Overview of the Program
At the University of Wisconsin, virology is a major focus area of study, with 19 well-funded virology faculty studying a wide variety of viruses from ones that infect plants and insects to ones that cause human cancer and viruses causing emerging new disease such as Ebola and new strains of influenza virus. An effort to develop an integrated virology training program in Madison began over 15 years ago with the creation of the Madison Virology Program. This training grant application reflects our collective goal to develop further an outstanding training program for predoc and postdoc trainees interested in all aspects of virology on this campus. Research on viruses is an important focus area in science. Knowledge gained about viruses have led to many fundamental insights about basic cellular processes such as replication, transcription, translation, mechanisms of oncogenesis, and host immunity. Viruses are important pathogens contributing greatly to human misery and death.
Highlights of this training program's activities includes an extensive virology curriculum, a campus wide weekly Molecular Virology Seminar series attended by all trainers and trainees with specific mentoring activities associated with it, a monthly trainee data club, a multifaceted approach to career development that emphasizes acquisition of skills in writing grants and manuscripts as well as in oral presentations, training in ethics, and an annual, program-wide virology retreat. Predoc and postdoc trainees will be required to participate in all training activities, present yearly seminars, be trained in ethics, and in the case of predoc obtain a minor focused on virology. In addition to the campus-wide seminar series, trainee data club, and retreat, there are many collaborative projects between virology labs on campus as well as interlab group meetings that foster the exchange of ideas.
Our ability to attract outstanding predoc trainees is reflected in the top-ten national rankings of the graduate programs in Madison that attract students interested in virology. We also recruit outstanding predoc and postdoc trainees to our labs through a combination of the individual strength of each of the trainer's research program, the breadth of the opportunities in virology on campus, our organizing and hosting virology meetings in Madison, and our minority-focused recruiting efforts. Our strong record of achievement in training virologists, with one third of past trainees from our labs now holding faculty positions and >90% working in the biomedical sciences, provides strong evience for our continued success in training the next generation of outstanding virologists.
Curtis R. Brandt, Ph.D., Professor (Medical Microbiology and Immunology; Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences); Pathogenesis of herpes simplex virus; virulence genes in herpetic eye disease and herpes encaphalitis; antivirals; interactions between cytokines and herpesviruses; gene delivery; gene therapy.
Paul D. Friesen, Ph.D., Professor (Biochemistry; Institute for Molecular Virology); Programmed cell death (apoptosis); transcriptional regulation; molecular biology of DNA and RNA viruses, baculoviruses, and nodaviruses.
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, Ph.D., Professor (Pathobiological Sciences); Molecular mechanism of interspecies transmission of the influenza virus leading to influenza pandemics in humans; molecular pathogenesis of influenza in poultry and mammals; role of viral proteins in pathogenesis and viral replication in Ebola virus.
Christopher W. Olsen, DVM, Ph.D., Professor (Pathobiological Sciences); Pathogenesis of influenza A virus infection, with emphasis on the viral and cellular factors that permit interspecies transmission between pigs and people and the public health implications of zoonotic swine influenza.
Marulasiddappa Suresh, DVM, Ph.D., Professor (Pathobiological Sciences); Mechanisms underlying the apoptosis of virus-specific effector T cells and survival of memory T cells following an acute infection of mice with lymphocyte choriomeningitis virus (LCMV).