Although medical advances prolong the lives of many patients with otherwise debilitating or uniformly fatal diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, and organ or stem cell transplants, these medical interventions often compromise host defenses and immunity. Consequently, the incidence of opportunistic fungal infections continues to increase. The development of new antifungal drugs has improved the prognosis for many patients, but they have also fostered the emergence of new and more resistant pathogenic fungi. Thus, it is essential to recruit and train young scientists to develop rigorous independent careers focused on mycological research. The same mandate applies to research on fungal plant pathogens, which continue to reduce the global food supply. Other, non-pathogenic fungi serve as models for eukaryotic systems, and they have fostered profound discoveries and progress in the biomedical sciences and biotechnology. Indeed, progress in genomics and bioinformatics have enhanced the impact of fungal biology and increased the demand for scientists who are capable of applying these methods to model fungi. This application proposes a continuation of the multidisciplinary, tri-institutional Molecular Mycology and Pathogenesis Training Program (MMPTP), which was awarded five years ago. The MMPTP recruits, supports, and trains promising postdoctoral scientists and physicians to develop productive research careers in molecular mycology and pathogenesis. These trainees will become the future experts and leaders in broad areas of fungal research in academia, industry, and government. Candidates for training include recent doctoral graduates in biomedical sciences, physicians who have completed residency training, and scientists from other disciplines who want to apply their expertise to fungi. The participating faculty constitute perhaps the greatest concentration of researchers who study fungi. They share resources, interact regularly, and collaborate frequently. The MMPTP has been highly successful. Over the past five years, we have supported 14 trainees. All nine trainees who completed the program are employed as productive scientists in the USA. One is President of a microbiological diagnostics company, one is a governmental scientist, two are continuing postdoctoral research, and the other five are tenure-tract Assistant Professors at research universities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
Program Officer
Robbins, Christiane M
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Duke University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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