After a productive first funding period, we submit this competitive renewal application for the NIAID-funded T32, "Virology Training Grant". Knowledge gained from research in virology has led to many fundamental insights about basic cellular processes such as replication, transcription, translation, mechanisms of oncogenesis, and host immunity. Viruses are important pathogens that contribute greatly to human misery and death. At the University of Wisconsin, virology is a major focus of study, with over 20 well-funded virology faculty studying a wide variety of viruses, from those that infect plants and insects, to those that cause human cancer. Additional vibrant areas of research include studies on emerging viruses such as Ebola and new strains of highly pathogenic influenza virus. An effort to develop an integrated virology training program in Madison began over 20 years ago with the creation of the Madison Virology Program by Drs. Roland Rueckert and Howard Temin. This T32 is the cornerstone of our training program for predoc and postdoc trainees interested in all aspects of virology on this campus. Highlights of our training program's training activities includes an extensive virology curriculum, a campus wide weekly Molecular Virology Seminar series attended by all trainers and trainees with specific mentoring activities associated with it,a multifaceted approach to career development that emphasizes acquisition of skills in writing grants and manuscripts as well as in oral presentations, training in ethics, and an annual, program-wide virology retreat. Predoc and postdoc trainees participate in all training activities, present yearly seminars, are trained in ethics, and, in the case of predocs, obtain a minor focused on virology. In addition to the campus wide seminar series and retreat, there are many collaborative projects between virology labs on campus as well as interlab group meetings that foster the exchange of ideas. Progress of each trainee is monitored at multiple levels through yearly seminars, yearly evaluations by the training grant's Steering Committee, as well as interactions with the individual mentor and programmatic oversight by the co-Directors and the administrative assistant. Our ability to attract outstanding predoc trainees is reflected in our campus being ranked 3rd in the nation in the field of Microbiology. We recruit outstanding predoc and postdoc trainees to our labs through a combination of the individual strength of each of the trainer's research program, the breadth of the opportunities in virology, our organizing and hosting virology meetings in Madison that bring to Madison students from across the US who get to experience first hand our academic community, and our highly successful minority recruiting efforts. Our strong record of achievement in training virologists, with one third of pas trainees from our labs now holding faculty positions and >90% working in the biomedical sciences, provides strong evidence for our capability to train the next generation of outstanding virologists.
Training the next generation of virologists is critical to our national ability to deal with existing as well as emerging diseases caused by viruses. The study of viruses also continues to provide key new insights into basic principles in biology. The UW-Madison campus continues to be a leader in the field of virology research with strengths in the study of human tumor viruses, plant and animal RNA viruses, SIV/HIV, influenza virus, as well as emerging, highly pathogenic viruses.
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