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POPULATION BIOLOGY OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Abstract

A Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Sites award has been made to the University of Georgia that will provide research training for 9 students, for 10 weeks during the summers of 2013- 2015. The program focuses on the population biology of infectious diseases - the sciences that aim collectively to understand the mechanisms by which existing and emerging pathogens spread, evolve, and respond to environmental pressures. It is now widely perceived that meeting the future challenges of infectious diseases will require an increasing emphasis on inter-disciplinary training and collaboration and the quantitative synthesis of ideas and data through modeling. A central goal of our program is to provide students with research experiences and educational opportunities at the intersections of the quantitative sciences (applied mathematics, statistics, computer science) and empirical disciplines of infectious disease biology. Students will be paired with faculty research mentors in 12 departments from across the UGA campus, and will conduct projects focused on the ecological, evolutionary or immunological interactions of hosts and pathogens. Students are selected on the basis of academic preparedness, previous experiences, future goals, and supporting letters of reference and to ensure a balance between modeling and experimental projects within each cohort of students. Students will be recruited through a combination of print, digital, and direct means including a collaboration with the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority participation (http://www.pslsamp.uga.edu/) and campus visits to a network of supporting institutions. Undergraduate students from any institution and major subject of study are invited to apply. Applications from students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and/or majoring in biology, computer science, ecology, mathematics, and statistics are especially encouraged. Students are tracked to determine their continued interest in their academic field of study, their career paths, and the lasting influences of the research experience. Information about the program will be assessed by various means, including use of an REU common assessment tool. More information is available by visiting http://reu.ecology.uga.edu, or by contacting the PI (Dr. John Drake at jdrake@uga.edu).

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Funding Source

Project Period

2012-2017