This revised application seeks continued support at the pre-doctoral and post-doctoral level for a Training Program in Molecular Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis (MMMP) at the University of Michigan. In the MMMP Ph.D. training program, students select thesis advisors from among a number of trainers whose research covers broad aspects of infection and immunity. Trainers are bacteriologists, virologists, immunologists, cell biologists and biochemists who use a range of tools to study microbial pathogenesis and the host response. An interdisciplinary Ph.D. curriculum covers basic topics such as biochemistry, genetics and cell biology and other elective courses, as well as required courses in bacterial and viral pathogenesis, pathology, and immunology. All trainees (both pre- and post-doctoral) participate in a research seminar course (Microbiology and Immunology 812) and an MMMP Program-specific course called "Science in the Clinics", which correlates the molecular and cellular mechanisms of pathogenesis with pathophysiology and symptomology of infectious disease. Attendance at ID Grand Rounds is included in this course. A Program-sponsored seminar series entitled "Young Investigators in Pathogenesis" brings investigators from other institutions to Michigan to present their work and discuss their career paths with MMMP trainees. MMMP pre-doctoral candidates are recruited from the larger pool of graduate applicants to the University of Michigan, based on their background and interest in pathogenesis. Before the end of their first year at Michigan, MMMP Program trainees will join the comprehensive program of coursework and research leading to a Ph.D. The vast majority of MMMP trainees obtain their Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology, although a small number obtain their degrees in cognate disciplines such as Cell and Molecular Biology or Epidemiology. Post-doctoral candidates will be recruited to the program through two mechanisms: i) by identifying graduate students elsewhere who are publishing in the field of microbial pathogenesis and inviting them to visit Michigan to consider post-doctoral work in the MMMP Program and ii) from among those nominated by mentors in the Program.
The trainees in this program constitute the next generation of investigators in the field of microbial pathogenesis. They have the potential to make important contributions by uncovering new knowledge about infectious diseases and/or translating knowledge to new diagnostics and therapeutics, thereby having a significant positive influence on public health.
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