Training pathways

Onyeka Emily Ashley at ID Week 2017
L to R: Onyeka Nwankwo, MD (former fellow), Emily Sickbert-Bennet, PhD, MS (Hosp Epi), Ashley Marx PharmD (Clin. Pharmacy, Antimicrobial Stewardship) attend ID Week 2017.
The UNC ID Fellowship Program is designed to train postdoctoral fellows such that they can succeed as independent investigators at academic medical centers. Although the current requirements for Board Certification entail one year of clinical training and one year of research training, this is not sufficient research experience to launch a successful sustained career in academia, public health or industry.

At UNC, fellows choose a career track best suited to their long-range goals and work directly with one or more faculty mentors. Our list of mentors is not limited to ID clinical faculty. In addition, courses in grant writing and career development given by the UNC School of Medicine are available for trainees.

Possible tracks include:
  • Translational and Basic Research Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases: Trainees choose a research mentor within the ID division or its extended faculty and work under his/her direction to receive training in basic scientific research. The available labs focus on a diverse number of agents including bacteria, viruses, parasites and immunology. Recent trainees have worked in the laboratories of Steve Meshnick and Jonathan Juliano (malaria and trypanosomiasis), David Margolis and Ron Swanstrom (HIV), Jenny Ting (innate immunology), Mark Heise (SARS vaccine), and Ralph Baric (Dengue).
  • Epidemiology and public health: Many fellows wish to pursue a career in public health. UNC has the highest-rated publicly funded school of public health in the United States and offers an MPH in several disciplines, including epidemiology. The MPH degree may be obtained with two years of course work and a thesis, but it must not interfere with the continuity clinic. Fellows who choose this path can also receive training in hospital epidemiology and may choose to become board-eligible in preventive medicine. Recent fellows have worked with Annelies Van Rie on tuberculosis, Audrey Pettifor on behavioral interventions in South Africa, Carol Golin on HIV secondary prevention and adherence, Arlene Sena on domestic STIs, and Ada Adimora on sexual network patterns and HIV transmission.
  • Clinical research: UNC faculty and trainees are involved in both domestic and international clinical research. Trainees may want to complete a Masters of Science in Clinical Research (Director, William Miller), geared to health professionals committed to clinical research and clinical trials. Recent fellows have worked with Becky White, Joseph Eron, and David Wohl on HIV clinical drug trials, acute HIV infection, and studies on the role of prisoners in transmission.
  • Clinical microbiology: The microbiology laboratory at UNC Hospitals is one of only 15 accredited to provide formal training in Medical and Public Health Laboratory Microbiology for certification by the American Board of Medical Microbiology. The immunology laboratory at UNC Hospitalsis one of only two programs in the United States accredited by the American Academy of Microbiology to provide training for certification by the American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology. Fellows interested in pursuing careers that involve roles as both ID physicians and clinical laboratory directors may apply for these highly competitive programs and seek certification through a structured two-year program.