This proposal seeks support to establish an innovative multi-thematic postdoctoral training program in fundamental and translational immunology to address the role of innate and adaptive immune cells in various disease contexts. Emphasis is placed on understanding the cellular and molecular basis of immune cell activation in the appropriate context of an immune response to infectious organisms and toxins, or the dysregulation that occurs in the context of chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. These fundamental insights provide the basis for novel therapeutic approaches in infectious disease, autoimmunity and cancer that will be tested in pre-clinical models. Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) recently implemented its 10-year strategic vision, which focuses on four disease priorities (cancer, autoimmunity, metabolic and neurological disorders) and four cross-cutting scientific themes including epigenetics, metabolism, proteostasis and immunomodulation. The proposed Program is an important element of this vision as we strive to provide the best training environment for postdoctoral scientists interested in immunology research. Scientific research at the Institute is supported by an infrastructure that includes multiple core facilities, thereby providing access to advanced technologies and expert, dedicated personnel. SBP emphasizes a collaborative approach to biomedical research, where teams of scientists with expertise in the biological sciences work together with chemists, structural biologists, engineers, and computational biologists to achieve synergistic accomplishments. This collaborative approach to science is intimately integrated into the culture of the Institute, as demonstrated by the fact that ~30% of all SBP publications are the result of inter- and intra- programmatic collaborations. Notably, 35% of over 500 publications from the preceptors' laboratories are led by postdoctoral trainees who serve as first authors. Postdoctoral trainees in this T32 will join one of 13 research groups focused on aspects of immunology. The trainees will be guided by mentoring committees focused on promoting scientific progress and career development. Seminar programs, workshops, retreats and journal clubs will enrich research training. The trainees will be selected based on scientific and academic accomplishments, suitability for research projects in the thematic areas and commitment to a scientific career that builds upon the postdoc experience. Trainees will be supported for an average of 2 years, but will remain with the program upon achieving independent support. The Program will support three trainees within the network of postdoctoral researchers at SBP. It is expected that matriculants who have completed this Program will have received a well-rounded training experience in cutting-edge patient-focused immunology research and will be well prepared to embark on a variety of independent research and research-related careers in fundamental and translational immunology.
Our Program provides a research environment for our trainees to address emerging topics in fundamental and translational immunology; interfacing basic research with advanced technological disciplines and early stage drug discovery efforts supported by state-of-the-art core facilities.