Penn Neurosurgery was awarded a National Institute's of Health (NIH) Brain Injury Training Grant (BITG) in 2003. The continuing principal aim of the BITG is to provide an excellent mentoring environment for MD and PhD trainees to prepare them for careers in nervous system injury research. Penn trainees acquire basic science research skills that address the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of injury to the nervous system, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and cerebral ischemia (stroke).
This program has already catapulted trainees into professional positions where they are pursuing careers as clinicians and basic scientists studying injury to the nervous system. Of the 20 trainees to complete post-doctoral training through the BITG, eight have already secured positions as tenure-track assistant professors at prestigious academic institutions. During their training, these individuals produced an impressive number of publications and received multiple awards.
Furthermore, the intellectual and administrative infrastructure formed around this grant has enabled additional trainees to successfully secure individual NRSA (F31/32) awards and other forms of support. The Brain Injury Training Grant has made a significant impact on many individuals who are now pursuing careers in brain injury research.
A very unique feature of the BITG is the diversity of disciplines amongst the mentors' laboratories, all focused on nervous system injury research. Due in part to the remarkable proximity of schools and departments at the University of Pennsylvania, there is a long history of multidisciplinary collaborations spanning cell biology, molecular biology, neuropathology, neurology, neuroanatomy, cognitive science, neuroimaging and neuropharmacology. These integrated resources continue to enable trainees to develop a multidisciplinary approach to training in the investigation of injury to the nervous system.