Trainees appointed to the Clinical and Translational Pre-Doctoral Training in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias T32 will enroll in certain required courses and participate in other activities, such as Journal Club, conference attendance, and professional development workshops.

Required Courses

Introduction to ADRD: Clinical and Mechanistic Principles (2 credits)

  • Course format and content: Didactic lectures and problem-based learning sessions designed to provide a comprehensive overview of ADRD that will facilitate the trainee’s pursuit of discovery-based, translational and clinical research.
  • Students will learn to:
    • Recognize cognitive/behavioral symptomologies of ADRD
    • Recognize neuropathological features of ADRD
    • Recognize co-morbidities of ADRD
    • Critically evaluate gene and environmental factors contributing to ADRD
    • Understand drug designs and barriers for successful treatment of ADRD
    • Compare and contrast the neuropathological and cognitive/behavioral features of ADRD animal models
    • Critically evaluate rigor, reproducibility and transparency of experimental designs in ADRD research
    • Gain exposure to large scale data repositories available for AD research
  • Click here to view the most recent syllabus.

Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research (1 credit)

  • Course format: Didactic lectures and problem-based learning on topics relevant to ethical conduct and responsible research practices. 
  • Topics Include:
    • Ethical decision-making
    • Defining research misconduct
    • Human subjects
    • Conflicts of interest & commitment
    • Data management
    • Mentor-trainee relationships
    • Collaboration & team science
    • Authorship & publication
    • Peer review
  • Click here to view the most recent syllabus.

Statistical/Experimental Design (3 credits)

  • In consultation with their mentor, trainees will select a 3-credit hour statistical design course most relevant to their research.

Neuroscience Grant Writing (1 credit)

  • Course format and content: Didactic lectures designed to provide students with the fundamentals of grant writing and an overview of the peer-review process. Students will receive feedback on their own written proposals throughout the semester.  The course concludes with students participating in a mock study section, during which they receive a full review of a F31 proposal. 
  • Click here to view the most recent syllabus.

Large Scale, Open Source Data & its Integration into Research (0 credits/full integration)

  • Under the Principles of Molecular Biology & Neurogenetics Bootcamp, trainees will be introduced to real world examples of DNA basics & RNA purification, sequencing, SNP analysis, & GWAS. These concepts, along with epigenomic, RNAseq, & proteomics will inform discussions of recently published data that has been collected on AD populations.
  • Under several modules of the Comprehensive Perspectives on ADRD, mentors will lead lectures & discussions, informed by national AD databases (ADNI, AMP-AD, & M2OVE-AD) on neuropsychological evaluation, neuroimaging diagnostics, biomarkers & drug development. Each trainee will select one database, in accordance with his or her IDP, and will devote one week of mentored exploration into the techniques & measures of that database. To complement this exploration, trainees will have the opportunity to observe clinical neuropsychological evaluations, help perform MRIs, or examine -omic data & generate data-based hypotheses. This method of study & exposure will allow the trainees to comprehend the complete process of data generation, data evaluation, & their use in research.

Details of Individualized Training

Conference Attendance

Trainees will be encouraged to attend, and present their own work, at least one national annual conference focused on ADRD. Trainees will be paired with a conference mentor responsible for facilitating understanding of unfamiliar concepts, the relevance of the trainees’ research to the overall research scene & assisting trainees’ development of networking confidence by providing opportunities for trainees to interact & build professional connections with established PIs in the field.

Potential conferences include:

Society for Neuroscience
The International Conference on Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Diseases
The International Conference on Frontotemporal Dementias

Journal Clubs, Seminars & Symposia

In order to expand the trainees’ knowledge base & critical thinking skills at multiple levels of analysis, trainees will regularly attend journal clubs, seminars & symposia offered on the UF campus. Formal courses may be chosen from graduate programs in Biomedical Sciences & Clinical Health Psychology.

In addition to formal courses, the University of Florida’s Health Science Center hosts a vibrant scientific community that fosters high caliber external speakers as well as offers platforms for internal researchers to present their recent findings. Examples of recent external speakers include Drs. Beverly Davidson, Roy Parker, Paul Taylor, & Aaron Gitler (prominent researchers in neurodegenerative diseases), Drs. Michela Gallagher & John Morrison (prominent researchers in cognitive aging) and Dr. David Gozal, an expert in sleep apnea. As part of the T32 program, trainees will have the opportunity to attend lunches and have individual meetings with both invited and internal  speakers relevant to ADRD research.

Individualized Career Development Plan (IDP)

All trainees will complete an Individualized Career Development Plan (IDP) annually. Upon completion of the IDP, trainees will meet with their primary mentor as well as with T32 Program Directors to discuss their individual training goals. The IDP will be used to customize theT32 training framework to individual research & career development goals in order to maximize benefit to each student.  

Large Scale, Open Source Data & its Integration into ADRD Research

Through lectures in core coursework and special training sessions, trainees will be introduced to real world examples of large scale, open source data available for ADRD study cohorts.  Informed by these national databases (ADNI, AMP-AD, & M2OVE-AD), T32 mentors will lead lectures & discussions on neuropsychological evaluation, neuroimaging diagnostics, biomarkers & drug development and will review the fundamentals of DNA & RNA purification, sequencing, SNP analysis, GWAS, epigenomic, RNAseq, & proteomics. Trainees and mentors will discuss recently published data and the potential of such databases to contribute to our understanding and eventual treatment of ADRD.