BIODEFENSE RESEARCH TRAINING AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES - NIAID 
 
RELEASE DATE:  July 8, 2003

NOTICE: NOT-AI-03-047 

Application Types and Standard Receipt Dates: T32, T35, F32, F31, 
and K mechanisms. 
 (For all receipt dates, see 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm) 

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) 
 (http://www.niaid.nih.gov) 
 
PURPOSE 
 
To expedite research training and career development in research areas 
focusing on biodefense, including prevention, detection, diagnosis, and 
treatment of diseases caused by potential bioterrorism agents. 
 
BACKGROUND 
 
As concern grows about the use of biological agents in acts of bioterrorism 
or war, the NIAID is evaluating and accelerating measures to protect the 
public from the health consequences of such events. Recent events have 
reminded us that bioterrorism can be a major contributor in disease 
emergence. 
 
NIAID biodefense research focuses on the need for basic studies on the 
biology of the microbe, the host response, as well as basic and applied 
research aimed at the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines 
against these agents. In addition, NIAID recognizes the need to enhance the 
areas of research resources, facilities, and biosafety. Further, it is clear 
that a growing cadre of highly trained investigators is needed in order to 
address the biodefense research agenda proposed by the NIAID. NIAID 
recognizes that in order to effectively conduct research on this rapidly 
evolving area of emerging infectious disease, new researchers will need to be 
trained to work with special agents, reagents, and animals necessary to 
pursue this line of research. In addition, expertise in a wide variety of 
areas including structural biology, medicinal chemistry, bioinformatics, 
diagnostics, and therapeutic and vaccine candidate production is needed. 
 
NIAID BIODEFENSE INFORMATION 
 
NIAID maintains comprehensive information on its programs in Biodefense and 
emerging infectious diseases at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/biodefense/ 
 
NIAID RESEARCH TRAINING AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES 
 
NIAID encourages applications for research training and career development in 
the following areas:
 
Pathogen replication and pathogenesis

o  Study of pathogens and their interactions with their hosts, including 
genomic and proteomic analyses. These studies can also include the 
development of innovative technologies.
o  Identification and characterization of pathogen and host molecular targets 
for interventions.
o  Identification and evaluation of new targets for development of passive 
antibody therapies.  Development of genetic systems to study pathogens.
o  Basic and comparative studies on microbial physiology. 

Animal models of infection and immunity

o  Development and use of animal models of infection to characterize 
mechanisms of pathogenesis and pathogen-host interactions. These include 
studies of pathogenesis and comparative pathogenesis, studies of pathogen-
host gene expression, and characterization of host genetic risk factors for 
disease susceptibility. 
o  Development of animal models to define protective immune mechanisms and to 
allow for validation of vaccines, diagnosis, and treatment regimens for 
pathogens. Investigators are encouraged to use gene profiling to assess 
disease progression and unique host cellular signatures indicative of initial 
infection.
o  Development of animal models to define mechanisms of immunopathology and 
immune evasion. 
o  Development of animal models to study mechanisms of vaccination adverse 
events to include (but not limited to) eczema vaccinatum and atopic 
dermatitis (associated with smallpox vaccination), methods for avoiding the 
introduction of adventitious agents during vaccine manufacture, and novel 
methods of vaccine production to enhance vaccine safety. 

Host response

o  Research into the mechanisms of mucosal immunity to pathogens, including 
natural and bioengineered agents. Special emphasis on mechanisms of 
immunoregulation in the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.
o  Identification and characterization of immunoregulatory pathways in the 
very young, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. 
o  Development of novel vaccine strategies that will optimize specific 
protective primary and secondary immune responses. These include new 
strategies for adjuvants, vaccine formulation, identification of protective 
B- and T-cell epitopes, and their optimal delivery in vaccines.
o  Development of novel vaccine technologies and delivery systems.
o  Identification and characterization of innate immune pathways as targets 
for passive immunotherapy. 
o  Identification and analysis of genetic variations and polymorphisms in 
human hosts associated with resistance and susceptibility to infection, 
including innate and adaptive immunity, and responses to vaccines and 
therapies. Use of microarray technology is encouraged.
o  Studies of factors that influence the innate and adaptive immune responses 
such as age-specific receptor expression, synergy and regulation of multiple 
responses, optimization of antigen presentation and immune memory, and 
adjuvants.
o  Mechanistic studies of the molecular and cellular connections between 
nutrition, host immunity, and infections.
o  Use of imaging and other emerging technologies to study pathogenesis and 
immune response in vivo.
o  Use and development of mathematical models focused on characterization of 
host immune responses, pathogenesis, and infectivity. 

