New T32 Funding for TRAM “Translational Research Training on Aging and Mobility”

Congratulations to Dr. Manini who has received funding for the “Translational Research Training on Aging and Mobility (TRAM)” – T32.

ABSTRACT: Preserved mobility is one of the hallmarks of geriatric care, gerontology, and geroscience. The loss of mobility with aging is progressive, caused by multiple factors, and does not have a simple cure. Unfortunately, mobility loss continues to lack clinical attention, robust biomedical targets, objectively-measured surveillance systems, and effective treatments. As a result, mobility difficulties have remained persistently high and stagnant since it was systematically measured in the late 1980s. Currently, 30% of Americans aged 60-69, 40% of individuals aged 70-79, and 55% of individuals age 80 or older report difficulties with their mobility (e.g. walking and climbing stairs).

To address this unmet need, we propose the Translational Research training on Aging and Mobility (TRAM) postdoctoral training program to train 4 post-doctoral fellows per year (2 in year one). The overall goal of the TRAM program is to develop outstanding independent investigators capable of sustaining productive multi-disciplinary and translational research careers addressing the multi-factorial causes and consequences of age-related changes in mobility and/or designing multi-modal interventions to prevent and rehabilitate mobility impairments in older adults.

The goals are to:

1) Provide a 2-3 year integrated training program for PhD/MD fellows to create a career pathway for conducting mechanistic and clinically relevant translational research in mobility and aging;

2) Implement a cross-fertilized training program based on the Experiential Learning Theory;

3) To equip trainees with new research skills along with the knowledge and expertise to address impactful and unanswered questions regarding mobility and aging;

4) Closely monitor and track trainee-related experiences and outcomes for making continuous quality improvements;

5) Create a culture for professional excellence and development based on enhancing rigor, reproducibility and transparency in trainee-related research and;

6) To attract, recruit, and enroll minorities, and those with disabilities and disadvantaged backgrounds. TRAM program faculty are collaborators on each other’s projects, bring strong mentorship experience and successful commitment to research related to mobility and/or aging.

Program faculty are grouped into either Aging or Mobility Research Clusters based on research focus and expertise. TRAM will use a mosaic mentoring approach that will employ dual primary mentors— one from “aging” and another from “mobility” expertise— a third mentor will serve as an advocate/sponsor. Mentees will also receive support from other archetypes like coaches, connectors, and senior peer mentors. This unified mentoring team will guide trainees through an individual development plan, didactic coursework (e.g. mechanistic and clinical-based research on aging and/or mobility, ethics, responsible conduct of research), directed research training, and professional development activities (e.g. strategic planning, innovative leadership) that will be tailored according to the educational needs and research interests of the trainee. At completion, TRAM fellows will fulfill the scientific needs and grow the research workforce for meeting the growing population of mobility-impaired older adults.

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