UF neurosurgery and neurology departments team up for interdisciplinary NIH grant

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David Shin, M.D. (left), a resident in the department of neurosurgery, and Brian Hoh, M.D., chair of neurosurgery, discuss a brain scan.

By Todd Taylor

The University of Florida departments of neurosurgery and neurology have partnered and were awarded a highly select five-year National Institutes of Health Research Education Program, or R25, grant to support residents’ research education activities and academic career development.

“It’s a prestigious award that demonstrates we’re one of the top programs for training residents to become successful academic clinician-scientists,” said Brian Hoh, M.D., chair of the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery. “R25 residents not only receive funding for their research but also close mentoring. The NIH tracks them during their residency and into their careers as faculty to ensure their long-term success.”

While only a select group of universities were awarded the R25 grant — including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco — UF was one of just four with an interdisciplinary neurosurgery and neurology program to receive it.

“Training both neurosurgery and neurology residents allows there to be crosstalk that enhances the experience for all trainees,” said Michael S. Okun, M.D., chair of neurology and co-director of the Fixel Center for Neurological Diseases at UF Health. “We’re really starting to think of ourselves as a combined neuromedicine clinical, education and research program.”

Hoh and Okun serve as the grant’s principal investigators and will lead an executive committee that will identify the strongest candidates for the R25 grants. Todd Golde, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida, is the associate program director for the grant.

An R25 grant allots dedicated time for residents to develop research programs and provides them the opportunity to pursue specific fellowship training. Recipients will also attend an annual meeting to meet other R25 awardees and principal investigators from across the U.S.

“This grant is going to help the next generation of neuromedicine clinician-scientists and basic scientists to be able to practice medicine and conduct research,” said Okun.

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