The primary goal of the Research Education Component (REC) is to identify, attract, and promote the career development of ADRD investigators. The PITT-ADRC REC assumes primary responsibility for executing the Center’s bold vision for advancing the ADRD research workforce with a particular emphasis on cultivating the growth of our field’s future leaders.
Howard Aizenstein, MD, PhD
The inclusion and promotion of junior investigators in multiple areas of dementia research within our PITT-ADRC is an important responsibility of our senior faculty.
With over a dozen federally funded training programs (T32s) in the neurosciences and/or aging, the University of Pittsburgh has the infrastructure for scientific mentoring and a critical mass of trainees – both basic and clinical – with an interest in ADRD research. Through participation in the aforementioned training programs and/or one-on-one mentorship by a senior investigator, early stage investigators at Pitt have many excellent opportunities to develop their skills in clinical and basic research methodology, grant writing, and manuscript preparation. We plan to leverage these existing resources for career development at the University of Pittsburgh by providing an additional centralized program of ADRD-specific research mentoring and an innovative pathway for the development ADRD research leadership through the Optimizing Scientific Careers in AD Research (OSCAR) scholars program.
The REC is tightly integrated with the Center’s cores. We view research training through a primarily apprenticeship model, where the trainees develop through one on one work with their mentors, many of whom are participating faculty in other cores of the ADRC. The REC will enhance the research education occurring in the cores by coordinating trainee-wide activities, individualizing curriculum (especially in matching clinical research activities), and devoting administrative support to organizing events, matching mentees with mentors, and developing centralized resources for navigating the complex clinical research and regulatory environment of ADRD research.
The REC will have a large and sustained impact on the field by training new leaders. This leadership is essential for meeting the expanding needs of the growing ADRD research work force. The innovative OSCAR ADRC core leader training program can become a model for research education and leadership training across the ADC network.
The OSCAR Scholars Program
OSCAR Scholars participate in ADRD-specific leadership development activities and a leadership apprenticeship with an ADRC Core Leader or Associate Leader.
Current OSCAR Scholars
Mary Ackenbom, MD, MS
Brandon McKinney, MD, PhD
Tharick Pascoal, MD, PhD
Kristine Wilckens, PhD
Bistra Iordanova, PhD
Helmet Karim, PhD
Thomas Pearce, MD, PhD
C. Elizabeth Shaaban, PhD
Andrea Weinstein, PhD