University of Virginia initiates new biodefense program
The initiative comes as a response to the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease Blue Ribbon Panel on Bioterrorism and Its Implications for Biomedical Research.
The program's goal is to provide interdisciplinary experience to pre- and post-doctoral students interested in careers in biodefense. It consists of research into the biology of host response to microbes, vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic technologies for infections by bioterrorism agents.
Thirty-one faculty members from eight departments will be involved in the program's efforts to create a new graduate course in biodefense, an expanded two-semester course in molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis, advanced immunology courses and colloquia, a research-in-progress series and a journal club.
In addition, the program will utilize two of the university's research centers, both within a five-minute walk from the School of Medicine.
Extramural support for the program has almost doubled to $13.5 million in annual direct costs over the last five years, and almost all of the program's preceptor's are expected to be supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Prospective students for the program are being told to apply for admission through the university's Biomedical Sciences Graduate Studies.