In the present application, we seek renewed support for the Immunology Research Training Program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Made possible through the initial award, the objective of the Immunology Research Training Program is to train scientists to study the immune system and its role in autoimmunity, infection and cancer. These research areas are addressed by the 30 faculty of the UCI Institute for Immunology (IFI), which, under the leadership of Dr. Paolo Casali, will provide the administrative and academic core for this training program. The IFI faculty will capitalize on the strengths of the existing integrated/umbrella Cellular and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) graduate program to articulate a vibrant training program. The strengths of the UCI Immunology Research Training Program include: 1) The highly structured training program and scientifically strong environment emanating from the IFI;2) The leadership and experience of the Program Director/PI, Dr. Paolo Casali, founder of the IFI, and former director of the NIH T32-supported Immunology Program at Weill Cornell Medical College, NY (1999-2003);3) the Preceptors/Mentors are established investigators in wide-ranging areas of immunology;4) the existing pool of predoctoral trainees, recruited from top-tier institutions, and the success of the Immunology Research Training Program in its first four years of existence in recruiting and attracting individuals from diverse populations;5) The strong training record of UCI Immunology Research Training Program in its first four years of existence, during which 9 pre-doctoral trainees and 2 postdoctoral trainees were supported and have been highly productive. For this second period of support (2010-2015), funding is sought for 6 pre-docs per year to accommodate more highly qualified predocs from our large recruitment pool. Importantly, the Graduate Division at UCI will also provide 1 additional slot upon funding of this application;thus, there is potential for 7 pre-doctoral students to be supported for immunology research. The existing strengths in immunology at UCI will be embellished through the proposed training program, and will promote the institution's long-standing mission to educate highly qualified graduate students in biomedical sciences.
Immunology is at its core a discipline that holds the keys to unlock some of humankind's most deadly and debilitating ailments. The Immunology Research Training Program at UCI seeks to train and develop the next generation of outstanding immunologists, scientists who will be at the forefront of discovery and application of knowledge about the immune system to ameliorate human disease.
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