The Biodefense Research Training and Career Development Program is a new initiative of the University of Virginia which is in response to the NIAID Blue Ribbon Panel on Bioterrorism and Its Implications for Biomedical Research.
The Program goal is to provide a rich interdisciplinary experience to prepare pre- and postdoctoral students for careers in biodefense. Research themes encompass the biology of and host response to microbes, vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic technologies for infections by potential agents of bioterrorism.
The training of predoctoral students, M.D., and Ph.D. postdoctoral fellows is enriched by special activities of the Program, including a new graduate course in Biodefense, an expanded 2 semester course in molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis, advanced immunology courses and colloquia, a research-in-progress series and a journal club.
The Program is comprised of 31 faculty from eight departments and two research centers within a 5 minute walk at the School of Medicine. All of our faculty collaborate, and 46% have co-published papers in the last 5 years. 100% of the preceptors are extramurally supported, and 92% are NIH-supported. Extramural support has almost doubled to $13.5 million in annual direct costs in the last 5 years.
The average preceptor has trained > 10 pre- or postdoctoral students, but select “up and coming” junior faculty are also included. The Program supports of 3 predoctoral fellows and 2 postdoctoral fellows. Plans are in place for the recruitment of women and under-represented minority trainees.