral Trainee Program Description
Summer Minority Medical Student Program Description
Trainees' Portal Page
Administrative Resources and Training Support
Eligibility Guidelines for prospective applicants
Forms and Resources page (find all forms, application materials, eligibility guidelines, orientation packet, FAQs and other help)

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