An unprecedented expansion of knowledge in modern immunology has occurred in the relatively young field of innate immunity. The ?Signaling Pathways in Innate Immunity? (SPII) training grant (TG) program for pre- and post-doctoral fellows is only in its 5th year of support and is thriving. The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) has significant research and training strengths in this area. The Training Grant Faculty (TGF) for this unique, highly focused program are highly interactive and primarily drawn from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, with affiliations in interdisciplinary centers and institutes including the Center for Vaccine Development, Institute for Genome Sciences, Center for Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases, Greenebaum Cancer Center, and the Institute of Human Virology. The 28 TGF have a longstanding history of collaboration on grants and publications, and are well funded PIs of grants totaling ~$13.1 million in annual direct costs. Predoctoral trainees will be selected primarily from the interdepartmental Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS) Programs in Molecular Microbiology & Immunology (MMI), a well-established Ph.D. Program that includes a rigorous core curriculum, program-specific courses, elective courses, journal clubs, seminars, annual symposia, and graduate research presentation days. Additional academic work will be combined with demanding laboratory training through dissertation research under the direction of the TGF whose documented expertise will provide inter- and multidisciplinary training opportunities. Predoctoral students are selected from an increasingly qualified applicant pool, as well as from the UMSOM M.D./Ph.D. Program. Similarly, our TG-eligible postdoctoral trainees are increasingly gravitating to laboratories with expertise in innate immune signaling where they receive dedicated mentoring, using state-of-the art resources. Both pre- and postdoctoral trainees have additional didactic and non-didactic requirements, including training in the responsible conduct of research, professional development, and a highly structured mentoring program. Recruitment of trainees from underrepresented minorities is given significant priority through programs aimed at facilitating success in our program, and is reflected in the diversity of our trainees: 13 of 20 training slots (65%) went to women and 25% to underrepresented/disabled individuals. Our TG Program is guided by a highly qualified Advisory Board including the Training Program Director, two Co-Directors, and individuals with significant TG experience. Personal responsibility, including an insistence on scientific rigor and reproducibility, and participation in scientific outreach programs, are strongly encouraged by our TGF using innovative new training components. Our trainees are already building excellent records of publications and awards, and several have already accepted research positions or have left for additional training, providing an early indication that our trainees will continue to be exceptionally well prepared for future careers in academia, government, and industry that will, ultimately, contribute to the nation?s health in significant ways.

Public Health Relevance

Lay Description of Work: Future advancements in our ability to fight infection, inflammatory diseases like arthritis, and cancer depends on advanced training of scientists in the relatively new field of ?innate immunity.? This Training Grant, Signaling Pathways in Innate Immunity (SPII), provides pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students with the the analytical skills required to ?connect the dots? and unravel complex molecular interactions that underlie our earliest immune responses to microbes and other noxious substances. Towards this goal, talented SPII trainees receive exceptional academic support, research guidance, and mentoring from our dedicated faculty, as evidenced by the scientific successes of SPII trainees in its first award period.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research Committee (AITC)
Program Officer
Gondre-Lewis, Timothy A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Maryland Baltimore
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Henry, Rebecca J; Doran, Sarah J; Barrett, James P et al. (2018) Inhibition of miR-155 Limits Neuroinflammation and Improves Functional Recovery After Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury in Mice. Neurotherapeutics :
Gregg, Kelsey A; Harberts, Erin; Gardner, Francesca M et al. (2018) A lipid A-based TLR4 mimetic effectively adjuvants a Yersinia pestis rF-V1 subunit vaccine in a murine challenge model. Vaccine 36:4023-4031
Rennoll, Sherri A; Rennoll-Bankert, Kristen E; Guillotte, Mark L et al. (2018) The Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis) Immune Deficiency Signaling Pathway Regulates Rickettsia typhi Infection. Infect Immun 86:
Corona, Abigail K; Jackson, William T (2018) Finding the Middle Ground for Autophagic Fusion Requirements. Trends Cell Biol 28:869-881
Balzano, Phillip M; Cunningham, Aimee L; Grassel, Christen et al. (2018) Deletion of the Major Facilitator Superfamily Transporter fptB Alters Host Cell Interactions and Attenuates Virulence of Type A Francisella tularensis. Infect Immun 86:
Coleman, Christopher M; Sisk, Jeanne M; Halasz, Gabor et al. (2017) CD8+ T Cells and Macrophages Regulate Pathogenesis in a Mouse Model of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. J Virol 91:
Lafferty, Mark K; Sun, Lingling; Christensen-Quick, Aaron et al. (2017) Human Beta Defensin 2 Selectively Inhibits HIV-1 in Highly Permissive CCR6?CD4? T Cells. Viruses 9:
Shaw, Dana K; Wang, Xiaowei; Brown, Lindsey J et al. (2017) Infection-derived lipids elicit an immune deficiency circuit in arthropods. Nat Commun 8:14401
Scott, Alison J; Post, Julia Maria; Lerner, Raissa et al. (2017) Host-based lipid inflammation drives pathogenesis in Francisella infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:12596-12601
Kaczanowska, Sabina; Joseph, Ann Mary; Guo, Jitao et al. (2017) A Synthetic CD8?:MyD88 Coreceptor Enhances CD8+ T-cell Responses to Weakly Immunogenic and Lowly Expressed Tumor Antigens. Cancer Res 77:7049-7058

Showing the most recent 10 out of 51 publications