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Basic Science Research Training

For those fellows interested in a basic science or translational focus in their research training, Duke has a vast number of world-renowned laboratories performing cutting-edge research. The Division of Pediatric ID has six faculty members with NIH-funded basic science laboratories (M. Anthony Moody, MD; Sallie Permar, MD, PhD; Neeraj Surana, MD, PhD; Praveen Juvvadi, PhDGenevieve Fouda, MD, PhD; and William Steinbach, MD), and our fellows have also been welcomed into a wide variety of laboratories in other divisions and departments throughout the extensive Duke research enterprise.

The Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) has established a place of national and international leadership in the fight against major infectious diseases. DHVI plays an integral leadership role in the Global HIV/AIDS Vaccine Enterprise and is a pioneer in emerging infections research. By focusing on the scientific “bottlenecks” for the development of vaccines for HIV, TB, and other infectious diseases, DHVI investigators continue to make significant progress in working toward overcoming global health challenges on behalf of society. Current projects include the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID), HIV Research and Development (HIVRAD), Duke Center for Translational Research (DCTR), and the Duke Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Duke is also home to the Regional Bio-containment Laboratory (RBL)--one of only a few in the US--which allows experimental work with select agents, including infectious diseases that are important for biodefense.

The Duke Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) is a Duke-based multinational consortium of universities and academic medical centers established for the development of candidate HIV vaccines, capitalizing on an in-depth understanding of the basic immunology of HIV and roadblocks to HIV-1 vaccine development. Duke was formerly the home of CHAVI, and based on the success of that program, Duke was awarded one of two CHAVI-ID grants (along with The Scripps Research Institute) to continue to work toward the goal of developing a HIV-1 vaccine.

The Duke Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) promotes collaboration and coordination of AIDS-related research by supporting the scientific needs of the basic and clinical research community. The various cores and the CFAR-initiated interactions provide access to scientific expertise, research opportunities, and financial support for trainees through its small projects development grants. Two faculty in the division play prominent roles in CFAR leadership: Coleen Cunningham, MD leads the Clinical Core of the Duke CFAR and Sallie Permar, MD, PhD is co-director of the Development Core that oversees mentoring and the small grant programs.

The Center for Host-Microbial Interactions (CHoMI) provides an interdepartmental intellectual home for Duke investigators who are interested in this broad area of research. CHoMI was originally conceived as the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, which was designed to build on the success of the mycology group at Duke and strengthen bacterial pathogenesis initiatives at our institution. Following the successful recruitment of new faculty, the center has evolved into a community of 40 laboratories spanning a number of departments and divisions that are focused on the study of various unique aspects of host-microbial interactions.

The Duke Microbiome Center (DMC) was established in 2012 to address the increasingly prominent role that genome sciences play in shaping research in microbial systems, and in the renewed interest among the public and scientific community as to the roles that microbes play in human health and disease. A number of Pediatric ID faculty (Neeraj Surana, MD, PhD; Matthew Kelly, MD, MPH; Sallie Permar, MD, PhD) lead microbiome-focused studies and are faculty members in the DMC.

The Duke University Mycology Research Unit (DUMRU) is the largest consortium of molecular and clinical mycology researchers in the US, with over 75 members including MDs, PhDs, PharmDs, and students, post-doctoral fellows, and medical fellows. The group oversees the nation’s only NIH training grant in molecular mycology, the Tri-Institutional Molecular Mycology and Pathogenesis Training Program (Tri-I MMPTP), and focuses on basic fungal pathogenesis, fungal diagnostics, antifungal drug discovery, and both small and larger clinical trials.

The Duke Center for Virology provides a focus for research and graduate training in the field of virology. This center brings together investigators in basic and translational virology, providing opportunities for collaboration, research presentation, and mentoring. The group hosts a biweekly research progress meeting and offers student and fellow travel grants for conferences.

The Center for RNA Biology brings together laboratories focused on RNA biology including the study of RNA binding proteins, RNA-based therapies, post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, non-coding RNAs and RNA interference (RNAi), ribozyme function, and RNA viruses. The center laboratories are located at Duke University and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke, coupled with the Department of Immunology and other basic science departments, offer countless opportunities for fellows to pursue an interest in pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, and drug discovery in the diverse areas of virology, bacteriology, mycology, and immune responses.