The Molecular and Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases Training Program at Stony Brook University provides predoctoral students with enhanced research training and career development activities. The goal of the Program is to increase the number of students that obtain a highly productive PhD thesis and a successful career in infectious disease research. Trainees are selected from three participating graduate programs: Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Genetics, or Molecular and Cell Biology. Required courses in Genetics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Microbial Pathogenesis and Responsible Conduct of Research provide the required foundation of scientific knowledge. Students who show the most promise, based on undergraduate academic performance and achievements in graduate courses, laboratory rotations, and qualifying exams are admitted to the Program, typically in the third year of graduate school for a 2- to 3- year period. Trainees specifically benefit from participation in the Program-sponsored seminar series, travel funds to attend scientific and career development conferences, and funds for performing cutting-edge and multidisciplinary research. Nineteen Full, Associate or Assistant Professors from four different academic departments serve as Mentors. The Mentors are well funded, have exemplary training records, and share a common interest in teaching and researching the pathogenesis of infectious diseases at the molecular and cellular levels. The areas of research training available to students include: a) bacterial pathogenesis;b) fungal virulence mechanisms;c) viral pathogenesis and replication;d) regulation of pathogen gene expression;e) control of viral packaging and capsid assembly;f) development of diagnostics, drugs and vaccines against pathogens, and g) innate and adaptive immune responses to pathogens. The Program is overseen by a Director, Associate Director, Advisory Committee and Executive Committee and has a strong record of collaboration among Mentors and Trainees. A comprehensive plan for recruitment of a diverse cohort of training grant-eligible students is in place and is highly successful. The Program includes a robust mechanism for evaluating and improving all aspects of the training environment and for tracking the success of previous Trainees for a period of up to 10 years. All 22 Trainees supported over the 15 year life of the Program have completed the training and obtained PhDs or remain in training, demonstrating a strong record of retention. A 5-year award is requested, with support for 5 Trainees in years 1-2, and 6 in years 3-5.
Infectious diseases remain a significant health problem in this country and worldwide. The goal of the Molecular and Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases Training Program is to provide predoctoral trainees with enhanced training in infectious disease research and career development. The Training Program will thus give each beginning scientist the necessary tools for a highly productive PhD thesis and a successful career in infectious disease research.
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