This application requests support for the Vanderbilt "Childhood Infections Research Program" (ChIRP) a new postdoctoral scientist training program in basic and clinical-translational science for MD and MD/PhD clinical fellows in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and PhD postdoctoral scientists. The goal of the Vanderbilt ChIRP is to train and foster the careers of future leaders in academic biomedical science who are committed to research relevant to infections of children. There is no training program at Vanderbilt focused on the childhood infections, and ChIRP establishes a unique training niche for future basic and clinical investigators. This application proposes an innovative program that uses both 1) mentored research training and 2) "Peer Mentoring and Training" (PMT), a novel program that will partner clinical fellows and postdoctoral scientists to facilitate cross-disciplinary (Med-Grad, Grad-Med) training and experience. ChIRP-PMT training will result in basic scientists with training and in-depth understanding of clinical infectious disease, as well as clinical-translational investigators with a broad knowledge of the basic mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis. Key elements of the training program will be the use of primary mentors, individual development plans, and mentoring committees charged with regular review of scientific progress and career development. The assembled group of faculty mentors has been selected based on demonstrated research excellence, as well as long-term success in training of postdoctoral scientists and clinical fellows for research careers. The investigators hold primary appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, and Preventive Medicine and together hold ~$34 million in extramural funding. Training in responsible conduct of research will be incorporated throughout the training term and will establish competencies in emerging areas such as high-biosafety containment, dual-use research, and research ethics in international collaborations. The applicant pool results from recruiting efforts focused on MD and MD/PhD Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow candidates and from PhD and MD/PhD postdoctoral scientists who apply to individual labs and through novel programs such as the Vanderbilt Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Recruiting will emphasize clinical fellows and postdoctoral candidates from groups underrepresented in research. The proposal requests funded positions for two postdoctoral trainees each year, with four trainees total in the program during each year after year 1. The goal of ChIRP is to train one clinical fellow and one postdoctoral scientist per year, and to establish a group of clinical and postdoctoral scientists committed to an integrated faculty-and-peer mentoring research culture and experience. This request for support for ChIRP is based on the strength of the applicant pool, exceptional opportunities for training scientists in childhood infections, and an institutional commitment to the education of leaders in research in childhood infections. Relevance: The broad significance of this program will be realized through the academic and scholarly accomplishments of the trainees and discoveries of basic disease mechanisms and translational-clinical results directly relevant prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
This application proposes a new T32 Childhood Infections Research Program (ChIRP). The goal of the program is to train postdoctoral scientists in areas of microbial pathogenesis and infectious diseases of children. The application proposes an innovative program that allows joint training of clinical ID fellows and postdoctoral scientists, resulting in investigators who are able to perform high impact research and train the next generation of scientists.
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