The objective of the fellowship program is to train investigators at the postdoctoral level in the area of CF research, with special attention paid to bacterial infections of cystic fibrosis lungs, infection-induced inflammation, and the impact of new CFTR modulator therapies on CF infections and inflammation. In addition, the fellows selected for the program are expected to contribute to CF research as part of their training. The past record of the training program is very good when taking into account the continued research activities of the former trainees in CF research, and the ability of past trainees to secure independent research positions and funding. In addition, the RDP has developed programs, collaborations, and training opportunities that seek to foster translational research by fellows, and motivate them to remain in CF research in the long term.
Recruitment of fellows to the UW RDP has been a successful mechanism for bringing new investigators into CF. Our fellowship program was boosted from one or at most two fellows in any given year to three at the time of our last renewal. This modification received strong support from both our External Advisory Board and the CFF RDP Review Committee for a number of reasons. First, it builds on strengths of our overall CF effort at UW. We have a strong record of excellence and success in training future CF researchers. Second, it allows for a critical mass of trainees who can interact and challenge each other. Third, we also have robust physician-scientist training efforts. Many of our physician-scientist trainees have become CF pediatric or CF Adult Care physicians with active research programs. Part of our success relies on the intermingling of MD and PhD researchers who all benefit from the intimate exposure to each other.