CRANIOFACIAL ORAL-BIOLOGY STUDENT TRAINING IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH (COSTAR)
This application is for renewal of the T32 comprehensive institutional research-training grantCOSTAR (Craniofacial Oral-Biology Student Training in Academic Research). Building onlongstanding institutional research training experience, COSTAR has trained 26 DDS/PhDstudents, 41 PhD students, 26 Post-doctoral Fellows, 4 faculty fellows, and 147 summer dentalstudent research fellows since first funded in 2002. Our outcome measures since 2002 indicatean outstanding training environment, as documented by publication of 314 peer reviewed papersby trainees, including Nature and PNAS, and 41 trainees (67%) receiving and transferring toindividual NIH awards (F30, F31, F32, K08, K23, or R21) or equivalent fellowships. Our trackingof former advanced degree COSTAR trainees, graduates, and fellows shows an exemplary rate(82%) of retention in research settings, including academic or scientist positions or continuedpostdoctoral research training. The COSTAR program has made great strides in promotingdiversity with recruitment of 44% underrepresented minority and 73% women trainees. Basedupon these objective measures of success and our continual self-assessment process, wepropose a renewal for an additional five-year period of support. Our focused goal remainsdevoted to train a cadre of highly skilled, interactive scientists who can successfully address thenew opportunities in dental, oral, and craniofacial research and become a part of the futureacademic faculty in US dental schools. The COSTAR program will offer three integrated trainingtracks:1) DDS/PhD program, 2) PhD program, and 3) Basic or Clinical-translational Postdoctoralresearch fellowships. These three training tracks are provided in three integrated thematic areasby a highly selected, research intensive, and collaborative, Program Faculty representing thebest mentors across the Dental, Medical, and Graduate Schools at UTHSCSA, and united bytheir shared interest in Craniofacial Oral Biology research.Thus, COSTAR serves as a strong institutional nexus for an exceptional multi- and inter-disciplinary research and training environment further enhancing the institutional infrastructurefor research in Craniofacial Oral Biology. Highly motivated and dedicated students and fellowswho are selected for research training in the COSTAR program will participate in a series ofCOSTAR core courses and experiences that are integrated with programs across the DentalSchool and the campus at large. Importantly, COSTAR-sponsored activities yield a strongprogrammatic identity, collaboration, and networking among trainees. Trainee developmenttowards research independence and future success in academic research will be encouraged bysuccessful submission of applications for individual awards. By formally developing, a trackingand analyzing plan focused on continuously improving our training program, the COSTARLeadership Council and Advisory Boards provide an optimal environment for research training ofnew scientists in Craniofacial Oral Biology following the tradition of our long-tem success inacademia of former trainees at the UTHSCSA.