Vascular Medicine Institute
University of Pittsburgh
BST E1240
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-383-5853
Fax: 412-648-5980

Postdoctoral Training Program in Translational Pulmonary Vascular Biology


Training Synopsis

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine supports a two year postdoctoral program entitled Translational Pulmonary Vascular Biology funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).  The Program is intended for M.D. and Ph.D. fellows from fields of pulmonary and cardiovascular science.  The Program features initial development of a ‘translational research tool set, individually-prescribed development plan, paired mentorship teams of basic and clinical researchers,  patient-orientated exposure, emphasis on high impact publications, and preparation of a career development award (K-series or equivalent). 

‘Translational Research Tool-Set’:  Immersion in an initial core competency training period in translational research including an intensive 2-week accelerated introduction to bench-to-bedside research and laboratory techniques at the University of Pittsburgh and an introduction to understanding and managing regulatory issues for human and animal research.  Throughout the first six months, trainees will complete the ‘Introduction to Translational Research’ (CLRES 2140) course offered through the CTSI.  A unique aspect of our translational training is the incorporation of full-time elective rotations at the FDA, intramural NIH Clinical Center Regulatory and Pharmacy Development Program, and Industry.  This intensive exposure allows the trainee to develop the elemental tools for translational research: basic science methodology, clinical translational methodologies, and key regulatory tools.

Mentored Translational Research:  A two-year intensive training fellowship with our translationally-oriented vascular biology mentors.  The fellowship mentorship will include a basic-science oriented mentor paired with a clinical-science oriented mentor which allows for comprehensive training in basic science with the necessary application to the clinical and patient environment.  Projects will require the learning of cutting edge scientific methodologies (e.g. mass spectrometry, flow cytometry, molecular biology, etc.) applied to a clinical problem, leading to potentially novel therapeutic approaches or clinical studies in patients (e.g. development of human subjects protocols for specimen collection, pharmacological infusions, or development of patient cohorts or interventions).  In addition to the two-year fellowship, an optional third year will be offered to allow for advanced career development.

Patient Oriented Research:  Intensive exposure to research programs focused on pulmonary vascular biology and advanced lung diseases complicated by pulmonary hypertension, including those diseases which predominantly affect minority populations (e.g. sickle cell-associated pulmonary hypertension).  Trainees’ projects (including Ph.D.s) will be linked to an active disease-specific outpatient half-day a week clinic in our large Falk Comprehensive Lung Clinic, which will allow direct exposure to patients with the disease being studied.  This is expected to enhance knowledge of the clinical disease, augment patient enrollment in specific trials, and provide for continued human subjects training through all years of the fellowship.

Research Project: Each trainee will be expected to complete at least one major research project during the training program.  Ideally, the project will provide the basis for subsequent NIH grant applications such as an F32 or K series career development award.  Each Fellow is also expected to publish a minimum of 2-3 peer-reviewed papers (with at least one as first author) within the two year training period.

Individualized Development Plan:  Trainees are likely to enter the Program with varying degrees of experience and sophistication in research methods, design, and statistics.  Therefore, formal coursework will need to be individualized for each trainee.  Examples of University of Pittsburgh courses most likely to be recommended for trainees are 1) CLRES 2010 Clinical Research Methods; 2) CLRES 2020 Biostatistics: Statistical Approaches in Clinical Research; 3) CLRES 2040 Measurement in Clinical Research; and 4) CLRES 2050 Ethics and Regulation of Clinical Research.  Typically, one or two of the courses per year will be required for each trainee based on individual needs.

Evaluation:  Each Fellow will present an oral progress report to the Training Committee annually, to facilitate evaluation of progress and focus in future direction.  Written evaluations by trainees and mentors will be completed each year.  More frequent informal education is recommended.

Program Leadership:
Program Director: Mark Gladwin, MD
Program Co-Directors: Chris O’Donnell, PhD, Bruce Freeman, PhD

Training Faculty: Timothy Billiar, Bruce Freeman, Mark Gladwin, Jeffrey Isenberg, Michael Mathier, Alison Morris, Anne Newman, Karen Norris, Chris O’Donnell, Patrick Pagano, Bruce Pitt, Steven Reis, Frank Sciurba, Steven Shapiro, Brian Zuckerbraun


Click HERE to apply for the Postdoctoral Training Program in Translational Pulmonary Vascular Biology.