The Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis (IMP) Training Program of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences takes advantage of the breadth and depth of basic and clinical research talent among the component institutions [Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), and The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)] to provide a unique environment in which we strive to train the next generation of leaders in immunology and microbial pathogenesis. Graduate students are exposed to cutting edge immunology and infectious disease research ranging from basic biochemical studies to clinical trials of immunotherapies that grew out of basic research in IMP Program laboratories. Each component institution has particular strengths to lend to the training: Inflammation and infectious disease (WCMC), tumor immunology (MSKCC), and autoimmunity (HSS). However, the Program has been so successful in fostering tri-institutional interactions and collaborations among the faculty and trainees, that there is substantial overlapping expertise among these institutions. The graduate program leading to a Ph.D. degree is open to students who hold a Bachelor?s degree from an accredited institution, as well as to individuals who already hold an advanced degree and wish to train for an independent academic research career in IMP. Acceptance into the IMP Program is based on college GPA and GRE scores, research experience, letters of recommendation, and personal interviews. We have special programs in place to recruit underrepresented and underserved minorities. Predoctoral trainees are required to take a core curriculum in Immunology and related biomedical sciences prior to joining a thesis lab, and soon thereafter to pass a rigorous Admission to Candidacy exam. To keep up with the demands of analyzing ?big data? sets, all students are required to participate in a Quantitative Biology course and are offered hands-on computer workshops. Graduate studies take 5.6 years in average to complete. Graduate students also actively participate in Research-in-Progress seminars, the IMP Retreat, Advanced Topics in Immunology courses, and external speaker seminars. Progress of the IMP students is monitored annually with the use of Individual Development Plans. The IMP Training Program Directors, IPM Program Chairs and senior faculty form the Executive Steering Committee of the IMP training program. An External Advisory Board will regularly review the T32 program and providing constructive criticism to help guide the Program?s leadership. The IMP Program has been growing, with increased numbers of highly qualified students and currently admits an average of 7 students per year. We are requesting funding to support 4 predoctoral trainees per year to receive funding for two-year terms. These trainees are selected from a highly qualified pool of applicants by a faculty committee with members of our three partner institutions.
The Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis Training Program is designed to provide highly interdisciplinary scientific training in immunology and infectious disease research. In addition to infections and autoimmunity that result from an abnormal immune response, alterations of immunological control can lead to diseases as diverse as atherosclerosis, diabetes and cancer, diseases that also have immunologic consequences. The diverse expertise of our faculty provides trainees with a deep understanding of the basic mechanisms of this interplay and clinical consequences and applications, and leaves them well equipped to conduct research that has direct impact on improving the treatment and outcome of patients with a wide range of diseases.