This is a revised application for support of a predoctoral training program in Virology at the University of Minnesota. The specific need for a training grant in the area of Virology has arisen from the efforts of an energetic and dynamic group of University of Minnesota faculty, who are all members of the Institute for Molecular Virology (IMV). The primary goal of this training grant application is to attract and educate predoctoral students with an interest in pursuing an independent research career. The 12 preceptors involved in this training program represent a highly enthusiastic mixture of senior and more junior faculty members that are strongly committed to the training of predoctoral students in Virology. All of the participating preceptors have trained and graduated at least 1 Ph.D. student and all have current federal grant support for their research programs. Several of the preceptors are accomplished leaders in their research areas, while others are rising stars. The overarching research theme of the training program is virus-host cell interactions, which encompasses 1) mechanisms of viral replication and restriction and 2) molecular pathogenesis. Predoctoral students who seek training in Virology enroll in the Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MlCaB) Graduate Program or the Molecular, Cellular and Structural Biology (MCSB) Graduate Program. Students will take graduate level courses in cell and molecular biology and obtain rigorous and intensive coursework in Virology. Predoctoral students will be chosen for this training program from a pool of MICaB and MCSB students, typically in their second or third year of training, by a competitive selection process. Students will be supported for up to 3 years. Students supported by the training program will participate in IMV research-in-progress meetings, IMV subgroup meetings, a virology journal club, an IMV lecture series, and the annual IMV Symposium. Trainees are expected to complete their dissertation research in 4-5 years, publish their work in high-profile virology journals, and pursue postdoctoral training at leading research institutions.
This training program is relevant to public health as it supports career development of young scientists who will help develop new antiviral drugs and vaccines for viral diseases.
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