The rapidly increasing number of antibacterial-resistant pathogens and the emergence of new infectious threats underscore the desperate need for novel antimicrobial therapeutics at a time when the pharmaceutical industry has largely abandoned this area of research and development. Academic research institutions have begun to meet this need, but success will require scientists who are trained to apply the techniques of chemical biology to the study of microbial pathogenesis. The Chemical Biology of Infectious Diseases (CBID) Training Program exploits Vanderbilt?s strengths in chemical biology and microbiology and prepares scientists for the challenges of antimicrobial target identification and drug discovery. Twenty-eight faculty preceptors from seven departments in both Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center serve as mentors for the Program. Four predoctoral students will be selected each year to receive two years of support during their second and third year of study in the five-year program. Highlights of the training program include formal coursework in both microbial pathogenesis and chemical biology, elective courses for specialized training, a ?mini-sabbatical? research opportunity in a collaborator?s laboratory, research and professional development workshops, an interactive seminar series in chemical biology, an annual research symposium in chemical biology, participation in the infectious disease case conference and antibiotic stewardship program, an in-depth laboratory research experience, and an external internship at a major pharmaceutical company. Research projects emphasize a multi-disciplinary approach that applies chemical biology to the study of microbiology, and students are advised by at least two CBID preceptors. As a result, students who complete the CBID Training Program are well- grounded in a core discipline and sufficiently well-trained in complementary fields to allow them to work effectively in an interdisciplinary environment.

Public Health Relevance

Infectious diseases remain the second leading cause of death worldwide, and the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, combined with the emergence of viral diseases, threatens to markedly increase the public health impact of these illnesses. To combat this threat requires new drugs with novel mechanisms of action, a goal that can be achieved by the application of chemical biology to the study of microbiology. This proposal will combine the resources of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology (VICB) and the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation (VI4) to train young scientists who will be able to bridge the gap between these disciplines, preparing them to discover the next generation of infectious disease therapeutics.

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 Advisory Committee (MID)
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Coomes, Stephanie
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
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