This proposal requests support for the predoctoral student Virology Training Program (VTP) at Vanderbilt University. The primary goal of the Vanderbilt VTP is to identify, mentor, and foster the careers of future leaders in academic biomedical science who are dedicated to research in the area of virology. This is an application for a new integrated training program;however the investigator group is remarkably experienced in training both predoctoral and postdoctoral scientists for careers in virology. The program is based on rigorous training in virology and interdisciplinary research areas that contribute to studies of viruses. Successful completion of the VTP leads to the Ph.D. degree. Core elements of the program include formal coursework in virology and immunology, a literature-based seminar series, career development workshop, invited scientist speaker series, and an annual retreat. Formal instruction in responsible conduct of research is provided throughout the curriculum. An integrated mentoring program offers opportunities for student advising by faculty members. The applicant pool results from concerted recruiting efforts, including those focused on the recruitment of students from groups underrepresented in medicine. The educational environment for scientists in virology at Vanderbilt University is outstanding. The investigator group holds approximately $9 million dollars in investigator-initiated extramural research funding in the area of virologic sciences. The institution also hosts a large number of NIH funded multi-investigator research efforts in this area including the SouthEast Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense, a Center for AIDS Research, an NIAID Vaccine Testing and Evaluation Unit, an HIV Vaccine Testing Network site. The program is supported by faculty mentors from the Departments of Biological Sciences, Microbiology and Immunology, Adult Infectious Diseases, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Pathology, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and from research centers including the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, Center for Structural Biology, and the Lamb Center for Pediatric Research. The proposal requests funded positions for 2 new students a year (effectively 4 steady state trainees in the program during each after year 1). This request for support for the Vanderbilt VTP is based on the strength of the applicant pool, enhanced opportunities for training scientists in virology, and an institutional commitment to the education of leaders in virologic research.

Public Health Relevance

The Vanderbilt Virology Training Program will support the predoctoral training of basic scientists who seek to define fundamental mechanisms underlying viral replication, pathogenesis, structure-function relationships, and host-pathogen interactions. The broad significance of this program will be realized through the academic and scholarly accomplishments of the trainees focused on discovery of basic mechanisms underlying virus biology.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
Program Officer
Robbins, Christiane M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Agostini, Maria L; Andres, Erica L; Sims, Amy C et al. (2018) Coronavirus Susceptibility to the Antiviral Remdesivir (GS-5734) Is Mediated by the Viral Polymerase and the Proofreading Exoribonuclease. MBio 9:
Pilkinton, Mark A; Nicholas, Katherine J; Warren, Christian M et al. (2017) Greater activation of peripheral T follicular helper cells following high dose influenza vaccine in older adults forecasts seroconversion. Vaccine 35:329-336
Graepel, Kevin W; Lu, Xiaotao; Case, James Brett et al. (2017) Proofreading-Deficient Coronaviruses Adapt for Increased Fitness over Long-Term Passage without Reversion of Exoribonuclease-Inactivating Mutations. MBio 8:
Sexton, Nicole R; Smith, Everett Clinton; Blanc, Hervé et al. (2016) Homology-Based Identification of a Mutation in the Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase That Confers Resistance to Multiple Mutagens. J Virol 90:7415-7428
Sevy, Alexander M; Jacobs, Tim M; Crowe Jr, James E et al. (2015) Design of Protein Multi-specificity Using an Independent Sequence Search Reduces the Barrier to Low Energy Sequences. PLoS Comput Biol 11:e1004300
Sowd, Gregory A; Mody, Dviti; Eggold, Joshua et al. (2014) SV40 utilizes ATM kinase activity to prevent non-homologous end joining of broken viral DNA replication products. PLoS Pathog 10:e1004536
Henning, Matthew S; Dubose, Brittany N; Burse, Mallori J et al. (2014) In vivo functions of CPSF6 for HIV-1 as revealed by HIV-1 capsid evolution in HLA-B27-positive subjects. PLoS Pathog 10:e1003868
Finn, Jessica A; Crowe Jr, James E (2013) Impact of new sequencing technologies on studies of the human B cell repertoire. Curr Opin Immunol 25:613-8
Sowd, Gregory A; Li, Nancy Yan; Fanning, Ellen (2013) ATM and ATR activities maintain replication fork integrity during SV40 chromatin replication. PLoS Pathog 9:e1003283
Stobart, Christopher C; Sexton, Nicole R; Munjal, Havisha et al. (2013) Chimeric exchange of coronavirus nsp5 proteases (3CLpro) identifies common and divergent regulatory determinants of protease activity. J Virol 87:12611-8

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications