The Infectious Disease & Basic Microbiological Mechanisms training program fulfills a critical need in pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training at NYU School of Medicine, as it is the sole program devoted to understanding how pathogens cause infectious disease in humans by investigating fundamental aspects of microbial biology and host responses. The single major objective of this program is to produce trainees who are skilled, rigorous and imaginative scientists in the area of infectious disease with an in depth focus on basic micro- biological mechanisms. Our overall long-term objective is to train subsequent generations of researchers in the study of basic microbiological mechanisms and to apply these principles to understanding and treating infectious disease. The training program is comprised of 20 faculty who are highly productive scientists with extensive mentoring experience. The faculty trainers all share a common interest in understanding basic microbiological mechanisms as their contribution to infectious disease in humans. Broad training in the molecular biology of infectious agents, strategies for persistence, pathogenesis, mechanisms of host resistance, processes that determine cellular responses to infection, translational research and the prevention of infectious diseases is provided to all trainees in a highly interactive scientific environment. This will be achieved in a rigorous and intellectually demanding research environment spanning basic science and clinical departments that encourages diversity. Trainees will also acquire the ability to critically evaluate scientific data and literature and will develop their writing and presentation skills. Training of students also includes an individual development plan, and rigorous course work in medical microbiology, cell and molecular biology, bacterial pathogenesis, parasitology, molecular virology, quantitative skills, and translational research. A successful system for evaluating, mentoring, and soliciting trainee feedback is in place for all trainees. Furthermore, all trainees participate in a weekly program-wide work in progress seminar series, an annual retreat, as well as lectures focusing on ethical conduct in science and career options. Our tradition of strong programmatic leadership and guidance, a well-crafted training program with proven results spanning more than 30 years, experienced and committed faculty trainers, productive and diverse trainees, in an outstanding scientific environment with key expertise in bacteriology, virology, parasitology, the microbiome and host defenses will enable our continued success going forward. We request funds to continue supporting 7 pre- and 3 post-doctoral trainees. These trainees represent the next generation of scientists who will contribute to the development of novel therapies to treat infectious diseases. Significantly, trainees educated in basic microbiological mechanisms continue to be of great importance to protect our nation and society at large against the ever-present threat posed by infectious microbes around the world.
The global disease burden associated with infectious agents remains staggering, as 26% of all deaths worldwide are estimated by the World Health Organization to result from infectious disease. While developing nations are most susceptible, outbreaks of deadly food-borne illnesses, antibiotic resistant bacteria, the global HIV epidemic, and numerous emerging viruses poignantly illustrate the need to recruit and train the next generation of scientists to the study how bacteria, parasites, and viruses cause infectious diseases in humans so that new therapies and vaccines can be developed against rapidly changing microbes. This application proposes to educate trainees in basic microbiological mechanisms as these scientists continue to be of great importance to protect our nation and society at large against the continuing threat posed by infectious microbes around the world.
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