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Grant Abstract

Grant Number: 5T32ES007326-14
PI Name: Schantz
Project Title: Research Training Program in Enviromental Toxicology

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant) This is a competing continuation application to renew the Research Training Program in Environmental Toxicology. Established in 2000 to help recruit new scientists into this important discipline, the Program educates pre- and postdoctoral trainees in reproductive, developmental and endocrine toxicology. The need to train students and postdoctoral fellows in these aspects of toxicology is every bit as urgent today as it was 10 years ago when the training program was first conceived. Environmental chemicals that act as endocrine disrupters continue to dominate environmental health concerns. The program unites two long recognized areas of research excellence on the University of Illinois campus, environmental toxicology and reproductive biology, and the investigators can count among their preceptors some of the brightest stars on the University of Illinois campus. Several outstanding new preceptors have joined the Program since the last submission (Flaws, Hofmann) and two additional preceptors are added in this renewal application (Boppart, Freund) resulting in a total of 15 preceptors from seven departments (Animal Sciences, Bioengineering, Chemistry, Crop Sciences, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Veterinary Biosciences). Together these faculty currently have over 40 federally funded research grants totaling more than $9 million dollars per year direct costs. The preceptors are researching endocrine active chemicals using a broad multidisciplinary perspective. Collaborations among laboratories working at the molecular, cellular, whole animal and human health levels provide trainees with the unique opportunity to directly observe and participate in translational research. Selection of trainees is based on academic success, relevance of proposed research to Program goals and commitment to toxicology. Preference is given to pre-doctoral trainees in their first or second year of graduate study. The Program offers a broad range of graduate level courses in toxicology. In addition to their departmental requirements, all pre-doctoral trainees take basic toxicology, systems toxicology and at least one other advanced toxicology course related to their field of study. Postdoctoral trainees conduct independent research in toxicology. All trainees are required to attend weekly toxicology research seminars, career development workshops, a toxicology journal club and a course on research ethics in toxicology. Trainees are also required to present their research in the seminar and strongly encouraged to present their research at national meetings. The investigators have a strong record of recruiting and retaining qualified students from underrepresented groups and we will continue and expand these efforts. Relevance: This Training Program will train pre- and postdoctoral students to become the next generation of research scientists in endocrine, developmental and reproductive toxicology, subdisciplines of toxicology that are directly relevant to human health.

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