Epidemiology and natural history of Categories A-C organisms and the diseases 
they cause

o  Studies of the natural history of microbial pathogens in natural non-human 
and human hosts, including disease spectrum and distribution, prognostic 
indicators and characterization of risk factors, host and environmental 
factors related to disease acquisition and severity, and outcome.
o  Characterization of population immunity, correlates of immunity, and 
immunopathogenesis.
o  Studies of the distribution and determinants of microbial pathogens in 
human populations.
o  Studies and modeling of vehicles and mechanisms of transmission of 
pathogens in human populations in endemic areas.
o  Studies of the natural rates of horizontal gene transfer, especially of 
plasmid-encoded toxins and resistance factors, in the microbial ecosystems 
likely to be most exposed to agents of bioterrorism.
o  Identification of the biotic and abiotic factors that are necessary for 
the maintenance of these pathogens in the external environment and the 
factors that support the maintenance and expansion of the pathogen population 
in the environment. 

Laboratory Containment

o  Research experience using BL3 or BL4 facilities
o  Design and improvement of BL3 or BL4 facilities 

In addition, NIAID encourages applications from individuals in which both 
academic and private sectors are engaged in addressing areas of biodefense 
research. 
 
MECHANISMS OF SUPPORT 
 
Institutional Training Grants

o  Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA) Training Grants (T32) 
in the area of biodefense research. Applicants for T32 training grants should 
refer to the Program Announcement
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-02-109.html). Please note 
that NIAID has a single receipt date: September 10.
o  Supplements to NIAID grantees for additional trainee slots in biodefense-
related areas will not be accepted.
o  Applicants for training grants in biodefense research should include the 
following criteria:

       1.  Principal Investigators (PIs) should address, describe, and 
justify biodefense research relevance throughout their grant applications. 
       2.  Applications should include didactic features such as courses and 
seminars specific to biodefense research topics.
       3.  Applications should have faculty onboard with relevant expertise 
in biodefense research, either on-site or through collaborative efforts. 
Expertise can be in microbiology, virology, infectious diseases, immunology, 
structural biology, genomics, pharmacology, or other relevant areas.
       4.  Scientists with microbiology and infectious diseases backgrounds 
are strongly encouraged to collaborate with researchers working in the field 
of immunology.

o  Short Term Institutional Research Training Grants (T35) for health 
professional students. Applicants for T35 training grants should refer to 
this page for instructions
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-027.html). 

Individual Fellowships

o  Individual NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowships (F32). Applicants for F32 
fellowships should refer to this page for instructions 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-104.html). 
o  Individual Pre-Doctoral Fellowships (F31) for minority students or for 
students with disabilities. Applicants for F31 fellowships should refer to 
the appropriate Program Announcement for instructions: for minority students 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-069.html) or for 
students with disabilities
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-068.html) 

Career Development (K) awards

o  K02 Independent Scientist Award
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-020.html) for early 
mid-career independent investigators.  
o  K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-003.html)  intended for 
individuals with clinical degrees who wish to pursue basic research careers. 
o  K22 Research Scholar Development Award 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-02-018.html) intended for 
postdoctoral trainees who wish to move to positions of assistant professor at 
academic institutions.
o K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-004.html)  intended for 
individuals planning research careers involving direct contact with patients. 
o  K24 Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-00-005.html)  intended for 
well-established mid-career independent investigators with strong records of 
achievement patient-oriented research and training. 

INQUIRIES 
 
Inquiries are strongly encouraged and, in the case of supplements to existing 
T32 grants, required. Opportunities to clarify any issues or questions from 
potential applicants are welcome. 
 
o  Direct programmatic inquiries to: 
 
Milton J. Hernández, Ph.D. 
Division of Extramural Activities 
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 
Room 21233, MSC-7610
6700-B Rockledge Drive 
Bethesda, MD  20892-7610
Bethesda, MD 20817-7610 (for express/courier service) 
Telephone: (301) 496-3775
FAX:  (301) 496-8729
Email: mh35c@nih.gov
 
Susan Garges, Ph.D.
Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Room 5009, MSC-6603
6610 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-6605
Telephone (301) 402-8584
FAX: (301) 480-1260
Email:  sg9g@nih.gov 
 
Lawrence J. Prograis, M.D. 
Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Room Number 3065, MSC-6601
6610 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD  20892-6601
Bethesda, MD 20817-6601 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:(301) 496-1886
FAX:  (301) 402-2571
Email: lp13r@nih.gov

o  Direct fiscal and grants management inquiries to: 
 
Barbara Huffman
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Room Number 2132, MSC-7610
6700B Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD  20892-7610
Bethesda, MD 20817-7610 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 496-3821
FAX:  (301) 496-8729
Email:  bh23q@nih.gov


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