Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in AIDS

Duke's Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in AIDS (IRTPA) offers an opportunity for fellows to train for a career in the growing field of AIDS research.

In response to the magnitude and course of the AIDS epidemic, the Duke Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Surgery successfully competed for an interdisciplinary research-training program to recruit and train promising young investigators in the field of AIDS research. Support for the program was awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The NIAID selected Duke University as a site for the training program because of the broad range of scientific expertise of investigators assembled here, their quality of work and prominence at the forefront of AIDS research, and their collaborative activities in both clinical and basic science arenas. These attributes provide excellent training opportunities for postdoctoral fellows who are interested in developing a career in AIDS research.

Research Opportunities

The training program is coordinated by Dr. Nathan ThielmanDr. Georgia Tomaras and Dr. Guido Ferrari and draws on resources at both Duke and the Durham VA Medical Center. A principal resource is the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), funded by NIAID and directed by Georgia Tomaras, PhD, and Suzanna Naggie, MD. It assembles the talents of over 60 independent investigators within 13 academic departments and includes research programs in:

  • HIV Immunology - Barton Haynes
  • HIV/Viral Pathogenesis - Bryan Cullen
  • Adult Clinical HIV/Infectious Diseases - John Bartlett
  • Maternal/Child HIV Infection - Coleen Cunningham
  • Global HIV/AIDS - Nathan Thielman
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences – Amy Corneli

In addition to these research programs, IRTPA offers five various Enrichment Opportunities (EO) that allow for more individualized training approach.  Lead by Drs. Guido Ferrari and Georgia Tomaras, these opportunities present distinct concentration areas that complement each fellow’s training path and allow trainees to explore other areas of interest related to her or his research. The trainees are required to pick one of five enrichment programs during their first year, for which they will work with Program leadership to develop personalized plan based on his/her specific research career goals. These enrichment opportunities include:

  • Duke Scholars in Molecular Medicine – Neil Surana
  • Health Policy – Kathryn Whetten
  • Human Vaccines – Thomas Denny
  • Biomedical Engineering – David Katz
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics – Cliburn Chan

Application Process

To apply to this program or for more information, contact Nathan Thielman, MD MPH, at 919-668-7174 or e-mail or Melissa Kerkau at 919-684-6370 or email:


    1. Current call for applications language (brochure and application uploaded to CHSI website Duke Box folder


We are pleased to announce that the Duke NIH Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in AIDS (IRTPA) T32 has one opening available for appointment starting no earlier than March 1st, 2022.  We seek outstanding postdoctoral (MD, PhD or MD/PhD) candidates performing basic or clinical research related to HIV/AIDS.  Salary support for the trainee is included in the fellowship, and the candidate must commit to at least one year of research under this program. There may be opportunity for T32 support beyond one year; however, please make candidates aware of the NIH payback obligation policy. Applicants need to be US citizens/permanent residents.


Research plans of up to three years are encouraged.  Please forward this email to interested candidates.  All potential candidates should email their completed application form (attached) along with required documents, including the applicant’s NIH biosketch, 3 references, and letter of support from the faculty mentor to Melissa Kerkau ( by Friday, Jan 28th, 2022  with the following phrase “IRTPA T32 application” in the subject heading of the email.  


The required research summary should be no more than 4 pages in length (references do not count toward the page limit) and follow NIH grant format (Abstract, Specific Aims, and Research Strategy (including Hypotheses, Significance, Innovation, Approach, Data Analysis, Timeline).