This proposal requests continued support for a multidisciplinary training program in Experimental Immunology. The past ten years of this Training Program have been successful as concluded by two external consultants. The T32 supported 30 pre-doctoral students, all but four of which remain in training, or are scientifically active. Of the 16 trainees who completed training during this time, all had peer-reviewed first authored publications;three hold college/university faculty positions;seven continue in excellent postdoctoral positions;two are in MD/PhD or residency programs;one teaches at a Math &Science academy (high school);and one does industrial research. The Training Program includes 15 well-funded faculty members with active research programs in innate immunity, adaptive immunity, host-microbe interactions, and immunological disorders. Faculty members are from the Departments of Microbiology &Immunology, Medicine (Infectious Diseases and Hepatology), Pathology, and Surgery. Several trainers are associated with The Oncology Institute and The Infectious Disease and Immunology Institute (InDII), research institutes dedicated to enhancing interactive, translational research. Dr. Katherine L. Knight, Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Co-director of InDII, is a highly regarded molecular immunologist with extensive pre-doctoral training experience, and will continue to be the Training Program Director. A training Program Committee and two outside consultants will assist Dr. Knight. The Training Program Committee will oversee the program, select pre-doctoral trainees, and review the progress of trainees. The outside consultants will provide general programmatic oversight. Pre-doctoral trainees will be selected after completion of their first or second year of study. Trainees will take a Core Curriculum during the first year, comprised of courses in Molecular Biochemistry, Cellular Biology, Systems Biology, Methods in Biomedical Research, Statistics, Bioethics, and oral communication skills. During year 1, they will do laboratory rotations and join a laboratory of their choice. During the second year, all students will take a series of elective didactic courses;students supported by the Immunology Training Program will take the journal article-based Advanced Immunology Course and two Immunology Topics Courses. In addition to becoming proficient immunologists, students are expected to become knowledgeable in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular genetics. Strong emphasis is placed on developing both oral and written communication skills. All trainees and program faculty are expected to attend the weekly Immunology Journal Club as well as immunology seminars in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, in the Oncology Institute, and in InDII. A strategy to recruit minority and economically underrepresented individuals is provided. All members of the program faculty are committed to excellence in training. The program faculty members interact extensively with students and with each other at regularly scheduled seminars, research-in-progress meetings, and at the annual Immunology Retreat.
We study host-microbe interactions using three different model systems. Results from the studies are expected to identify means to enhance immunity in neonates and in the elderly and also to identify reagents that can prevent and/or down-regulate disease caused by infectious diseases.
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