A major objective of the Career Development and Training component of this RCE is to provide a mechanism for attracting new junior investigators to research on Bioterrorism Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases (BA/EID) and to provide them with salary support to initiate such a research program. Fellowships of between 1-3 years duration will be provided for both postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members including individuals with training in laboratory science and clinical infectious diseases. Fellows will be recruited from diverse institutions within the Pacific Northwest RCE (PNWRCE) and will be evaluated and selected by a Selection Committee derived from multiple PNWRCE institutions. Fellows will be required to devote 80% effort to the research project, will be paired with a senior faculty mentor, and will be evaluated by the Selection Committee on an annual basis. In addition, fellows will be required to present reports 2 and 4 years following completion of the fellowship to evaluate the effect of the training program on their careers in BA/EID research. A second major component of the training program is to offer courses in 3 areas that will promote essential training related to BA/EID. The first course will provide researchers at the graduate student, postdoctoral, and faculty levels with rigorous training in biohazard safety laboratory practices at the BSL3 level of containment to ensure that they can work effectively with Select Agents. The second course will provide basic training in bioinformatics to individuals from the graduate student through faculty level so that they can design projects and work effectively with collaborators who are experts in bioinformatics. The third course will provide training in emergency response to a BA/EID outbreak and will be targeted at public health trainees, medical students, residents, clinical fellows and basic scientists. Each course will be evaluated annually by questionnaire, by review on the part of the faculty, and by presentation of results to the RCE Steering Committee to judge success and to recommend improvements.
The proposed Career Development and Training program will recruit and train individuals into research on BA/EID thus substantially enhancing the cadre of capable researchers within the Pacific Northwest. The program will both bring new junior researchers into this field and will strengthen the laboratory and theoretical background of researchers from the graduate student to faculty level.
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