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 is to increase the number of students obtaining a highly productive PhD thesis, leading to a successful career in infectious disease research. A major benefit of the program is that it provides a framework for students from different Ph.D. programs to synergize in their training activities. Trainees are selected from three participating graduate programs: Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Genetics, and Molecular and Cell Biology. Required courses in Genetics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Microbial Pathogenesis and Responsible Conduct of Research provide the necessary foundation of scientific knowledge. The most promising students, based on undergraduate academic performance and their 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 Program-sponsored activities including a monthly meeting to introduce trainees to new concepts in infectious disease research and experimental rigor, a seminar series, travel funds to attend scientific conferences or perform field research, career development events, and funds to facilitate the use of cutting-edge and multidisciplinary research approaches. Nineteen Full, Associate or Assistant Professors from 5 different Departments serve as Mentors. The Mentors are well funded, have excellent training records, and share a common interest in teaching and researching the pathogenesis of infectious diseases at the molecular and cellular levels. The Mentors offer a wide range of opportunities for student research training including: a) molecular mechanisms of bacterial, fungal, and viral replication and pathogenesis. b) innate and adaptive immune responses to pathogens, c) regulation of pathogen and host gene expression; d) development of diagnostics, drugs and vaccines against 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 at least 10 years. The quality of the students and the outcome of their training is highlighted by the strong research publications of the Trainees. A 5-year award to support 6 trainees is requested.
Infectious diseases are a significant health problem nationally and worldwide. The goal of the Molecular and Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases Training Program is to provide predoctoral students with enhanced training in infectious disease research and career development. The Training Program will thus produce scientists with the necessary tools for a highly productive PhD thesis and careers in infectious disease research.
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