The University of Pittsburgh's Pitt AIDS Research Training (PART) Program will be administered under the leadership of the Program Director, Dr. Todd Reinhart, with assistance from an internal steering committee and an external advisory committee. The current program has been training predoctoral students for four years and during this fifth year of training, we are seeking to renew the NIH support for the program. During this time we have trained or are continuing to train a total of 15 PhD students for periods of one to two years each. This proposal is for support to allow the PART Program to build upon the success of the first period of the award and continue to support the predoctoral training of HIV/AIDS researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Rigorous training in both the process and content of HIV/AIDS research will be maintained and expanded. Continued efforts will be made to recruit and train the best and brightest students in the laboratories of our productive HIV/AIDS faculty members. These faculty members span multiple cross-cutting programs with appointments in mostly two departments: (1) the Department of Infectious Diseases &Microbiology in the Graduate School of Public Health;and (2) the Department of Microbiology &Molecular Genetics in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The majority of students will continue to be registered either in the IDM PhD program or in the Molecular Virology and Microbiology PhD program within the broader School of Medicine Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program. In the next training period, the PART Program will give specific attention to developing the leadership skills of PART trainees through the formal study of leadership theory and practice. Preparing the future generation of scientist requires not only an understanding of how to perform research, but the critical social contexts in which this occurs. This social context for these high-quality trainees will ultimately involve leadership positions and there is a tremendous gap in the extent to which researchers are being taught about leadership. With emphasis on high-quality research, with a foundation of excellent didactic coursework, and in a world-class HIV/AIDS research environment, PART trainees will be prepared for leadership roles at the postdoctoral and independent investigator levels.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues and solid, innovative, and well-led research is required to continue to face this challenge. The PART Program will continue to train PhD level investigators in a multi-disciplinary environment so that they are prepared to perform and lead basic HIV/AIDS research and contribute to the fight against this infectious disease.
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