The Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, and Immunology Program (MIDIP) Study Program provides students with the opportunity to explore laboratory-based and clinical research in infectious diseases and immunology. For example, MIDIP will appeal to students interested in the public health initiatives of vaccine design, mechanisms of autoimmunity, or the management of infectious diseases. Knowledge of infectious diseases and immunology is central to the effective management of disease in a vast array of public health and clinical settings.
Duke University faculty members include world leaders in the study of microbiology and immunology, many with a strong tradition of outstanding mentorship for third year medical students. The MIDIP research experience can be focused on one of a wide variety of important clinical problems. Aberrations of immune system development can be studied using animal models of primary or acquired immunodeficiency syndromes. Diseases of chronic inflammation and autoimmunity highlight the damaging effects of exaggerated or inappropriate immune responses and can be examined through research focused on the pathogenesis of diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Modulation of normal immune responses is also critical to the management of solid organ and bone marrow transplantation and is becoming increasingly important in the treatment of cancer.
Faculty mentors at Duke also have outstanding research programs studying the molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis in bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitological systems. Microbial genetics can be exploited to investigate fundamental processes in genetics and molecular biology. The development of novel chemotherapies for microbial infections, particularly of prevalent or emerging infections, remains a high priority for public health. The student may also choose to pursue research pertinent to the many molecular processes that underlie normal lymphocyte development and function, and use this opportunity to master some of the new technologies available to biomedical research. Additionally, these molecular genetic tools can be used to explore the molecular epidemiology of microbes in humans, non-human hosts, and environmental samples.
The MIDIP track emphasizes original research. This program offers third year medical students an opportunity to undertake basic research and to integrate with graduate students, fellows, and faculty of the Medical Center departments contributing to this Program. Each student will select a faculty mentor, and together they will develop an original proposal within the context of the mentor's ongoing research program. The student will be expected to design experiments, critically assess the relevant literature, evaluate data, apply appropriate statistical tests, solve problems associated with the project, and communicate the research results in written and oral presentations. The faculty and staff will provide appropriate guidance and assistance within the laboratory or clinical setting.