This application requests funding to support 8 second- and third-year graduate students in the Harvard Graduate Program in Bacteriology (GPiB). The goal of this program is to train highly skilled experimentalists firmly grounded in the logic and rigor of the scientific method and, from that base, empower them to identify and pursue the challenges and opportunities of modern bacteriology. The GPiB builds upon more than a half- century of successful research and training in bacteriology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). At the heart of this inter-school program is a vibrant and supportive community of microbiologists that draws its strength from decades of scientific exchange, active collaborations, training successes, and long-standing friendships. The GPiB harnesses the camaraderie, mentorship, and infrastructure of this community and combines it with coursework, program-specific activities, and dissertation research. Trainees in the 22 program faculty labs investigate topics ranging from gene regulation and cell wall biogenesis to the molecular underpinnings of drug resistance and its spread through populations. Students enter the GPiB through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) program at HMS or the Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) program at HSPH and are selected for the program based on their expressed interest in the GPiB during their first year of graduate school and their choice of dissertation laboratory.!The GPiB supplements the broad and successful training of the BBS and BPH umbrella programs with focused coursework in basic bacteriology, pathogenesis, and the host response. Two required bacteriology classes use primary literature to teach students to be critical readers and thinkers while developing skills in experimental design and communication. Additional training in quantitative methods is also required. Coursework and research are combined with career mentorship focused on transferrable skills including problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. The GPiB also provides a collection of resources and events that help trainees identify future career opportunities. Importantly, the success of our trainees and the program as a whole are not taken for granted. A novel set of surveys that monitor trainees and their mentors inform regular program assessments. The Harvard microbiology community is a diverse, passionate, and tight-knit group of scientists and the GPiB ensures that the rigor and commitment of this community will support the training of generations of successful bacteriologists.!
Bacteria are everywhere around and inside of us; some keep us healthy while others make us sick. In order to understand how to support the bacteria that keep us healthy and prevent the pathogens from making us sick, we must first understand how these microscopic organisms grow and survive. This research training program will teach PhD students to ask and answer the most pressing questions about the biology of bacteria, how they impact human health and how to control life-threatening infections.