- Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program | Biodefense

The Biodefense Research Training and Career Development Program

The Biodefense Research Training and Career Development Program is an initiative of the University of Virginia that grew out of a 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 faculty are well-funded from both federal and private sources, providing student 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  Biodefense Training Program is oriented toward providing a strong education and training in interdisciplinary biodefense diseases 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 the 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 Biodefense 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.


Students in the Biodefense 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

Highly recommended courses:

MICR 8200 – Building Blocks of the Immune System

MICR 8202 – Integration and Diversification of the Immune System

BIMS 8382 – Practical Use of Statistics in Biomedical Research

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 ID/BD Research Day, and attend weekly ID or BD seminars.

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

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