Recognizing the need to curb the spread of vectorborne diseases, the University of California at Davis has recently approved a Designated Emphasis in the Biology of Vectorborne Diseases, the goal of which is to train graduate and postgraduate fellows in the biology of vectorborne viral, bacterial, and parasitic agents of human and animal diseases and their arthropod vectors. Funds are requested to enhance this new training program by providing support for two pre-doctoral and 2 post-doctoral trainees per year for a 5-year funding period. In addition, UC Davis has provided institutional matching funds to support two additional Ph.D. students. The multidisciplinary training program, which will be directed by Dr. Gregory Lanzaro, will be based in the Center for Vectorborne Diseases, and will involve a highly qualified, well-funded training faculty from the Schools of Veterinary Medicine and Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The pre-doctoral trainees will be recruited from six affiliated Ph.D. programs, namely the Department of Entomology, and the Graduate Groups in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Comparative Pathology, Epidemiology, Immunology, and Microbiology. Trainees will be selected by an Advisory and Admissions Committee based upon academic excellence and demonstrated interest in the biology of vectorborne diseases, with special recruitment effort from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Didactic courses in microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, genetics, population genomics of pathogens and arthropod vectors, vector ecology and control, disease pathology and diagnosis will be offered in the curriculum for trainees. In addition, trainees will attend courses on responsible conduct of research as well as a series of lecture-discussion and guest-speaker seminars on research ethics offered through the Office of Research and Office of Graduate Studies. Trainees will be required to attend research seminars and discussion groups on topics relevant to the training program and present their research at an annual research retreat. Each trainee's academic progress will be reviewed annually by an Advisory and Admissions Committee.
Recent Institute of Medicine (lOM) reports, including 2003, 2006, and 2008, all emphasize a deficiency of expertise in vectorborne diseases in U.S.A. Yet, vectorborne diseases remain among the most important human and veterinary health problems, both nationally and internationally. This revised T32 Training Grant application focuses on training pre-doctoral and post-doctoral scholars in the biology of arthropod vectors of human and animal diseases.
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