NIAID’s intramural research program has begun an innovative training opportunity that aligns lab groups more than 2,000 miles apart that have complementary interests. Scientists from India and Montana are the first recipients of the RML-Bethesda Fellowship Program, a three-year collaboration in which fellows spend a portion of their time on the NIH campus in Maryland and a portion at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont. RML is part of NIAID.
In September, Rahul Basu of Kolkata, India, will join Dr. Karin Peterson’s research group at RML for roughly a year to study how viruses cross the blood-brain barrier in a mouse model. His second year will take him to Bethesda and the laboratory of Dr. Iain Fraser to define the molecular pathways of the BBB that differ by age. He will then return to RML in his final year to examine the molecular pathways of virus infection in the mouse model. Dr. Peterson met Dr. Basu during a symposium in India in Nov. 2016 and became impressed with his research and interests.
Emily Speranza of Helena is the second recipient and will join Dr. Sonja Best’s lab at RML in January. She will alternate between RML and the Bethesda lab of Dr. Ron Germain. Her project will study host resistance to hemorrhagic fever viruses, such as Ebola. The project will involve the BSL-4 and animal modeling opportunities that Dr. Best’s group offers at RML and the systems biology imaging strengths of Dr. Germain’s group. Speranza, who is completing her doctoral work in bioinformatics at Boston University, worked at RML as a summer research intern in 2013 and 2015 while attending Carroll College.
Dr. Steven Holland, director of NIAID’s intramural program, proposed the shared fellowship concept shortly after becoming director last year.