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The 2012 Clinical Neuroscience Scholars pose with organizers and supporters of the new program. From left are Kale Edmiston, Scholar; Mary Partin, CEO of the Dan Marino Foundation; Justin Siemann, Scholar; Mark Wallace, Ph.D.; Amy Palubinsky, Scholar; Jennifer Vega, Scholar; Susan Wente, Ph.D.; Juliane Krueger, Scholar; David Charles, M.D.; and BethAnn McLaughlin, Ph.D. Not pictured: Olga Dadalko, Scholar. (photo by Raymond Johnson)

Neuroscience training links bench, bedside

BY: BILL SNYDER

5/17/2012 - Vanderbilt University has established a unique program to expose neuroscience graduate students to the clinic, and clinical residents and fellows in Psychiatry, Neurosurgery and Neurology to the research lab.

The goal of the new Clinical Neuroscience Scholars Program, announced last week, is to “provide a series of bridges for our trainees between the basic sciences and the clinical endeavor,” said Mark Wallace, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute.

This year six neuroscience graduate students have been matched with clinical mentors in autism, stroke, neurovascular intervention, psychiatry and child psychiatry.

They will be joined in July by three residents and clinical fellows who will be matched with mentors in the basic sciences.

The scholars will receive stipends to attend scientific meetings and cover their research and other related expenses. The program is supported entirely by grants from the Sue and Walter Scott Jr. Foundation and from the Dan Marino Foundation, which also funds the Marino Autism Research Institute at Vanderbilt.

“The (graduate) students are thrilled to have an opportunity to get into the clinic,” said BethAnn McLaughlin, Ph.D., assistant professor of Neurology and one of the program organizers. “They come back into the lab far more energized and excited about their research, knowing they’re putting those faces of families and patients with the work that they’re doing.”

The 2012 Clinical Neuroscience Scholars were introduced during a ceremony last week led by Wallace and Susan Wente, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research and senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences, and attended by Dan Marino Foundation CEO Mary Partin.

The scholars and their clinical mentors are:

• Kale Edmiston, who is working with Kevin Sanders, M.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics;

• Jennifer Vega, who is working with William Petrie, M.D., professor of Clinical Psychiatry;

• Justin Siemann, who is working with Beth Malow, M.D., the Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood Development and professor of Neurology and Pediatrics;

• Olga Dadalko, who is working with Neil David Woodward, Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry;

• Amy Palubinsky, who is working with Lori Jordan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Neurology and Pediatrics; and

• Juliane Krueger, who is working with Peter Konrad, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Neurological Surgery.

In addition to Wallace and McLaughlin, the program’s executive committee includes David Charles, M.D., vice chair of Neurology and chief medical officer of the Vanderbilt Clinical Neurosciences Institute, and Robert Singer, M.D., assistant professor of Neurological Surgery and director of the J.B. Marshall Laboratory for Neurovascular Therapeutics.

The Clinical Neuroscience Scholar Program is a collaborative endeavor between the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology and the Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

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