NIH Adds Two Fellowship Spots in T32 Clinical Pharmacology Training Program
The NIH has funded two additional positions in the T32 clinical pharmacology postdoctoral fellowship program administered by the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in collaboration with Duke University, and the Hamner Institute for Drug Safety Sciences. The additional positions expand a five-year collaborative training grant established to prepare clinician-scientists to become leaders in clinical pharmacology.
The program is funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant, known as a T32 grant, from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the NIH. The NIH established the T32 program to prepare qualified individuals for careers that have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the nation. This is the first T32 training grant based in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.
Duke’s clinical research training programs combined with the clinical pharmacology expertise of the UNC pharmacy school proved to be the winning combination that helped gain approval for the grant, says Kim Brouwer, PharmD, PhD, William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor at the School and one of the program’s principal investigators.
The NIH has increased its focus on translational research, Brouwer says, and this imperative to move discoveries from the bench to the bedside has heightened awareness of the need for specialty training in clinical pharmacology.
“This is a unique training program that is preparing a new generation of clinician-scientists to address critical problems in drug therapy, particularly in understudied areas such as pediatric therapeutics and drug safety,” Brouwer says. “Our program is one of only a handful of T32 clinical pharmacology postdoctoral training programs in the U.S. It brings the best and brightest clinicians to UNC and Duke to learn cutting-edge research in clinical pharmacology.”
Fellows spend two years specializing in clinical pharmacology and learning how drugs work in the body and how that knowledge can be applied to improve patient care and safety. The program focuses on drug disposition and action, pharmacogenomics, drug safety, quantitative pharmacology, and clinical trial design. Trainees learn to design and conduct basic and clinical research necessary to investigate the effects and mechanisms of drug actions, and to optimize drug therapy, in pediatric and adult patients.
UNC and Duke share funding for this collaborative program that began last July and is funded through 2016. The first cohort of fellows was selected in spring 2011. Three physicians and four PharmDs currently are enrolled in the training program. Effective July 1 of 2012, the program will comprise nine trainee positions, five of which are funded by the NIH.
The collaboration is led by Brouwer and coprincipal investigators Danny Benjamin, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics at Duke; and Paul Watkins, MD, director of the Hamner Institute for Drug Safety Sciences in Research Triangle Park and a professor at the pharmacy school. Brouwer is chair of the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics at the School. Benjamin is the director of the Duke Clinical Research Unit pediatrics program and associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. Watkins is also a professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and a professor of toxicology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Angela Kashuba, PharmD, a professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Robert Noveck, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at Duke, run the program’s daily operations.
For more details about this clinical pharmacology postdoctoral fellowship program and application information, see pharmacy.unc.edu/t32.