Infectious diseases remain a major threat to U.S. health, exemplified by the spread of antibiotic resistant microbes such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the emergence and re-emergence of infectious disease threats (such as pandemic influenza). The goal of this predoctoral T32 program is to train the next generation of researchers in microbiology, and to prepare them with the skills necessary to address the nation's critical needs in the battle against infectious disease. To do this, the program takes a student-centric, autonomy-supportive approach with the goal of training self-motivated, independent research scientists who are well prepared for diverse research careers. Innovative program features include: a student-centric, autonomy-supportive educational approach that encourages self-directed exploration of diverse career options; instruction in the soft skills necessary for research career success (i.e., in communication, leadership, mentoring and professionalism); and the establishment of faculty mentoring practices that support student autonomy and self-directed learning. The program has 5 key objectives. First, it will provide outstanding interdisciplinary research training in microbial pathogenesis, in part by leveraging unique opportunities created by signature NIH-funded centers that include the Respiratory Pathogens Research Center (the only center of its kind in the nation), a Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (one of only 5 such centers in the nation), an Environmental Health Science Center and the UR's Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Second, it will provide outstanding education in microbiology and pathogenesis. To do this, the program incorporates four major components: (1) a required core didactic curriculum; (2) required program-specific experiences (including courses, workshops and career/professional development activities); (3) optional elective courses and experiences designed to encourage student exploration and (4) hands-on thesis research. Third, it will train self-directed, autonomous scientists who are prepared for diverse research career options. To facilitate this, all students will complete a personality inventory and an annual Individualized Development Plan (IDP). Students will also be offered the opportunity to participate in the new URBEST program, which provides avenues for exploration of diverse career options, and will participate in a Microbiology Career Stories seminar to familiarize them with diverse (microbiology) research careers. Fourth, we will provide training in the soft skills necessary fo success. Students will receive training in the communication of science, will participate in a Leadership Academy Program, and will undertake supervised training in mentoring. Finally, we will also improve faculty mentoring practices. To do this, we will mentor our mentors through instruction in autonomy supportive mentoring and the use of IDPs, and we will create a new Microbiology Alumni Mentoring Network, which will permit trainees to seek advice from alumni in non-academic research settings.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this predoctoral training program is to train the next generation of researchers in microbiology, and to prepare them with the skills necessary to address the nation's critical needs in the battle against infectious disease. To do this, this program takes a student-centric, autonomy-supportive approach with the goal of training self-motivated, independent research scientists, who are well prepared for diverse research career paths.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Type
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
5T32AI118689-05
Application #
9719733
Study Section
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
Program Officer
Coomes, Stephanie
Project Start
2015-07-01
Project End
2020-06-30
Budget Start
2019-07-01
Budget End
2020-06-30
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2019
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Rochester
Department
Microbiology/Immun/Virology
Type
School of Medicine & Dentistry
DUNS #
041294109
City
Rochester
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
14627
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