The proposed program will train predoctoral, MD, and PhD postdoctoral investigators in the field of neurovirology. The goal of the program is to develop trainees such that they can develop research programs that can further our understading of the interaction between viruses and the nervous system, including their potential use as vectors to deliver genes into CNS cells. Generally, the trainees are physicians or veterinarians with prior training in neurology or neuropathology or PhD scientists with prior training in virology or molecular biology or neuroscience. The trainees are given a solid background in virology and through formal coursework introduced to neurological problems where the discipline can play a role. The training program is laboratory based, and includes experience in many of the important methods in virology and molecular biology in the setting of an interactive group. The institution also has an extensive didactic program in neurosciences, virology, microbiology, and gene threapy that can be individually tailored to each trainee in order to supplement the laboratory experience. Each trainee will undertake an independent project that will provide experience in the design and analysis of experiments, and in the presentation and publication of results. Several trainee research seminars (Virology and Neurovirology) provide constant interchange between trainees and trainers. The laboratory work is supplemented by an organized postdoctoral training program that introduces the trainees to important issues that will influence their careers, such as grant writing. It also contains excellent lectures and programs in the mandatory areas such as bioethics. The program is conducted by 11 individual trainers. Each trainee selects one of the laboratories for his/her primary research project, but has free access to other trainers for advice, technical help, and collaboration. An executive committee is in charge of monitoringthe trainees'progress. Each trainer has independent funding, and all have active research programs in neurovirology. In addition, trainees have access to methods and instruments in laboratories of other trainers. Core services are available within the University of Pennsylvania include protein sequencing, peptide and oligonucleotide synthesis.
The diverse faculty and institutional resources assembled for the Neurovirology Training program at the University of Pennsylvania provide an ideal atmosphere to educate graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. The Neurovirology Training grant is a unique opportunity to develop the potential of young investigators in this dynamic, interdisciplinary field.
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