Continued support is requested for a training program in Viral Oncology at Duke University Medical Center. The program has been funded since 1975 and this is a request for renewal for the sixth term of the program. Funds are requested for the support of 3 predoctoral trainees and 4 postdoctoral trainees. The participating faculty consists of 19 members of Duke University Medical Center, many of whom have primary or secondary appointments in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. The additional participating faculty have appointments in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, or Pharmacology and Cancer Biology. The research interests of the participating faculty range from basic molecular genetic studies of animal virus replication, to the use of DNA animal viruses as model systems for the study of gene regulation in eukaryotic cells, to the study of viral and cellular oncogene action, the immunology and molecular virology of the human immunodeficiency virus and the use of viruses in approaches to the treatment of human malignancies. The research program has proven to be an effective training basis for both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. The predoctoral program involves four semesters of academic work followed by a preliminary examination. Upon successful completion of these requirements, full time research occupies the remainder of the training program. The postdoctoral training program is focused on full time research in the participating laboratories. Both the predoctoral and the postdoctoral program are enhanced by departmental and program seminar series of various types as well as a virology journal club, monthly works in progress meetings for participating laboratories and two annual minisymposia, one in the fall on "Viral Oncology and AIDS Malignancy" and one in the spring on "Pathogenic Human Viruses." These activities foster communication between members of the program, and with other students and faculty at Duke, to the ultimate benefit of not only the trainees but the institution in general.
This grant application seeks funds to support the training of graduate students and postdoctoral associates in the field of viral oncology and closely related areas. Viruses are believed to cause up to 20% of human tumors, so an increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved will have clear relevance to the detection, prevention and treatment of a substantial percentage of human malignancies.
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