Objective

Infectious diseases are among the most common threats to human health. Many infectious diseases have plagued humankind for centuries, while others have either recently emerged, are newly recognized, or have assumed greater importance by virtue of prevalence or antibiotic resistance. Many infectious agents are well-established causes of malignancy, such as cancers of the stomach, liver, and cervix. Novel agents have been identified that account for previously idiopathic diseases, and the pace of this discovery will increase as a result of progress in genomics and high-throughput DNA sequencing.  Although tissue culture and other in vitro systems play a critical role in studies of host–pathogen interactions, scientists are needed that have the expertise and confidence to approach whole animal models of human disease using sophisticated methodologies. There is a growing need for PhDs and scientifically trained DVMs and MDs to make important contributions to our understanding of infectious diseases after an intensive period of basic research training. 
The purpose of the AMID training program is to serve this need by providing research training for PhD students interested in using animal models to study human infectious diseases.  The program is designed to take advantage of the existing strengths at UC Davis, including the Center for Comparative Medicine, the California National Primate Research Center, the Mouse Biology Program, the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, the Clinical and Translational Science Center, and numerous graduate groups in relevant disciplines.

AMID Curriculum

In addition to the requirements of their graduation group, AMID students are expected to participate in the activities listed below.  Students may also wish to enroll in the designated emphasis in host-microbe interactions (DE-HMI).

  • MMI 210A and 210B
  • AMID Biannual Research Colloquium
  • Seminars and Retreats
  • AMID Advisor Meetings
  • AMID Annual Program Evaluation
  • Scientific Integrity

Conditions of Award
AMID students will receive a 1-year stipend at the current NIH predoctoral level, along with a supply budget and travel allowance. Current support is $22,920 for stipend, $4,200 for supplies, and $1,000 for travel.  Support is renewable for a second year, contingent on satisfactory progress and continued funding.

Eligibility
UC Davis PhD students are eligible for the AMID Program if they are a US citizen or permanent resident, are engaged in a research project that uses animal models to study human infectious diseases, and have a major professor who is an AMID trainer, or is eligible to become one.  Students in a combined MD/PhD or DVM/PhD degree program, and students that are underrepresented in science, are especially encouraged to apply.  Preference will be given to students that have passed the qualifying examination and advanced to candidacy, though this is not a requirement.

How to Apply
Applications are accepted as positions become available, which will be announced by email to faculty and students in the relevant graduate groups.  A completed application with the following components should be compiled as a single PDF file and submitted by email to Ms. Kassie Woltmon (klwoltmon@ucdavis.edu).

  • Application Form (Word)
  • Summary of research proposal (1 page maximum, excluding references)
  • Undergraduate unofficial transcript
  • GRE score report (MCAT may substitute for MD/PhD students)
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from AMID mentor)
  • Mentor NIH biosketch for students whose mentor is not currently an AMID faculty member

Leadership

Program Directors
Jay V. Solnick, M.D., Ph.D.
Director
Department of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
jvsolnick@ucdavis.edu

Chuck L. Bevins, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
clbevins@ucdavis.edu

Mentors/Trainers

The AMID Program trainers are a diverse group of 25 faculty drawn from 12 departments in 4 schools and colleges. Trainers are selected according to three primary eligibility criteria: (i) a commitment to study human infectious disease with creative use of animal models, (ii) active federal research grant support, and (iii) membership in a graduate group and commitment to mentor predoctoral students.  Current faculty and their research interests are listed below; new faculty are admitted after approval by the Executive Committee.

Peter Barry, Ph.D., CMV persistence and pathogenesis
Nicole Baumgarth, D.V.M., Ph.D., Immune response to influenza and Borrelia
Andreas Bäumler, Ph.D., Salmonella, immunity, and the gut microbiota
Chuck Bevins, M.D., Ph.D., Antimicrobial peptides and innate defense
Lark Coffey, Ph.D., Evolution and ecology of arboviruses
Satya Dandekar, Ph.D., Mucosal immunology of HIV and SIV
Scott Dawson, Ph.D., Structure and function of attachment in Giardia
Jonathan Eisen, Ph.D., Evolution & ecology host-microbe interactions
Dennis Hartigan-O’Connor, M.D., Ph.D., T cell activation during HIV and SIV infection
Volkmar Heinrich, Ph.D., Single cell analysis of host-microbe interaction
Greg Lanzaro, Ph.D., Population genetics of parasitic diseases
Kent Leach, Ph.D., Stem cells, tissue repair, and regeneration
Shirley Luckhart, Ph.D., Malaria pathogenesis transmission biology
Stephen McSorley, Ph.D., T cell response to Salmonella and Chlamydia
Chris Miller, D.V.M., Ph.D., Primate models of HIV and influenza
Bill Murphy, Ph.D., Host defense against CMV and influenza
Kent Pinkerton, Ph.D., Tobacco smoke and susceptibility to infection
Katy Ralston, Ph.D., Pathogenesis of Entamoeba histolytica
Jeroen Saeij, Ph.D., Virulence in Toxoplasma gondii
Roger Sciammas, Ph.D., Plasticity in antibody responses
Barbara Shacklett, Ph.D., Immune response to HIV
Scott Simon, Ph.D., Biophysics of leukocyte recruitment
Jay Solnick, M.D., Ph.D., Pathogenesis of Helicobacter pylori
Renee Tsolis, Ph.D., Pathogenesis of Salmonella and Brucella
Bart Weimer, Ph.D., Population biology of Salmonella