This renewal application requests continued support for 6 predoctoral student training slots at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in virology, viral pathogenesis, viral vaccine development and gene therapy vectors, with a special emphasis on human pathogens. Objectives: The objectives of the virology training program are to provide laboratory-based training in virology coupled with the development of critical thinking and communication skills. In many cases training will include the use of biocontainment facilities. Rationale: Viruses will continue to be significant contributors to the global burden of disease far into the future. Thus there is a continuing need for expertise in the fundamental aspects of viral replication and pathogenesis. In addition, viruses represent important tools in vaccine development and gene therapy vectors. Design: We have created a three-semester series of courses for students training in virology, covering basic/molecular virology, viral pathogenesis, and special topics in virology. Students are challenged with this and other coursework, interpretation of the published literature, rigorous laboratory training, writing, and public presentation of their work in a variety of settings. Students also receive training in research ethics, and attend numerous seminars, symposia, and national meetings. Research Areas/Scientific Disciplines: The main focus is in viral pathogenesis, explored in cell culture, in organ culture, in animal models, and in clinical samples. Training experiences range from evolutionary biology, SARS CoV, HIV, alphaviruses, flaviviruses, herpesviruses, and more. Trainee Profile: Graduate students are recruited nationally from competitive universities and colleges. Students are supported with institutional funds in the first year, and will be supported by the training grant for 1 year at any point during years 2-4. In recognition of the importance of the Virology Training Program to the mission of the university an additional slot will be provided from institutional funds. Relevance: The goal of the training program is to train new generations of virologists in pathogenic mechanisms, important human pathogens, and the use of engineered viruses in vaccines and gene therapy development. These trainees will contribute to our capacity to deal with epidemic viruses, endemic viruses, or emerging viruses, to use viruses as tools, and to deal with viruses in the context of biodefense.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
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Mcsweegan, Edward
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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