The Infectious Diseases Training Program is in its 34th year. The objective is to provide a rich interdisciplinary experience in infectious diseases research in order to prepare our trainees for careers as independent investigators. The cornerstone is the side-by-side education of predoctoral, M.D. and Ph.D. postdoctoral fellows. The rationale is that integration of clinical and basic science provides the varied perspectives and techniques required for creative research to combat infections. The design includes a an Executive Committee that selects predoctoral trainees from a pool of rising 2nd year graduate students, and selects postdoctoral applicants based on nominations from both mentors and the Infectious Diseases Division. Training is enriched by the monthly Research in Progress for trainees chaired by the Director, graduate courses taught by Program faculty, MS &MPH degrees in clinical investigation, seminars, research day, annual faculty retreat and journal clubs. Trainees are also taught the responsible conduct of research and are provided instruction in grant writing and laboratory and project management. The 27 faculty are 96% NIH supported (mean annual direct costs $852,000), interactive, senior (18/26 full Professors, although select "up and coming" junior faculty are included), from 8 Departments, with 20 PhDs, 11 MDs, and 1 DVM. The average mentor trained 7 pre- and 9 postdocs in the last 10 years, 94% of whom remain in research. Evaluation of the Program includes an annual faculty retreat, trainee and graduate questionnaire and External Advisory Committee site visits. Institutional support includes funding of all 1st year predoctoral fellows, the seminar series, and construction of a new research building occupied last year by 53% (16/27) of mentors. NIH support is requested for 5 predoctoral, 5 M.D. and 2 Ph.D. postdoctoral fellows (no change from the prior funding period). The average matriculated predoctoral student in Infectious Diseases Program has GRE scores of 570/704/4.7 and a grade point average of 3.63. Admission is highly competitive, with only 31% (5/16) of rising 2nd year predoctoral trainees accepted by the Program in 2010 despite their expressed interest in infectious diseases and their excellent qualifications. Progress since the last funding period includes 100% retention of trainees in the Program, and a 24% increase in mentor extramural support. 97% of predoctoral and 90% of postdoctoral fellows graduates in the last 10 years remain in research. Peer-reviewed original publications average 3.5 for graduating fellows. Underrepresented minorities comprise 15% of postdoctoral fellows for both the last 5 and 10 years, and 28% (5/18) and 25% (5/20) of predoctoral fellows supported for the last 5 and 10 respectively (including for predocs individuals with disabilities and disadvantaged). For the 10 year period, 21% of trainees are under-represented minority, disabled or disadvantaged. Academic and research positions are held by 84% (21/25) of postdoctoral and 95% (19/20) of predoctoral graduates, and 7 K awards and 3 individual fellowships have been awarded.
The Program prepares fellows to conduct research on infectious diseases, a paramount threat to international health in the 21st century.
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