This proposal is a request for continued funding of an institutional pre- and postdoctoral NRSA Training Program in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis at the medical school of Northwestern University which has been funded since 1996. Predoctoral training will be done in conjunction with the Driskill Graduate Program (DGP). The DGP will be the mechanism for recruitment of a pool of highly qualified graduate students from which candidates will be selected. The training program is also supported by the Northwestern Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and Immunobiology Center. The training program, unique among the training programs at Northwestern, will stress the basic mechanisms and interactive nature of immunology, microbiology, and pathogenesis and the collaboration of colleagues. The program includes 32 highly productive researchers experienced in pre- and postdoctoral training who collectively hold >36 million dollars per year in research funding and who can impart both basic and clinical perspectives to a group of outstanding trainees. The result will be a more productive research environment, both for the pre- and postdoctoral students and for the many projects funded by grants from the NIH and other federal and private agencies. A major research-in-progress event, IMP Day, will highlight before the entire community the accomplishments of the trainees. Feedback received at this event will be another way of enhancing the experience of our trainees. The training grant also proposes to foster trainee interactions with scientists at other institutions through trainee travel to national meetings (to present their research and to develop contacts) and through visits of prominent scientists to Northwestern as trainee-invited speakers. The training program also serves to focus the activities at the University aimed at educating students in the ethics of science and at recruiting underrepresented minorities to studies in immunology, microbiology, and molecular pathogenesis. There will be continuous evaluation of the program using multiple mechanisms, including evaluations by the trainees, the tracking of the productivity, funding support, and career development of former trainees, and Internal Advisory Committee, and an External Advisory Committee that consists of leaders from outside the institution. The program requests maintaining the current four predoctoral and two postdoctoral slots. Predoctoral students will be appointed for a 2-year period at the end of the second year of graduate studies after they have completed their coursework and qualifying exams and have identified a research advisor, while postdoctoral candidates will be appointed at the outset of their training for a 1-year period while they apply for independent funding. Refunding of the program will give training in immunology, microbiology, and molecular pathogenesis at Northwestern the continuity required to maintain the momentum gained during the previous funding periods and will allow the continued supply of highly trained young investigators with primary interests in the basic mechanisms of host- parasite interactions and immune regulatory functions governing disease processes.
Immunology and microbiology are essential to understanding human health and disease, and therefore obtaining fundamental knowledge of pathogenic microbial agents and the immune system that is there to combat them is of paramount importance. This proposal is a request for continued funding of an institutional combined pre- and postdoctoral NRSA Training Program in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis at Northwestern. Funded since 1996, this training program remains deeply committed to training the next generation of successful immunologists and microbiologists.
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