Training in Molecular and Cell Biology of Allergy

Principal Investigator
Professor of Medicine

This T32 training program with 5 post-doctoral trainees/year has been funded by NIAID since 1994 and takes advantage of the combined extensive allergy research activities in the La Jolla scientific community. The faculty members are from two neighboring institutes: University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LIAI). The program is open to MD's and Ph.D.'s interested in allergic/immunologic disease-oriented research and committed to a career in basic research applied to these clinical diseases.
The trainees have opportunities to be exposed to a wide range of allergy research topics. In addition, the inter-institutional training program serves as a catalyst for promoting interactions and collaborations among researchers from different institutes. All 16 faculty members have well established NIH funded research programs;their research backgrounds are diverse and when taken together encompass genetics, immunology, biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology. Therefore, this training program represents an interdisciplinary approach.
The trainees can be involved in the following research areas: 1) genetics and epigenetics, 2) biology of inflammatory cells, including mast cells and eosinophils;3) T cells;4) dendritic cells, 5) innate immune responses (TLRs, ILC2, NK cells) 6) cell receptors critically involved in allergic reactions;7) signal transduction;8) inflammatory mediators/cytokines;9) functions of epithelial cells;10) complement, and 11) endothelial adhesion.  
The goals of the program are 1) to foster the development of trainee's laboratory based investigative skills, in particular, applying molecular and cellular biological approaches to study mechanisms of allergic diseases, and 2) to mentor trainees to successfully compete for either independent research grants and faculty positions, or research positions in biotechnology. 
The trainees are expected to devote over 90% effort to research, and training will be supplemented by conferences, seminars, journal clubs and courses. Upon completion of the program trainees will have developed a solid background in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of allergic inflammation and become qualified and confident in embarking upon their careers as independent investigators in allergy research.
Public Health Relevance

Allergic diseases such as asthma, sinus allergy, and food allergy are very common and affect over 20% of the population of the United States. This training grant will train physicians and PhD researchers to perform research on allergic patients to identify better ways of diagnosing and treating allergic diseases.