This is a request for continued funding to support a comprehensive predoctoral NRSA Training Program in Viral Replication at Northwestern University. The goal of this program is to train highly motivated students to be independent investigators in the areas of Viral Replication. Diseases caused by viral infection remain major health problems and new emerging viruses such as SARS, West Nile, monkeypox, bird flu, and Ebola have created significant concerns in the health community worldwide. In addition, the threat of using viral agents for bioterrorism has recently become a reality. Given the significance of these health issues and the potential threat of bioterrorism, virology continues to be an important area for study and the training of young scientists in the field of virology is of high priority. Northwestern has major research and training strengths in the areas of virology and this proposal seeks to expand the training program for predoctoral students by obtaining funding from the NIAD for a Viral Replication Training Grant (VRTG). All VRTG students will receive formal coursework and training in fundamental aspects of virology, as well as exposure to the vast body of research on cell and molecular biology. Students will also receive formal training in allied fields including genetics, developmental biology, biochemistry and biophysics. While VRTG students come from three graduate programs and perform their thesis research in a variety of laboratories, they will share common experiences in the coursework, seminar programs, symposia, research meetings and career development forums that comprise the VRTG training program. In addition, students in the Medical Scientist Training Program who are in the graduate research phase of their training will also be eligible for support. The training program will be directed by a Steering/Education Committee with responsibilities for selection of high caliber candidates, tracking progress of trainees in the program and providing mentoring for new faculty members in the training of students. The program requests four predoctoral slots per year.
Viral infections continue to cause significant disease with the human population. Emerging viruses such as SARS, West Nile, monkey pox, and Ebola and the threat of the use of viruses as agents of bioterrorism create substantial need for the training of young scientists who are well versed in the basics of viral replication. This is the goal of the current Viral Replication Training Program (VRTG) at Northwestern.
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