This application represents the second competing renewal for our Training in Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) Training program based at the University of Pennsylvania that supports 3 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral trainees per year. Of the more than 70 faculty whose primary affiliation is with the microbiology program, a select group of 12 faculty are trainers with this EID T32. All of the trainers have significant EID research programs, and 7 have been funded by the Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases. An active Executive Committee coupled with an experienced Internal Advisory Committee insures that this program retains a very tight focus on the study of emerging and re-emerging pathogens. As a result, trainers have been dropped from the program when their EID programs have faded while others have been added. This program has served to coalesce EID research training on our campus, with our trainers instituting a popular EID lecture course, a rigorous BSL3 training program, and a Certificate in Public Health Program. Our recent introduction of Individual Development Plans for our students and postdocs is making it possible for us to tailor our training activities to bes meet the needs of our trainees. Importantly, Penn continues to provide significant, direct support to training activities, including $7 million for our new ABSL3/BSL3 and via supporting predoctoral trainees for their first 21 months of graduate school. Thus, our T32 supports trainees only after they have completed all coursework and their prelim exams. Thus far, this T32 has supported 28 trainees, almost all for 2 years each, including 13 Ph.D. students, 4 M.D./Ph.D. students, 1 VMD/Ph.D. student and 10 Ph.D. postdoctoral fellows. Our 28 trainees have worked in the labs of 15 different trainers. Only one very recently added trainer has not had a trainee supported by this T32 program. Of the 28 current and past trainees, 15 are women, 13 are men, and 4 are minorities/disadvantaged (14%). Our retention rate is 93%, and those who have completed training and left Penn have obtained good positions (for the postdocs) and excellent postdoctoral positions at leading institutions, with most continuing to study emerging infectious agents. The accomplishments of our trainees coupled with their career progress since leaving Penn shows that our T32 program is indeed training promising young scientists to enter careers in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Public Health Relevance

This Training in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) T32 program supports 3 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral trainees who study a variety of emerging and re-emerging pathogens that are of public health concern. Trainees are most often supported for two years, enabling them to take advantage of the training activities we have instituted to support work in this area, including BSL3 training, coursework, seminars and a Certificate Program in Public Health. Active management by program leadership maintains an intense focus on EID topics as well as training opportunities that are tailored to meet the needs of our students and postdoctoral fellows.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
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Coomes, Stephanie
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University of Pennsylvania
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