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The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has a very active, NIH-funded training environment for individuals interested in influenza virus research. Training opportunities exist at all levels, ranging from undergraduate summer research fellowships through to post-baccalaureate training in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology's PREP program, and to pre- and post-doctoral training. Specific, NIH-funded, training programs that are of relevance to influenza virus research, are described below:

Research and Education in Microbiology and Immunology

PI: Edith Lord, PhD
Training Level: Post-baccalaureate

The long term goal of this PREP is to recruit and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers in the biomedical sciences.  We will build on our already successful program with innovative approaches to assist motivated students to achieve their goals of becoming scientists and thus be positioned to serve as role models for others and to reduce the health care disparities they view in their communities.  By the use of detailed individualized developmental plans (IDPs), we will help the trainees take charge of their own learning by having them define learning goals consistent with their own interests and values and develop systems to monitor and assess their progress in achieving them. These IDPs, developed in conjunction with research mentors and program leadership, will serve as the foundation of the program.  Following assessment of individual strengths and weaknesses, programs will be designed for each individual student that will allow them to increase their base of scientific knowledge, develop research and laboratory skills, acquire oral presentation and writing expertise and improve their leadership, interpersonal and time management skills.  The basis of this will be development of an independent research project in a funded investigator’s laboratory that will allow them to acquire and practice all of the skills necessary to be a scientist.  They will be aided in this by a mentorial committee composed of faculty and peers and a program Steering Committee that will regularly monitor their progress. They will participate in a weekly Scientific Skills and Communication course as well as graduate level classes. They will be advised and provided direct support for the application process to graduate schools including preparation for the GRE, assistance in the choice of schools, preparation of assays, and mock interviews.  They will have the opportunity to attend regional and national scientific meetings, host a visiting seminar speaker of their choice, and will be expected to present and orally defend their research project at the end of the program as well as assist in writing a manuscript of their scientific findings.

Predoctoral Training Program in Immunology

PI: Edith Lord, PhD
Training Level: Predoctoral

The goal of this Predoctoral Immunology Training Program is to provide academia, industry, and governmental research laboratories with highly creative and productive immunologists who are broadly trained in immunology, well trained in their research specialty and equipped to address today’s important immunological questions. This will be achieved by having the predoctoral students follow a defined set of program-specific courses as part of the Immunology Track set in the established interdepartmental graduate training milieu of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (URSMD). The environment will be fostered by a diverse and interactive faculty composed of both basic and translational researchers, who are dedicated to excellence in teaching and collaborative research and committed to immunology training; active immunological research programs of trainees and their mentors; structured lecture and seminar courses at the basic and advanced levels; an active seminar series, and by a catalytic number of trainees.  This will occur by integrating a core of faculty within the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and the Centers for Vaccine Biology and Human Immunology with faculty from other departments and disciplines, particularly those with strong clinical/translational research interests. Research training opportunities in a wide variety of immunological problems relevant to cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity will be offered by an experienced, training faculty with strong records of extramural funding and an established history of collaboration. The program will be governed by a Steering Committee composed of the Program Director, the Associate Director and three senior faculty members. The learning environment will be further enriched with workshops to support trainee career development, enhanced training in the responsible conduct of research, and opportunities for training in mentoring.  Students will also be trained in scientific writing, with an emphasis on manuscripts and grant applications.  Since the previous competitive renewal of this application, we have broadened the research opportunities available, integrated this training program with the University of Rochester Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI), added new immunology-specific courses, and developed an innovative peer/near-peer evaluation process to enhance trainee career development. An External Advisory Board has been added to assist with oversight of the program. We will continue to strengthen our already successful strategies to recruit and nurture minority and women students and to provide all of the trainees with the essential skills to become independent scientists with an appreciation for the ethical conduct of research.  These trained scientists will provide the next generation of researchers and teachers to further the advances in basic science and translational studies needed to improve healthcare in this country.  Training support is requested for 6 predoctoral students in each of 5 years.