Graduate Studies

Training in molecular retrovirology

The purpose of the Retrovirology training program is to provide an environment for physician scientists (MD, DVM, DDS), pre- and post doctoral fellows to develop the modern molecular techniques and conceptual skills to perform quality clinical and basic research on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and other relevant retrovirus associated diseases. Our objective is to extend the training opportunities within the Center for Retrovirus Research by providing a platform of support for young scientists.

The program consists of an interdisciplinary network of research laboratories and clinical research sites in the following fields: clinical research at the adult and pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Units, retrovirology, molecular biology, immunology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and pathology. Qualified trainees are selected and recruited to participate in an integrated program which promotes interdisciplinary interactions and a broad exposure to clinical research methods. Applicants will be selected based upon academic records, interest in research, recommendations, and personal interviews. Trainees will observe and select research problems from multiple, complimentary disciplines offered by preceptor laboratories.

Examples of currently available research programs include:

  • research in adult and pediatric AIDS neurobehavioral disorders in HIV-infected men
  • investigations of molecular pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus and human T-lymphotropic virus
  • investigations of the molecular determinants of simian immunodeficiency virus infection
  • studies of retrovirus animal models including feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus infection
  • anti-retroviral pharmacodynamics, and studies of AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma and lymphocyte regulation

Trainees will be selected from the fields of retrovirology, molecular biology, immunology and pathology. The program is funded, in part, from current projects and is the focus of a NIH training grant application. The training period is typically three to five years depending on the extent of basic science training required for each trainee. Program training goals include formulation of research skills and methods involving patient materials, scholarly work (presentation and publication of research data), as well as understanding of basic science through rotations through research laboratories, HIV research clinics, course work and seminars.