The aim of the proposed Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (BEID) training program is to produce independent investigators capable of sustaining productive research programs working with class A - C agents or agents of emerging diseases. This begins at the predoctoral level with broad, rigorous research training in the biology of infectious agents and the mechanisms by which these agents cause disease in animal models. Key strengths of the proposed training program include: 1) strong institutional intellectual and fiscal support for biodefense training from the central administration of the University of Florida (UF) plus additional, independent support from the three component colleges (Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine);2) established and recognized faculty with productive research programs in fundamental areas of microbial pathogenesis and animal models of human disease;and 3) a track record of training students who are currently conducting research in the areas of biodefense and emerging pathogens. The program comprises 11 faculty preceptors (bacteriologists, virologists, and parasitologists) from 5 departments within 3 colleges. The program faculty includes clinician scientists, providing integration of animal models as applied to human infectious disease. Predoctoral trainees will be recruited and initially trained in collaboration with the UF Interdisciplinary Program (IDP) in Biomedical Sciences. For BEID trainees, specialized training will be tailored to the scientific, legal, and regulatory aspects of working with Class A, B, and C agents and emerging disease pathogens. Predoctoral training encompasses approximately 5 years, including a first year of support from UF, an average of 2 years of support from the training grant and the remainder of support from the mentor's research grant or other external sources. The focus of the program will be to augment existing strengths at UF and provide trainees with additional background and skill sets necessary to conduct research directed towards biodefense and emerging diseases.
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