The Global Biothreats Training Program

Whether from terrorists or from “Mother Nature”, the outbreak or emergence of uncommon or novel pathogens share commonalities.  Adequate responses to these global biothreats require both understanding of the pathogen’s virulence, life-style and spread, but also broader knowledge and awareness of policies, outbreak and threat surveillance, economics, national security, and preparedness.   The University of Virginia Global Biothreats Training Program is based on the belief that a multidisciplinary approach is required to train investigators to understand, and ultimately to treat and prevent infections with global threat agents.

This training program provides specialized and focused coursework and opportunities to converse and collaborate with experts in policy, social science, engineering, law, and national security through UVA’s Global Infectious Disease Institute. The Program goal is to provide a rich interdisciplinary experience to prepare pre- and postdoctoral students for careers in Global Biothreats.  Research themes encompass the biology, virulence and host responses to global biothreats. The faculty are well-funded from both federal and private sources, providing research activities with excellent financial and technological support. Laboratories are well-equipped with modern and sophisticated instrumentation to enable advanced experimentation

Training Program Basics

The Predoctoral Program is oriented toward providing a strong education and training in interdisciplinary global biothreats research that supplements the basic degree requirements and goals of the degree-granting departments within the University of Virginia.

Our Ph.D. program typically requires four to six years of study. Independent research is at the core of the program. During the first two years, students complete formal course requirements and rotate through 2-3 different laboratories. Thesis labs and mentors are chosen after completion of their first year. For a list of mentors, check this link. Once students have selected thesis laboratories, they become members of the associated department. Departments participating in the Global Biothreats Training Program each have their own criteria to assess student progress. Trainees are selected in a competitive process after completing the first year of course work and selection of a research mentor. All students in the Training Program receive a stipend that is competitive with that offered by other institutions. Tuition, fees, health insurance and travel costs to scientific meetings are also covered.

Coursework

Students in the Global Biothreats Training Program work with their mentor and graduate advisor to develop an individualized program of study.

Required courses:

  • MICR 8400 – Molecular Principles of Bacteriology & Virology
  • MICR 8401 – Microbial Pathogenesis
  • MICR 8402 – Microbial Pathogenesis Proposal Preparation
  • BIMS 7100 – Research Ethics
  • MICR 8341 – Biological Threats and Public Health
  • Global Health Policy & Practice

Coincident with formal coursework, students are given the opportunity to develop oral presentation skills by participating in monthly research in progress seminars, journal club, annual Research Day, attend weekly seminars and participate in interdisciplinary discussions.

For additional information about the Global Biothreats Training Program, please contact: Barbara Mann, bjm2r@virginia.edu

Prospective students should apply for admission through the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Studies.