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Research & Funding


With niche strengths in immunology and host-pathogen interactions, Penn Vet is an integral part of the biomedical community here at the University of Pennsylvania. We bring a valuable and significant component to the investigation, surveillance, and prevention of zoonotic emerging and reemerging infectious diseases within local, regional, and global contexts. 


Finding answers to local problems that lead to global solutions

Our team is uniquely positioned to:

  • Direct and administer basic research on pathogenesis of infectious agents
  • Validate vaccine candidates for infectious diseases
  • Leverage new and existing diagnostic tools to accelerate comprehensive surveillance of wildlife health
  • Activate and inform an array of investigative and diagnostic information networks across multiple states and regions
  • Expand the skill-sets of veterinarians, infectious disease specialists, and public health professionals to address a wide range of potential disease scenarios ranging from outbreak investigations, to emergency response, to evaluating surveillance systems, to epidemiological research

Funding Opportunities

  • 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.