IIZD Outreach


Although infectious disease physicians constitute an essential part of human medicine, a parallel specialization does not exist in veterinary medicine. As a result, key threats, such as the emergence of antibiotic resistance and prevention, and response to hospital infections continue to present challenges. 

A goal of the Institute is to build a legacy of new graduates with cutting-edge microbiology and infectious disease skills. To meet this goal, the Institute is engaging with trainees who represent an array of science, veterinary, and public health career interests. We are providing a training and mentorship platform that attracts and retains junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, veterinary students, and notably BIPOC trainees – all who are motivated to participate in a well-resourced, multi-disciplinary program focused on zoonotic infectious disease. 

  • Pre-doctoral Training Opportunity in Infectious Disease

    Through a recognition of the need to prepare research scientists and future leaders in the biomedical field to understand the challenges associated with zoonotic infectious disease, the PennVet Institute for Infectious and Zoonotic Disease (IIZD) will provide fellowships for pre-doctoral students interested in infectious diseases of humans and wildlife. This fellowship provides support to graduate students conducting research broadly related to the biology of infectious disease (viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic). Support will be for one-two years, subject to progress and continued availability of funding. The level of support provided is $35K/year and the sponsor laboratory is expected to provide approximately $14K/year to fully support the applicant.

    Students will be expected to be in or associated with the laboratories of Penn faculty mentors who have strong scientific records and a commitment to graduate training. Current areas of focus include enteric pathogens, Vector biology, Vaccine development, Tropical medicine and public health, Microbiome and functional genomics, Immunology, and Ecology. Research projects on molecular epidemiology, molecular diagnostics, mathematical modeling, covering concepts in evolution (e.g., evolution of virulence), ecology (e.g., population dynamics), and behavior (e.g., risk-aversion) centered around infectious disease themes are also appropriate.

    In addition, to laboratory or field-based research, core training activities for all trainees include developing an individual development plan, taking courses in animal and human subjects research, participating in career development seminars; and attending the Global Parasitology series (virtual attendance is fine), and a yearly scientific retreat. All trainees must meet with the speaker afterwards for these meetings.

    Qualified individuals include: 1) UPenn students enrolled in doctoral degree programs in biomedical sciences and 2) international students who are enrolled in graduate programs in other countries or US institutions who have written permission from their school to interrupt their current schooling and to return within one year of completing their degree granting program Candidates from a low- or middle-income countries (LMIC) or U.S. underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply. Participation is contingent upon applicable immigration rules and regulations.

    Application materials:

    1. A nominating letter from the UPenn faculty sponsor is required. Candidates based at institutions other than UPenn, should be co-mentored by one UPenn based faculty member in addition to their home institution mentor. This should include a brief statement that details commitment to graduate education.
    2. NIH Biosketch of faculty sponsor (s).
    3. CV of the candidate.
    4. 2-page description of research project in NIH style format (e.g. specific aims with hypothesis, background, supportive data, approach, with references outside of the page limit).
    5. 1-page personal statement – explain why you are a good candidate for the fellowship. Please state the specific research that interests you, relevant experience that you have, and what your goals will be during and after the fellowship and how these relate to Zoonotic infectious disease.

    Selection of trainees is performed by an internal committee comprised of IIZD program faculty. Deadline for application is January 15th, 2023.

    If you need more information, please contact Dr. De'Broski Herbert at debroski@vet.upenn.edu or Michael Black at blackmic@upenn.edu.