Features of Our Program

  • Stroke trainees engage in supervised research with a program preceptor and complete elective courses and program activities tailored to their particular needs.
  • Stroke trainees are provided $28,000 annual stipends, full tuition waivers and student health insurance.

Stroke — like many brain diseases — is clearly associated with aging and a plethora of age-related co-morbid conditions, including cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), multi-infarct dementia, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, immune suppression, metabolic syndrome and obesity, sleep deprivation and depression.

However, age-related co-morbid conditions, as a variable in stroke occurrence, severity and long-term recovery is seldom studied experimentally, but is one of the identified factors in the lack of progress in the discovery of new therapies for acute stroke brain damage.

To optimize the impact of our research on the discovery of new preventatives, acute treatments and rehabilitation methods for stroke, we need to train the next generation of stroke researchers to assess stroke in the context of the affected patent population: those who are elderly and have multiple co-morbid conditions.

The Stroke and Its Co-morbidities Predoctoral Training Program will formalize and standardize our already strong training programs in the biomedical sciences and focus on stroke research. A number of innovative aspects of this training program are semester-long didactic courses in “Stroke” and the “Neurobiology of Aging”, a clinical immersion in our WVU Stroke Center, a Neuroscience Emerging Research Discoveries in Stroke (NERDS) journal club, an Associate Scholars Program, and experience in community engagement.

The proposed training program will select the best PhD students from the participating Biomedical Sciences Training programs at the West Virginia University (WVU) Health Science Center (WVU HSC) and will prepare them with the skills, knowledge and acumen needed for a successful career in stroke research. The specific training for each of six mentees will be tailored based on their annually updated Individualized Development Plan (IDP), and an “Exploring Career Paths” Program will help prepare them for their chosen career. Program training is expected to last two-to-three years.

This pre-doctoral training program will create a new generation of young scholars who can address the need for innovative stroke research for the citizens of West Virginia and the nation.

A National Institutes of Health T32 Training Program, Stroke and its Co-Morbidities is led by principal investigator Dr. Jim Simpkins.

Training activities for the program include:

  1. NERDS group meetings and Neuroscience Emerging Research Discoveries in Stroke interest group — This monthly meeting will provide opportunities to share research results and to examine new literature related to stroke.
  2. Clinical immersion — Trainees will observe care of patients with stroke and to understand the clinical decision making that is needed for proper care.
  3. Neurobiology of Aging course — To be offered in the summer semesters. 
  4. Stroke: Bench to Bedside to Community course – To be offered in the spring semesters. 

Admissions

Students currently enrolled in PhD programs in the Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Psychology, Biology, Public Health, Pharmaceutical Sciences, as well as the joint MD/PhD scholars program, may apply to the Stroke Training program. Application can occur as early as the end of the first year in graduate school.

View Admissions

National Institute on Aging (T32 AG052375)

Program Contacts

A photo of James Simpkins.
James W Simpkins, PhD
West Virginia University
Positions
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Professor, Physiology and Pharmacology
Phone
304-293-7430

WVU is an R1: Doctoral University, the highest research activity as described by the Carnegie classification of institutes of higher education.