The Immunology and Virology Graduate Program is in part supported by a highly competitive National Institutes of Health Training Grant (AI007349), entitled “Training in Immunology.” This grant, which is in its 20th year, provides stipends for 4 pre-doctoral fellows and one postdoctoral fellow per year. This grant also provides funds for IVP activities that support the training environment for these fellows. Training grant –eligible IVP students with the best records of academic performance are awarded training grant positions at the beginning of their third year of enrollment.
Virus Infections: Pathogenesis and Host Immune Responses
The goal of our program is the training of talented M.D. and Ph.D. graduates for academic careers as investigators in the study of the pathogenesis and immunology of virus infections. The emphasis of the program is on 'cross-fertilization' between M.D. and Ph.D. researchers at both the faculty and trainee levels, and builds on a culture of close interactions between basic scientists and physician-scientists that is coordinated through the interdepartmental Program in Immunology and Virology. The program faculty includes 17 established, funded, full-time researchers with mentoring experience who conduct research on molecular virology, antigen presentation, immune responses to virus infection, and viral pathogenesis and immunopathogenesis involving a broad array of pathogens including HIV, hemorrhagic fever viruses and biodefense pathogens (flaviviruses, hantaviruses, poxviruses), and DNA viruses (herpesviruses, papillomaviruses). The program recruits individuals in the early stage of research training, generally in their first post-graduate research experience; most M.D. trainees are recruited during subspecialty training (e.g. our 3-year clinical and research subspecialty fellowship in Infectious Diseases) and usually have little or no prior laboratory research experience. The core of the training experience is an intense laboratory research experience lasting at least 2 years, where the trainees have an opportunity to learn cutting-edge molecular and cellular techniques and apply these to a specific research project selected in conjunction with their mentors. The laboratory experience is supplemented by annual formal research presentations by trainees and attendance at regular ongoing seminar series sponsored by the Immunology/Virology Program, which provides further contact between the physicians and basic scientists. Trainees also select an individualized program of formal didactic instruction from course offerings in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Our objective is to graduate highly trained and creative clinical and basic scientists committed to research careers and prepared to address national research priorities related to the diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and prevention of virus diseases.