The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for accomplished investigators still early in their careers to study what happens at the points where human and microbial systems connect. The program supports research that sheds light on the fundamentals that affect the outcomes of this encounter: how colonization, infection, commensalism and other relationships play out at levels ranging from molecular interactions to systemic ones.
While work on AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and microbes of interest for biodefense is allowed, the program emphasizes research that opens up unexplored areas. Research on under-studied infectious diseases, including pathogenic fungi, protozoan and metazoan diseases, and emerging infections is especially of interest. In addition, excellent animal models of human disease, including work done in veterinary research settings, are within the program’s scope. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. Highlighted areas of interest include:
|Cell/Pathogen interactions—studies of host responses at the cell surface, cell signaling in response to infection, microbial persistence in host cells, and other work.|
|Host/Pathogen interactions—studies of how host genetics influences resistance and susceptibility to infection, innate and adaptive immune responses to microbes, pathogen modulation of the immune system, and other work.|
|Novel routes to disease causation—studies of the role of infectious agents in the etiology of chronic, autoimmune, and immunologic diseases, and other work.|
Approaches that fit into these frameworks might include the study of host susceptibility to particular pathogens, host resistance to chronic or acute disease, or basic studies of infectious microbes—as long as the work is oriented toward understanding how the organism interacts with the host. Virulence factors, immune mechanisms, and genetic studies in microbes and the host all provide fertile ground for this kind of study.
Further details are available at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund website. The application deadline is November 1, 2013.