This is a 3rd competitive renewal of a T32 training grant to support research on infectious disease (ID), inflammation, and immunology at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Health Sciences Center. The long-term goal remains: to provide state-of-the-art instructional and experiential training in infectious diseases and inflammation, scientific ethics, teaching, and a broader perspective of careers in science provided by outstanding investigators who sustain high impact research programs. In the 15 years since inception of the Infectious Disease and Inflammation Program (IDIP), the training has positively impacted graduate education at UNM and has increased visibility of ID and immunology research across our campus, and in the broader scientific community in the greater Albuquerque, NM area. UNM IDIP has provided 23 pre- and 13 postdoctoral trainees opportunities to engage in cutting edge, interdisciplinary and technology-centered research and learn from scientists with diverse and complementary areas of expertise. We have enjoyed substantial success recruiting underrepresented minorities (URM;e27% of trainees) and women (53%) to the program. In the past 10 years, 15/16 trainees (93.8%) have completed their PhD degrees, and most remain in scientific research. Of 12 prior postdoc trainees 10 (83.3%) have successfully transitioned to academic appointments or are continuing in academic science;58.3% are in faculty positions. Faculty appointments among our graduates, including URM, are at institutions such as the University of Arizona, the University of Texas-El Paso, Pineville College, the University of Vermont, and the University of New Mexico. An overriding IDIP objective continues to be the promotion of interactions among researchers and trainees who employ varied experimental approaches to study ID and host responses. Crossing departmental and institutional lines, the IDIP draws upon the expertise of 24 nationally funded primary mentors investigators with extensive collaborative interactions in terms of research grants, publications, and trainee mentoring. Eight mentors-in-training and other experts are included in the training faculty. Faculty resides in four School of Medicine departments, the UNM College of Pharmacy, the UNM department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute. Some have ties to the local Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Faculty trainers fall into four research themes: Translational Studies in ID and Immunity;Cell Biology of ID;Pathogenesis of ID &Inflammation;Bridging Technologies - use of cutting edge technologies to study ID. The IDIP will continue to support 4 pre- and 2 postdoctoral fellows per year, and will be overseen by committed mentors and productive scientists, Drs. Michelle Ozbun (Director) and Brian Hjelle (Associate Director), a training facult steering committee, and faculty with transdisciplinary expertise and an External Advisory Committee. All trainees will complete IDIP-specific courses in addition to their regular (predoctoral) course work including RCR, specific journal clubs, and works in progress sessions. The momentum of IDIP is poised to realize even greater impact with its far larger cadre of trainers and greater access to high-quality minority and non-minority students. Support for our program will yield substantial rewards, expanding the ranks of highly interdisciplinary young investigators.
This is a competitive renewal application for a very successful training program supporting predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees in research on infectious disease, inflammation, and immunology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Infectious diseases and immunopathologies are major public health problems, responsible for a large number of illnesses, and deaths in the United States, and worldwide. This training program aims to prepare highly skilled researchers whose work will meet the growing needs for lessening the burden of these public health problems in coming decades.
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