This application for a training program in Immunology and Pathogenesis (IMP) is designed to support the training activities of ten field-leading scientists whose research centers on immunobiology, the faculty members are all members of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB), and each has ample research support and a strong commitment to mentoring. The training program is centered in the MCB Division of Immunology and Pathogenesis, in which most training faculty are members. The IMP Training program will focus on basic immunological mechanisms in the context of infections, cancer and immunopathology. We are motivated by the shared belief that achieving a thorough, basic understanding of recognition, activation, regulation, differentiation and interactions of cells of he immune system will lead to therapies for infectious disease, cancer and other ailments, and that training young investigators in this approach, while providing broad training in basic molecular and cell biology, offers a most productive avenue for enhancing success in this endeavor. The MCB Department and the training faculty have a long-standing and defining principle for training: early, persistent emphasis on student and postdoc training for an individually directed path to innovative research. The program is strongly committed to recruiting and training students and postdocs from diverse personal backgrounds. The IMP program will provide a home for trainees in Immunology and Pathogenesis and support for training related activities. We propose support for 3 graduate students and 3 postdoctoral fellows. Graduate students will generally be supported starting in their second year to ensure commitment to the research area and to provide additional information to evaluate their capability of providing exceptional contributions to the program. Postdoctoral trainees will generally be supported starting in their first or second year. In general trainees will be supported for 2 years on the training grant, with additional years supported from other sources. The training grant is designed to be the successor of an NCI-supported training grant (Molecular Immunology and Tumor Biology Training Program, T32 CA009179), which supported immunology research at Berkeley for 35 years. Due to the evolution of the research programs and new recruitments to the Division, the focus of that training grant solely on cancer has become increasingly restrictive. We therefore concluded that an NIAID-supported training grant focused more broadly on immunobiology research is a much better fit for our group. Consequently we are applying for this new training grant rather than for a renewal of T32 CA009179.
The relevance of immunology research to advances in public health has never before been so strong. This predoctoral and postdoctoral training program is committed to inculcating detailed understanding of the immune system as well as broad knowledge of molecular and cell biology and the principles of rigorous, elegant experimentation, in a manner that fosters innovative and inspirational contributions by the next generation of immuno-biologists.