Mentored Investigator Program
The MIP recruits, supports, and follows the progress of graduate students, postdoctoral (Ph.D. or M.D.) fellows, and junior faculty in disciplines relevant to HNRC research. The objectives of the program is to assist enrollees with research training and experience in neuroAIDS through:
- Matching of trainees with appropriate faculty mentors and monitoring the process to encourage effective interactions and career development;
- Referral to and support for formal courses in methodology directly relevant to their research projects;
- Mentoring in the design, data collection, analysis, presentation and publication of research studies and in the process of developing and submitting peer reviewed grant proposals;
- Small grants or other aid to support their HNRC-related projects.
Questions about the Mentored Investigator Program
Who does the HNRC Train?
The HNRC is committed to tailoring our training opportunities to the backgrounds and interests of candidates from a variety of disciplines who join us with various levels of training and experience in research. We have and will continue to provide training and mentoring of medical students, doctoral students in clinical psychology, and postdoctoral fellows in Medicine, Psychiatry, Neurology, and Psychology.
What Kind of Training Opportunities Are Available?
The length, intensity, and financial support of training at the HNRC is flexible. Commitments may range from brief (a few months) to several years, from part- to full-time, from voluntary to salaried. The goal may be a student M.D or Masters degree thesis, a Ph. D. thesis project, or an expanded post-doctoral training experience through involvement with several major studies. Salary support for post-doctoral fellows is available through a number of NIH and private fellowship programs. The HNRC Developmental Core has funds committed to the support of small pilot projects and supplemental training.
UCSD provides formal training in research methods thru its CTAS-sponsored Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI). This UCSD extension-affiliated clinical research training program awards both Certificates (20 academic hours) and Master degrees (36 academic hours) in Clinical Research. These two programs, called "Clinical Research Enhancement Through Supplemental Training" (CREST, http://crest.ucsd.edu/) and “Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research” (MAS-CR), are designed for the working professional in any biomedical discipline, requiring only two hours a week in class. UCSD-affiliated students receive a substantial discount in tuition, but the program is open to community members with the appropriate background in a clinical discipline.
In addition, advanced courses in UCSD graduate schools and seminar series in a variety of scientific areas abound in the rich research environment at and surrounding UCSD (the Salk, Scripps, Burnham, and many other research institutes are less than a mile from the UCSD campus in La Jolla).
Who has the HNRC Trained and What Have They Achieved?
Over the past 10 years, 50 trainees have participated in training with various HNRC investigators. Of this group, 42% have been of ethnic minority background. A significant number of these trainees continue with successful research careers. For example, three investigators, who trained with the HNRC prior to 2000, S. Walden Miller, Ph.D. Jennifer Manly, Ph.D., (both African American) and Mariana Cherner, Ph.D. (Latina) have continued to attract independent funding. Dr. Miller received a National Research Service Award, and obtained NIMH and NIA R01 grant funding for two projects on neuropsychological norms for African Americans, based on preliminary work at the HNRC. As a graduate student Dr. Manly received a Ford Foundation fellowship for her work on coping and neuropsychological functioning in HIV. She currently holds a faculty position at Columbia University and is the recipient of several R01 grants from NIA. Dr. Cherner received R03 funding from NIMH in the form of a dissertation grant while she was a graduate student training at the HNRC and was later awarded a minority supplement when she first joined the faculty at UCSD. Since then, she has was been awarded an R03 grant from NIMH/NIDA to explore effects of MDMA use in HIV, and an R01 grant to study the functional and cognitive impact of HIV in Spanish speakers. A recent postdoctoral fellow, Monica Rivera Mindt, Ph.D. also received support from NIMH in the form of a minority supplement while training at the HNRC. She now holds faculty appointments at Fordham University and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. A recent graduate student in clinical psychology, Raul Gonzalez, obtained funding for his graduate work from the San Diego Fellowship, followed by a NIDA minority supplement to study the neurocognitive effects of combined methamphetamine and alcohol abuse. He is currently a post-doctoral research associate in Neuropsychology, Cognitive & Addictions Neurosciences at the University of Illinois. We have recently also supported an African American UCSD graduate, Michelle Collins, who is attending medical school at Yale University.
Recent examples of trainees who have now become junior faculty with independent peer-reviewed funding and/or practicing professionals include:
- Mariana Cherner, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD)
- T. Dianne Langford, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, UCSD)
- David Moore, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD)
- Julie Rippeth, Ph.D. (Clinical Neuropsychologist, Psychology Department, Walter Reed Army Medical Center)
- Monica Rivera-Mindt, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of Pathology,Psychology, Fordham U. and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NYC)
- Joseph Sadek, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico; Staff Neuropsychologist, VA Medical Center)
- Brian Schweinsburg, Ph.D. (Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale; Clinician, VA Medical Center)
- Michael Taylor, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD)
- Steven Woods, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD)