T  T32 NIH Training Grant Program for PhD students and Postdoctoral Scholars with Multipdisciplinary Training in Microbial Pathogenesis.

Director: Patricia Johnson      Associate Director: Peter Bradley
Contact Name: Patricia J. Johnson
Contact Email: johnsonp@ucla.edu
Contact Phone: 310-825-4870

The UCLA Microbial Pathogenesis Training Grant provides the foundation for an integrated research training program in the biochemistry, cell biology & genetics of microbial pathogens and host-pathogen interactions. The program’s goal is to train scientists to conduct research in microbial pathogenesis using molecular, cellular, genetic, immunological, genomic and post-genomic approaches. Our training faculty includes 23 preceptors with a broad range of related research interests in the areas of bacteriology, parasitology, virology, and immunology. Faculty preceptors have excellent publication, funding and training records. The program is small, with six predoctoral and two postdoctoral funded positions; yet it plays a vital role, not limited to trainees, in educating PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in the field of microbial pathogenesis at UCLA. Most of our predoctoral trainees are recruited through the Graduate Program in Biology which will provide an excellent pool of ~45 – 55 predoctoral students yearly. In recent years >30% of entering PhD students express interest in microbiology, immunology and host:pathogen interactions.

Our faculty are also highly successful in attracting qualified postdoctoral fellows. Trainees are selected for funding on a competitive basis, after a thorough review of their academic and research accomplishments. Progress is reviewed at least twice a year and appointments are renewed yearly with a maximum of three years of support for predoctoral trainees and two years for postdoctoral trainees. The training program requires the completion of coursework focused on microbial pathogenesis, annual presentations of trainee research in symposia attended by all trainees and training preceptors, participation in a Microbial Pathogenesis seminar series composed of external, preeminent scientists in the field & associated literature discussions. Trainees are also funded to present their research at one national/international meeting per year. Parital stipend and fees are also awarded to trainees.

Trainees participate in a journal club focused on host:pathogen interactions and newly emerging infectious agents. These journal clubs are jointly facilitated by training preceptors and trainees and serve to broaden trainee education. Participation in a course devoted to ethics and accountability in biomedical research is also required. All trainees will be required to develop career objectives guided by “My Individual Development Plan (IDP)”. Postdoctoral trainees are also required to participate in the PhD Career Training Series and research-related career focused workshops. Career counseling by the program director and training grant advisory committee is also emphasized. Annual research presentations at national meetings and UCLA scientific retreats are expected. The focal point of our training program is excellence in research. Several mechanisms are in place to monitor and facilitate trainee progress in research and career development.