NIH Training Grant

‘Interactions at the Microbe-Host Interface’

NIH supported T32 training grant 

Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Tram, Portland and Mt. Hood in the fall. Photo by Kent Anderson.
Portland is a very livable mid-size city with a lot of beautiful nature at its doorstep. Photo by Kent Anderson.

Program Description

The training program ‘Interactions at the Microbe-Host Interface’ at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland has been supported by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1995. The objective of this program is to provide enhanced interdisciplinary scientific and career training to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working with infectious micro-organisms and especially studying the interface between these pathogens and their human hosts. Associated areas of research include pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites, and the host immune responses against these microbes. A non-inclusive list of pathogens and related topics under study by program faculty include: 

  • Bacteria: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Bacillus anthracis.
  • Viruses: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), cytomegalovirus, herpes viruses, Dengue, Zika and West Nile viruses, rhesus macaque rabdinovirus (RRV), Chikungunya virus.
  • Parasites: Leishmania, African trypanosomes, malaria, Toxoplasma.
  • Immunology: Innate and adaptive immune responses, B cells, T cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, chemokines and cytokines, interferons, vaccine development. 
Approaches are highly diverse and interdisciplinary and include the following: 
  • bacterial genetics
  • molecular virology
  • molecular parasitology
  • biochemistry and molecular biology
  • chemical biology and drug discovery
  • x-ray crystallography
  • proteomics
  • genomics
  • bioinformatics and systems biology
  • animal models including non-human primates, etc. 
Although this training grant is sponsored by the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, faculty mentors associated with this program come from a diverse group of basic science departments, clinical departments, research institutes and associated institutions, including: 
  • Departments: Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Physiology/Pharmacology, Cell & Developmental Biology, Molecular & Medical Genetics, Medicine, Pediatrics
  • Institutes: Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI), Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), Earle A. Chiles Research Institute; 
  • Associated Institutions: Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 
Leishmania parasites
Leishmania parasites in tissue culture. Image courtesy of Dr. Scott Landfear.

Eligibility for Support by this Training Grant

This training program supports a total of 8 graduate student and postdoctoral trainees at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. 
  • Trainees must be graduate students or postdoctoral fellows working in the laboratory of one of the faculty mentors who are part of this training program and thus must already have been accepted into one of those laboratories at the time they apply for support by this training grant. 
  • Graduate students or postdocs working in laboratories that are not specifically associated with this training grant are not eligible to apply for support from this program. 
  • Trainees at the postdoctoral level may apply for support from this program if they have received a formal offer from one of our faculty mentors to join their laboratory, even though they may not yet be working in that laboratory. 
  • Graduate students must have passed their Qualifying Examination, taken at the end of the second year, before entering this training program. 

Application for Training Grant Support 

  • Applicants must submit a formal application in response to the Request for Applications (RFA) released in April or May of any particular year. 
  • Typically, such applications are due in mid-July for award of training grant support that initiates in September. 
  • Support of trainees is typically for a period of 2 years and includes a stipend at the designated NIH level plus some additional funds to be used for short training programs, attendance of scientific meetings, or supplies to support the trainee’s research project. 
  • Trainees are especially encouraged to use these funds for activities that will enhance their training (e.g., specialized training courses at other institutions or visits to the laboratory of a collaborator to learn methodologies) or increase their exposure within their disciplines (e.g., attending a national or international scientific meeting).