Molecular interactions between hosts and microbes have substantial impact on host physiology, development, and disease symptomology. This training program will support five postdoctoral scholars to collaborate with faculty-led research groups at Cornell in the study of how molecular interactions between microbes (bacteria, fungi and viruses) and their animal and plant hosts manifest as major traits in the host. Eligible trainees will be recruited from top Ph.D. programs in the nation and world, with a concerted emphasis on recruitment of trainees who affiliate with groups that are historically underrepresented in biological research. Trainees will work in collaboration two or more trainer labs but will have considerable research independence and a discretionary research allowance. All trainees will have intellectual ownership over their projects and will be allowed to carry their postdoctoral research into subsequent independent positions if they so desire. The role of the training mentors will be to provide the necessary infrastructure and resources to support the research, and to cultivate trainee development and preparedness for independent research-related careers in academia, industry, or government. Training will be coordinated through the Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID) and will include a substantial component of professional development in addition to the research training. The research component will emphasize specialized training using advanced methodologies in a highly interdisciplinary environment, exploiting comparison across diverse biological systems to maximize intellectual breadth, creativity, and insight. The professional development will include an array of activities and workshops designed to help trainees secure and be successful in the subsequent position of their choice. Each trainee will work with a tailored mentoring committee to create a personalized Individual Development Plan (IDP) that will include annual objectives and benchmarks for both the research and professional development components.
Infections by bacteria, fungi and viruses have profound impacts on their hosts. This training program will provide postdoctoral scholars with state-of-the-art, highly interdisciplinary training in how molecular interactions between host and microbe drive host traits and physiological state, including the physiology of disease. Research training will be coupled with substantial professional development to launch trainees into rewarding academic and non-academic careers.