This proposal requests a second cycle of support for the Northwestern University Infectious Diseases Education and Science (NuIDeas) Training Program. The goal of this program is to leverage the clinical and basic research expertise and resources available at Northwestern University to train MD and MD/PhD fellows in infectious disease translational research. This training program leverages the considerable clinical expertise of the Infectious Disease clinical faculty with the long-standing basic science strengths in microbiology and immunology at Northwestern University, which together create a rich environment for translational research. The training program serves as a nidus of collaboration between these two groups. Each trainee works with both a primary research mentor and a clinical co-mentor to foster interaction between research and clinical faculty and enhance the translational aspects of the fellow's research experience. A training program consisting of a Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation degree, seminars, career development programs, and education in the ethical conduct of research promotes excellence in research. One highly qualified MD or MD/PhD fellow is chosen each year for a two-year intensive research experience. Furthermore, the Feinberg School of Medicine has funded a second trainee slot, so that a total of two new trainees have been enrolled into the program each year. The first cycle of the NuIDeas Program has been highly successful. Ten fellows were trained. Of the six who have finished training in NuIDeas, five now hold academic infectious disease appointments with protected research time. During the second cycle of funding, we propose to broaden the trainee pool of the NuIDeas Program by including Pediatric Infectious Disease fellows from the affiliated Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and to expand the panel of mentors to better match research opportunities to the interests of the fellows. Importantly, the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics are committed to the continued funding of the second NuIDeas training slot. This program will position trainees to assume leadership positions in research and education at a critical time of global infectious disease re-emergence coupled with a shrinking pool of infectious disease subspecialists.
The continued emergence of new pathogens, the unacceptable morbidity and mortality due to conventional infections, and the epidemics of antibiotic-resistant bacteria highlight the need for well-trained researchers in infectious diseases. This postgraduate training program in infectious diseases will provide training for investigators capable of harnessing the discoveries in the basic sciences of microbiology and immunology to develop novel interventions aimed at ameliorating the burden of infectious diseases.
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