The Mechanisms of Parasitism training program has been an ongoing program at the University of Iowa for 19 sequential years. The program unites scientists working on different microbial systems and methods, but addressing similar questions about ?Parasitism?, i.e. the pathogenesis of microbial diseases. Thus this faculty provides trainees with an opportunity to address basic questions regarding microbial pathogenesis using a full repertoire of techniques. Our underlying hypothesis is that protozoal, helminthic, bacterial, and viral pathogens face similar obstacles in overcoming mammalian antimicrobial defenses. The mechanisms through which one pathogen evades killing within the host may provide insights into means through which other pathogens survive in their unique host niche. There is a long history of collaborative research and training among the laboratories at the University of Iowa, and particularly between members of this Parasitism program. With this new application we have expanded our horizons to meet the growing need for collaborative expertise in genomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, microbiomes and phageomes, drawing on logical hypotheses from massive data sets and methods/ models to address these hypotheses. This interdepartmental, interdisciplinary program draws upon faculty members in four departments and four interdisciplinary programs at the University of Iowa. Our activities are aimed at inspiring and enhancing not only training of our students and postdoctoral scholars, but also at enhancing the collaborative interactions between faculty members with different areas of expertise. In particular we have added faculty with expertise in Bioinformatics and Epidemiology to the faculty list. Our current faculty members already have considerable depth in mechanisms of microbial virulence and host innate and adaptive immune responses.
We aim to adopt, and by default, have our trainees adopt a more comprehensive view of the intricate relationships between host, microbe and environment that contributed to parasitism. Our prior trainees have been highly successful; 100% of those who are done with training have assumed positions in the biomedical sciences or related fields, with 54% holding tenure track university positions and 39% performing research in industry. In this application we propose an enhanced approach to helping trainees develop their careers. We have been successful at recruiting minority candidates and propose means to enhance that even further. Overall we view this as a comprehensive program to train students and postdoctoral scholars in diverse aspects of parasitism, and to prepare them for productive careers in biomedical research.
It is important to understand the means by which microbes infect and cause disease in humans, to discover how to control the waves of pestilence that have spread through regions of the world. This training program proposes to train 8 young scientists in the theory and methods they need to investigate the mechanisms through which these pathogens parasitize and cause infectious diseases of humans.
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