This application requests support for an interdepartmental training program in Infectious Diseases and Inflammatory Disorders and is designed to promote the entry of outstanding medical students into biomedical research careers. This innovative research enrichment program combines the mentoring faculty's research expertise with unique institutional resources for the hands-on training of medical students. Training is provided by 28 program faculty members from the Departments of Microbiology &Immunology, Biochemistry &Molecular Biology, Pathology, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Surgery. The research theme will be centered on infections and inflammation, especially in terms of transmission of pathogens, regulation of host inflammatory responses at the sites of pathogen entry (airway, skin, and mucosa), regulation of leukocyte migration in the blood, liver and other organs, and vaccine/drug development for the control of pathogens and tissue damage. Trainees will work in full-time positions during a 12-week research period, and receive an in-depth exposure to biological concepts and modern biomedical research areas and tools. They will also have the opportunity to choose basic, clinical, and translational or behavior research projects. The program will match talented medical students with NIH-funded research faculty mentors, coupling the daily research experience with an ongoing series of courses, summer research seminars, peer round-table research discussions, oral presentations, and monitoring from outstanding UTMB faculty. The specific objectives are: 1) to expose medical students early in their career development to the excitement and challenges of a research career and to encourage their investigative and analytical skills, 2) to encourage medical students to pursue a career in basic and clinical research in the areas of infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders, 3) to provide valuable experience and potential references for students who wish to seek additional research training and funding in the future, and 4) to increase the pool of physician scientists engaged in biomedical or behavioral research in those areas necessary for the mission of the NIAID. Opportunities exist for formal presentation of research findings during national symposia and meetings, and an adequate tracking system is in place for monitoring career development of trainees and success of this training program.
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