Educating and training current students and future scientists is a cornerstone of the SCVD's mission. To address the need for increased knowledge in the field of Vaccinology, we have developed three graduate-level courses and have facilitated the publication of vaccine-related texts for both the public as well as academics textbooks.
Our first course, Introduction to Vaccinology: Vaccines for the 21st Century (course directors: Gregg Milligan, PhD, Martin Myers, MD and Victor Reyes, PhD), was initially offered in the Fall of 2003 under the auspices of the Experimental Pathology Graduate Program and was designed to provide the basic scientist with an understanding of vaccine development, from conceptualization through development, testing, and utilization. Our second course, Immunizations for the Protection of the Public Health (course director: Martin Myers, MD), was first offered in the Spring semester of 2004 with the sponsorship of the Preventive Medicine and Community Health Graduate Program and is offered as an elective in the MPH program. This course provides students with an understanding of vaccine development and immunization policies development and implementation. Our most recent course, Vaccine Development Pathway: From Discovery to Licensure (course directors Alan Barrett, PhD and Gregg Milligan, PhD) was offered for the first time in the Summer of 2010 as a special topics course, and was designed as an introductory course to provide the students with an overview of vaccine development. The course was sufficiently successful that it will be offered as a 2-credit elective in the Basic Biomedical Science Curriculum to first year graduate students .
The SCVD hosts a biennial symposium on vaccine development and organizes and sponsors a local seminar series, including invited speakers from biotech and pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and academia. Our latest symposium, The Changing Landscape of Vaccine Development: Vaccines for Biothreats and Emerging and Neglected Diseases, occurred in November 2009 and was well attended (approximately 300 registrants) and we received very positive comments from both speakers and attendees. It focused mainly on the progression of vaccine development from the bench to the bedside to the global community. This symposium brought together experts in the areas of immunology, pathogenesis, adjuvant systems, preclinical development, clinical trials, epidemiology, risk assessment, governmental regulation and vaccine acceptance. Our last symposium, The Changing Landscape of Vaccine Development: Vaccines for Chronic Diseases, was held February 6-9, 2012. The symposium brought together experts in the areas of addiction, cancer, neurodegenerative disease and chronic infectious disease vaccine development. Approximately 175 attendees heard thirty-eight presenters speak about their cutting-edge vaccine research and clinical trials results.
The SCVD sponsors a number of pre- and postdoctoral fellowships and travel award support for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. During fiscal year 2010, we supported three predoctoral fellowships and awarded two travel awards at poster competitions and one graduate student (Alexey Seregin, mentored by Dr. Slobodan Paessler) was awarded the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development award at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) award luncheon. This award recognizes excellence in research in the field of vaccine development and is given to a UTMB graduate student who has made a significant contribution to Vaccinology-related projects consistent with the mission statement of the center. For fiscal year 2011, we have continued our support of the three 2010 predoctoral students and are now supporting two additional graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow. We also held an abstract competition in which the winners (one graduate student and one postdoctoral scientist) were awarded travel grants to attend and present their research at the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases meeting this May in Baltimore, MD.