Fellows in the first year are exposed to the research activities of the Division in weekly research conferences and participation in a Fellows' Research Day. Fellows select a faculty preceptor and an area of research. A one-month Research Laboratory rotation during the first year affords fellows the opportunity to define a research project which the trainee will pursue during the majority of the second year. While trainees are strongly encouraged to participate in a research experience, those who wish to focus on clinical training may elect to pursue additional clinical rotations in the second year. A third year of fellowship is possible for those trainees with special interest and aptitude in research.
The major research interests and expertise of the faculty are in the areas of basic and clinical virology, viral immunology and pathogenesis, and evaluation of viral vaccines and antiviral agents. The Infectious Diseases Division includes several research programs supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, an HIV Vaccine Trials Unit (HVTU), and an AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (ACTU). Clusters of investigators address several virus infections with regard to both basic (e.g. molecular virology, viral immunology), and clinical (e.g. evaluation of candidate vaccines) studies. These include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), influenza virus, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. Other vaccines (e.g., herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus, vaccinia, avian influenza, plague, anthrax) are also studied. Clinical trials of antibiotic and antifungal agents are performed. Additional areas of interest and expertise are indicated in the roster of faculty of the Division. Thus, there are opportunities for basic and/or clinical research training in several areas of infectious diseases, with an emphasis on viral infections.
In addition to these special interests within the Infectious Diseases Division, other opportunities for research are available within the departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and in the Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology. Part of the Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences, the Center is located in the state-of-the-art 225,000 square-foot Arthur Kornberg Medical Research Building, opened at the Medical Center in 1999.
The Rochester Clinical Research Curriculum (RCRC), an NIH-supported program, offers opportunities for infectious diseases fellows to pursue advanced instruction in clinical research methods at the University. Participation in the RCRC program, along with completion of a research project, can lead to the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.