In response to increased concern about emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, particularly Class A-C agents that could be used as weapons of bioterrorism, the microbiology community at the University of Pennsylvania proposes to establish a Training Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The Training Program would initially support two Ph.D. and two M.D./Ph.D. or V.M.D./Ph.D. predoctoral fellows as well as three postdoctoral fellows, enabling them to work in any one of 14 laboratories directed by principle investigators who study important viral or parasitic pathogens that are classified as either emerging or re- emerging threats to human health. The trainers associated with this T32 proposal have been selected because their research programs in these areas are well established, being supported by NIH grants and/or having published papers on this topic. The trainers study a number of important viral and parasitic pathogens. Six of the trainers on this grant study smallpox proteins or are developing anti-vaccinia agents, and currently hold 1 R01, 2 R21 and 1 U01 grants to support work in this area (Isaacs, Rosengard, Cohen, Eisenberg, Friedman, Ricciardi). Four trainers on this grant study Ebola virus, holding 1 R01 and 2 R21 grants and having published several papers in the last two years (Bates, DoTs, Shen, Harty). Collaborations with colleagues at USAMRIID make it possible to perform experiments with live Ebola virus. Other important emerging viral diseases that are subjects of significant research efforts by the trainers include West Nile virus and Dengue (DoTs, Bates). Emerging and re-emerging parasitic diseases are the focus of research efforts by the trainers include Malaria, a major focus of the Roos laboratory which plays a major role in managing the Plasmodium genome project. Outbreaks of leishmaniasis (Scott) in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and other regions, have demonstrated increased incidence of old infections from a confluence of wars, population shifts, and development into little populated regions. Due to climactic changes and large-scale water resources development projects, there have been notable new outbreaks of schistosomiasis in previously unaffected areas (Pearce, Shen). Increased infections due to toxoplasma gondii have also been reported (Roos, Hunter). With time, we anticipate that other Penn investigators will join this training program as they shift their research focus to include emerging infectious diseases. The research opportunities provided by the trainers coupled with strong institutional commitment and an extensive and well organized training program will provide excellent training in emerging infectious diseases to students and postdoctoral fellows.

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)
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Mcsweegan, Edward
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University of Pennsylvania
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