To initiate a project, the A&I fellow is expected to perform outside reading of the biomedical literature in an area of interest. Both clinical and laboratory mentors with whom the fellow is working are expected to provide input into the area of interest, and also guidance regarding the literature in that area. A listing of the research faculty follows this section. Based on their interests and background reading, the A&I fellow will meet with the principal investigator (PI) of various laboratories, and discuss potential laboratory projects. Typically, the laboratory project will be in an area of focus of the PI, designed to accommodate the long term research interests of the A&I fellow, and feasible within a 2-year period of time. The choices of PI and project are also discussed and vetted with the training program head. Finally, upon choosing a laboratory, the fellow will establish a mentoring committee that will include the laboratory mentor and 2-3 additional faculty with synergistic expertise. The committee will assist in monitoring research progress and additional aspects of career planning for the fellow. Project completion is expected to coincide with the accumulation of sufficient data to lead to a publication. Through weekly meetings and on-going discussions with their laboratory head/mentor, the A&I fellows will acquire the ability to assess their data, and move their project towards a coherent and medically relevant conclusion. Once a coherent body of data is completed, the A&I fellow will be expected to write an initial draft of a manuscript, and will work with the laboratory head/mentor through subsequent drafts until a final draft satisfactory to both is generated. The A&I fellow and laboratory head/mentor will then choose a suitable journal, and submit the manuscript for review and publication.
The fellow is responsible for sufficient effort to complete the project with the expectation that the results will be reported at a national conference and submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The mentor in consultation with the program director/co-director individualizes the choice of course work. For example, UW A&I fellows to attend the core graduate course in Immunology (IMM 532, Advanced Immunology). This course covers the principles and experimental approaches relevant to understanding the development and function of the immune system, the molecular basis of immune responsiveness, regulatory mechanisms underlying immune tolerance and cellular homeostasis, and provides an introduction to anti-tumor immunology, host defenses to infectious diseases, and autoimmunity. Other courses, such as one or more of the 5-week Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate courses, may be appropriate in some cases. There is also a short course in Study Design and Statistics, offered through the Clinical Research Center, which trainees take. All trainees complete a formal course in the responsible conduct of research, and the relevant brief courses required for working with radioactive or biohazardous materials and animals as pertinent to their research studies. These courses are augmented by informal training experiences coordinated by the UW Department of Immunology, in which all trainees may participate:
In summary, fellows will be provided with a structured research experience sufficient to result in an understanding of the basic principles of study design, performance, analysis, and reporting such that: