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Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis Research Training Program


Project Summary/AbstractThe Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis (IMP) Training Program of the Weill Cornell Graduate School ofMedical Sciences takes advantage of the breadth and depth of basic and clinical research talent among thecomponent institutions [Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center(MSKCC), and The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)] to provide a unique environment in which we strive totrain the next generation of leaders in immunology and microbial pathogenesis. Graduate students areexposed to cutting edge immunology and infectious disease research ranging from basic biochemical studiesto clinical trials of immunotherapies that grew out of basic research in IMP Program laboratories. Eachcomponent institution has particular strengths to lend to the training: Inflammation and infectious disease(WCMC), tumor immunology (MSKCC), and autoimmunity (HSS). However, the Program has been sosuccessful in fostering tri-institutional interactions and collaborations among the faculty and trainees, that thereis substantial overlapping expertise among these institutions. The graduate program leading to a Ph.D. degreeis open to students who hold a Bachelor?s degree from an accredited institution, as well as to individuals whoalready hold an advanced degree and wish to train for an independent academic research career in IMP.Acceptance into the IMP Program is based on college GPA and GRE scores, research experience, letters ofrecommendation, and personal interviews. We have special programs in place to recruit underrepresented andunderserved minorities. Predoctoral trainees are required to take a core curriculum in Immunology and relatedbiomedical sciences prior to joining a thesis lab, and soon thereafter to pass a rigorous Admission toCandidacy exam. To keep up with the demands of analyzing ?big data? sets, all students are required toparticipate in a Quantitative Biology course and are offered hands-on computer workshops. Graduate studiestake 5.6 years in average to complete. Graduate students also actively participate in Research-in-Progressseminars, the IMP Retreat, Advanced Topics in Immunology courses, and external speaker seminars.Progress of the IMP students is monitored annually with the use of Individual Development Plans. The IMPTraining Program Directors, IPM Program Chairs and senior faculty form the Executive Steering Committee ofthe IMP training program. An External Advisory Board will regularly review the T32 program and providingconstructive criticism to help guide the Program?s leadership. The IMP Program has been growing, withincreased numbers of highly qualified students and currently admits an average of 7 students per year. We arerequesting funding to support 4 predoctoral trainees per year to receive funding for two-year terms. Thesetrainees are selected from a highly qualified pool of applicants by a faculty committee with members of ourthree partner institutions.

Ehrt, Sabine; Li, Ming
Cornell University
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