Funds are requested for renewal of a pre-doctoral Emerging and Tropical Infectious Diseases Training Program to support four trainees. Training is provided by 16 Program faculty. Emerging and tropical infectious diseases encompass the broad-based multidisciplinary sciences of microbiology, pathology, immunology, molecular biology, epidemiology, entomology, vertebrate zoology, biochemistry and cell biology, with this proposal focusing on "Vector-borne diseases". The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston has made a major commitment to emerging and tropical diseases, including designation as a WHO Collaborating Center for Tropical Diseases, which provides trainees of this program to a very attractive array of research areas and resources highly relevant to emerging and tropical infectious diseases. In addition, the faculty have current federal grant support for research on emerging infections and tropical diseases in the United States, Mexico, South America and Africa. Thus the trainees will have opportunities to undertake a variety of potential research topics from laboratory-based studies at UTMB to field studies in the tropics. Formal course work is completed in the first two years affording the trainee with a comprehensive background in infectious disease concepts;laboratory rotations familiarize the students with state-of-the-art technology and facilities, and orient them to potential future mentors. The students select mentors during the first and early part of the second year and prepare and defend a research dissertation topic in consultation with a research committee. The research is then conducted, culminating in the dissertation and defense. The pre-doctoral trainees have access to state-of-the-art facilities at UTMB including arthropod containment level (ACL) -2, ACL-3, BSL-3, animal BSL-3 and BSL-4. They participate in multiple research seminar series including Frontiers of Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine, and they present their own research results in the above and other Research-in-Progress seminar series. Most of the former trainees embark on post-doctoral fellowships, and assume positions of responsibility at medical and graduate schools, colleges and as staff of research institutes and industry.
Emerging and Tropical infections are important areas of public health. There are insufficient trained investigators to undertake research in these fields. This grant will address this shortage by training the outstanding investigators of the future in a dynamic training environment.
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