T32 Program in Immunology Research & Entrepreneurship (PIRE)

The Program in Immunology Research and Entrepreneurship (PIRE) was developed to train postdoctoral fellows in immunology with an emphasis on translation, biomedical innovation, and entrepreneurship. The program seeks to address the need to empower our future immunology research workforce with the competencies necessary to commercialize scientific discoveries. Disease-related themes that are central to this program are innate immune mechanisms, immunity to infection, alloimmunity (organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant), autoimmunity, and cancer immunology.

Program Goals

  • Mentoring through the engagement of an Individual Development Plan for Entrepreneurship (IDPE) Committee.
  • Laboratory training including use of mass cytometry, a potentially transforming technology for cellular immunology research.
  • Didactic training in biomedical commercialization and entrepreneurship.
  • Experiential training by conducting an internship with MUSC’s technology transfer office.
  • Participation in activities (seminar series, journal club, scientific retreat) sponsored by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
  • Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research as well as Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility.
  • Use of a virtual “trainee career toolkit” that includes grantsmanship, teaching, and career planning.

The PIRE will train four postdoctoral fellows per year. Recruitment of trainees will be carried out on a national basis with an explicit goal of recruiting women and minority postdoctoral trainees to address significant disparities in entrepreneurial participation as well as biomedical and immunology research. Recruits will have access to state of the art laboratory spaces and cutting-edge research core facilities (flow cytometry, a cellular therapy facility, high-resolution imaging, gene targeting/knockout, translational research facility). Fellows can choose to pursue their advanced research training from a collaborative group of faculty investigators, most of which have hands-on entrepreneurial experience in product commercialization and biotech startup. The duration of program support of each fellow will more than likely be two years.