This proposal is a competing renewal application for continuing support of a training program in the Molecular Biology of Eukaryotic Viruses, established at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 1988. The goal of this program is to train Ph.D. graduate students in the fundamental aspects of molecular virology as they relate to the regulation of gene expression, virus structure, virus-host interactions, and pathogenesis. During the past review period (9/07-8/13), ten predoctoral students were supported by this training program. An emphasis on research and training programs in the areas of viral modification of host cell functions, viruses requiring BSL3 containment, interdisciplinary research initiatives, and formal instruction in scientific writing is proposed for the next five yers. The number of faculty mentors for this program is 12, representing ten academic departments at UCI. Faculty members from these departments, along with those from other departments in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Medicine, participate in the Cellular and Molecular Biosciences Graduate Program (CMB) at UCI, which oversees recruitment, admission, and first-year training of predoctoral students. All of the NIH Virology Training Grant trainees are part of the Virology Track in the CMB program. This track is comprised of faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows, and laboratory staff who have shared research interests in virology and related disciplines. The Virology training program includes elective courses in viral gene expression, molecular pathogenesis of viral infections, and scientific writing, as well as a Virology Journal Club. The research programs of faculty participants include the study of viral genome replication and transcription, RNA processing, viral translation and protein processing, assembly and transport of viral structural proteins, and the structures of virus particles. The virology faculty are also studying virus-host interactions that include alteration of host regulatoy molecules, growth control, cell cycle regulation, the mechanisms of integration of viral genomes into host cell DNA, and the subversion of host functions for virus gene expression. The viruses/viral systems being studied include murine leukemia virus, a sheep retrovirus (JSRV), HIV, yeast Ty3, poliovirus, human rhinovirus, coxsackievirus, Dengue virus, mouse hepatitis virus, SARS coronavirus, arenaviruses, herpes simplex virus, vaccinia virus, and DNA bacteriophages.
The proposed program will train predoctoral students at the University of California, Irvine in a broad array of disciplines related to molecular virology. The program provides a research-based setting that includes formal coursework, seminar programs, research symposia, training in the handling of DNA and RNA viruses, training in the responsible conduct of research, and original laboratory research. This comprehensive training is intended to equip Ph.D. students with the necessary intellectual and research tools required for their future health-related careers in biotechnology, academia (including teaching), the pharmaceutical industry, and public health.
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