La Jolla Institute receives immunology training grant

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded La Jolla Institute for Immunology its first National Research Services Award Training Grant, commonly referred to as a “T32.” It is given to institutions that have proven to be an important and accomplished place for training postdoctoral fellows in immunology. “Being awarded the T32 on our first try is a real credit to our accomplishments,” says Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer.

The grant will cover the salaries of ten postdoctoral fellows, with Ph.D. or M.D. degrees, for two years each over the course of four years. Postdoctoral fellows have to be NIH-eligible, meaning they are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

For many years, LJI has been recognized as one of the best places to work in academia attracting the brightest postdocs from the US as well as all over the world, including: Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America. But due to the Institute’s relatively small size the number of NIH award-eligible postdocs only recently rose high enough to apply for the T32. As the number of laboratories grew, research programs expanded and LJI faculty’s training success became evident, the number of US fellows increased and a successful application for a training grant came within reach.

Michael Croft, Ph.D., Professor, and Head of the Division Head of Immune Regulation, spearheaded the application process. He enlisted the help of LJI’s Research Administration Assistants (RAAs) to collect reams of required data about each faculty member’s research program and their history in postdoctoral training. “The RAA’s played a huge role in the T32 application process—I couldn’t have done it without their help,” says Croft. And all the hard work paid off. Last year, LJI found out that for the first time ever, they had received the T32 a result of highly competitive application process.