This application is a request for continued support of a predoctoral and postdoctoral training program in parasitology and vector biology at Yale University. Since its inception in 1991, the goal of the program has been to provide trainees with both a strong intellectual foundation through coursework and rigorous experimental training in areas that take molecular, cellular, immunological, epidemiological and ecological approaches to the study of pathogens and their vectors. To achieve this goal, the philosophy of the program is to bring together all faculty at Yale interested and actively researching helminths and vector-borne diseases (21 faculty in total). Consequently, trainees have the unique opportunity to study a number of vector-borne diseases from both a parasite and vector perspective, including Malaria, African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, West Nile virus, human ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. This campus-wide platform provides the richest and broadest possible training environment for our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and fosters connections that transcend departmental boundaries. Indeed, the training faculty has a strong history of working together collaboratively in research and teaching. A second distinctive aspect of the training program is the opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to work with scientists from endemic countries and receive training in Africa, Asia and South America through funded research programs and ongoing collaborative projects. The majority of former trainees in the program are pursuing a career directly related to research or education in public health, medical or biological fields. Finally, Yale has made substantial commitments to training in parasitology and vector biology by providing first-year support to incoming students, by renovating extensive research space for training faculty and through hiring of new faculty, as well as promotions of current program faculty at the junior and senior levels.
Vector-borne and helminthic diseases remain a major public health concern worldwide. The Yale training program in parasitology and vector biology is focused on educating and mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for a career as independent investigators tackling important and cutting-edge problems of public health relevance.
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