Animal Models of Infectious Diseases Training Program

Training in Animal Models of Infectious Diseases (AMID)

NIH Grant No: T32 AI60555



The Animal Models of Infectious Diseases Training Program, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), established for the first time a training grant in microbiology at UC Davis. The program seeks to train talented graduate students to conduct studies of human infectious diseases using animal models and novel biological methods that are evolving from the revolutions in genomics and bioinformatics. The co-localization of the Graduate School, the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and the California National Primate Research Center combine to make UC Davis a unique environment in which to conduct this training. The environment is further enhanced by the Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases, a training resource that exists nowhere else in the world, and by a major genomics initiative at UC Davis. The mentors for the training program are 23 NIH-funded investigators at UC Davis, whose work uses animal models to better understand a broad range of viral and bacterial human pathogens. Six students are funded each year, with renewal for one year contingent on satisfactory research progress. Projects of recent trainees include studies of Helicobacter pylori, Yersinia enterocolitica, HIV, Influenza, Malaria, HIV, Salmonella, and Borrelia burgdorferi using both mouse and primate models. Training emphasizes rigorous scientific research, oral and written scientific communication, and interaction with a broad range of scientists interested in animal models of human infectious diseases.

AMID Curriculum

In addition to the requirements of their graduation group, AMID students are expected to participate in the activities listed below.  Students may also wish to enroll in the designated emphasis in host-microbe interactions (DE-HMI).

  • MMI 210A and 210B
  • AMID Biannual Research Colloquium
  • Seminars and Retreats
  • AMID Advisor Meetings
  • AMID Annual Program Evaluation
  • Scientific Integrity

Conditions of Award

AMID students will receive a 1-year stipend at the current NIH predoctoral level, along with a supply budget and travel allowance. Current support is $25,320 for stipend, $4,200 for supplies, and $1,000 for travel.  Support is renewable for a second year, contingent on satisfactory progress and continued funding.


UC Davis PhD students are eligible for the AMID Program if they are a US citizen or permanent resident, are engaged in a research project that uses animal models to study human infectious diseases, and have a major professor who is an AMID trainer, or is eligible to become one.  Students in a combined MD/PhD or DVM/PhD degree program, and students that are underrepresented in science, are especially encouraged to apply.  Preference will be given to students that have passed the qualifying examination and advanced to candidacy, though this is not a requirement.

How to Apply

How to Apply 

Applications are accepted beginning May 17th with the expectation that funding will begin July 1. A completed application with the following components should be compiled as a single PDF file and submitted by email to Ms. Kassie Woltmon ( no later than May 31st, 2021, by 5 pm. 

  • Amid Cover sheet 
  • Summary of research proposal (1 page maximum, excluding references) 
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from AMID mentor) 
  • Undergraduate unofficial transcript (may be submitted after the application, however, it is required prior to official award) 

Mentor NIH biosketch for students whose mentor is not currently an AMID faculty member (see list below of current members)


Program Director:

Stephen J. McSorley, PhD
Director, Center for Immunology & Infectious Diseases
Professor, Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology

Program Co-Director:

Renee Tsolis, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology & Immunology


The AMID Program trainers are a diverse group of 25 faculty drawn from 12 departments in 4 schools and colleges. Trainers are selected according to three primary eligibility criteria: (i) a commitment to study human infectious disease with creative use of animal models, (ii) active federal research grant support, and (iii) membership in a graduate group and commitment to mentor predoctoral students.  Current faculty and their research interests are listed below; new faculty are admitted after approval by the Executive Committee.

Nicole Baumgarth, D.V.M., Ph.D., Immune response to influenza and Borrelia
Andreas Bäumler, Ph.D., Salmonella, immunity, and the gut microbiota
Eliza Bliss-Moreau, Ph.D, Animal Behavior and Systems Neuroscience
Joanna Chiu, Ph.D, Molecular Genetics of Animal Behavior and Physiology
Lark Coffey, Ph.D., Evolution and ecology of arboviruses
Satya Dandekar, Ph.D., Mucosal immunology of HIV and SIV
Scott Dawson, Ph.D., Structure and function of attachment in Giardia
Jonathan Eisen, Ph.D., Evolution & ecology host-microbe interactions
Melanie Gareau, Ph.D., Microbiota-gut-brain axisand enteric function
Angie Gelli, Ph.D., Pathogenesis of human fungal pathogens
Dennis Hartigan-O’Connor, M.D., Ph.D., T cell activation during HIV and SIV infection
Smita Iyer, Ph.D., Immunological and molecular mechanism of CD4 T cell

Marcelo Kuroda, M.D.,Ph.D., Role of macrophages in chronic infection

Kent Leach, Ph.D., Stem cells, tissue repair, and regeneration

Jamal Lewis, Ph.D., Biomaterial, drug delivery, immuno-engineering

Stephen McSorley, Ph.D., T cell response to Salmonella and Chlamydia

Lisa Miller, PhD., Developmental Immunology, respiratory toxicology and immunotoxicology
David Mills, Ph.D., Molecular biology of Gram-positive microorganisms
Bill Murphy, Ph.D., Host defense against CMV and influenza
Bennett Penn, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious diseases, mycobacterial diseases
Kent Pinkerton, Ph.D., Tobacco smoke and susceptibility to infection
Katy Ralston, Ph.D., Pathogenesis of Entamoeba histolytica
Colin Reardon, Ph.D., Nervous system and neurotransmitters in modulation of immune system
Stefan Rothenburg, M.D., Ph.D., Virology, Innate Immunity, Host-Virus Interactions, Host-Virus Evolution
Jeroen Saeij, Ph.D., Virulence in Toxoplasma gondii
Barbara Shacklett, Ph.D., Immune response to HIV
Priya Shah, Ph.D., Systems Biology, Virus-Host Networks such as flaviviruses
Scott Simon, Ph.D., Biophysics of leukocyte recruitment
Renee Tsolis, Ph.D., Pathogenesis of Salmonella and Brucella
Yu-Jui Wan, Ph.D., Gut microbiota in contributing to and preventing obesity and metabolism