Penn has a vibrant program in Parasitology and between 1965 and 2004 the Graduate Group in Parasitology awarded approximately 75 Ph.D. degrees and 17 MS degrees. In 2004 a new Graduate Group, the Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology (MVP) program was formed. This has resulted in increased numbers of students with broad interests in Microbiology being exposed to course work devoted to understanding parasitic systems and increased numbers of students graduating from Parasitology laboratories. Members of this T32 program have diverse interests and study at least 11 different parasitic infections. There are several major research themes within this faculty that include immunoparasitology, cell and molecular biology of these organism, as well as their population biology. These form the underlying core of our program. The faculty participants in this proposal have primary appointments in 10 different departments within the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Arts and Sciences. In addition, in the last 10 years our faculty have served as advisors or sponsors for over 100 postdoctoral fellows and 90 graduate students. The majority of these trainees have gone on to successful careers in Parasitology or related disciplines. Each faculty member offers strong research training in a basic science discipline as it relates to Parasitology. As a group, we also offer didactic training in parasitology and provide an environment in which students and post-doctoral fellows will gain an appreciation for broader aspects of parasitic disease research. The goal of this program is to provide pre-doctoral students with strong research training in specific basic science disciplines in combination with broad training in parasitology. While faculty membership has changed over time, these overall goals remain the guiding principle of this training grant.
Half of the world's population live in malaria-endemic areas, two billion people on Earth are infected by soil-transmitted helminths while forgotten parasitic diseases that include leishmaniasis, filariasis, toxoplasmosis, and trypanosomiasis contribute to the public health burden. Despite the recognition that there is a need to study parasitic diseases, opportunities to get a broad education in this topic remain limited. The goal of this program is to provide pre-doctoral students with strong research training in specific basic science disciplines in combination with broad training in parasitology.
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