The leadership and faculty of the NRI are dedicated to graduate and postdoctoral training in the basic mechanisms of brain development and particularly the application of this knowledge in furthering an understanding of disorders of the developing nervous system. To this end, a variety of training opportunities exist for interested students. One of these is the interdepartmental NIH-funded postdoctoral training program, "Multidisciplinary Training in Brain Disorders and Development." Information about this training program – including a list of training mentors and current and former trainees – can be found at: The Cain Foundation.
Another training opportunity is through the Developmental Brain Disorders Dinners. At least 6 times during the academic year, students and faculty of the NRI, the basic science faculty of the Department of Neuroscience, the clinical faculty of the Division of Child Neurology and other interested research faculty of Baylor meet to discuss the scientific and clinical challenges of a selected developmental brain disorder.
During dinner, 1-3 discussion leaders, who typically are members of the Baylor faculty, lead an informal discussion. Usually, a clinician begins the presentation by briefly describing the clinical features of the disorder. Then a research scientist reviews what is known about cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the condition. To promote an active and dynamic discussion and to facilitate the exchange of information among all the attendees, slide presentations are not used. Instead, the discussion leaders often use a whiteboard to clarify key points. Through these discussions, scientists learn more about childhood neurological disorders and clinicians are brought up-to-date on the most recent scientific discoveries. These dinners also promote networking and collaborations among students, clinicians and researchers.
Examples of topics from past dinners are:
- "Batten Disease: New Insights"
- "Ion Channel Genes in the Clinic"
- "Angelman Syndrome: Of Mice and Man"
- "Developmental Breathing Disorders: Molecules and Circuits"
- "New Models and New Therapies for Fragile X Syndrome"
Upcoming discussion topics will include:
- "Mitochondrial Disorders: Cross-Species Approaches"
- "Targeting TORopathies"
- "Rethinking Critical Periods of Brain Development"
- "Copy Number Variants of the Alpha 7 Nicotinic Receptor in Neurologic Disease"