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 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 Thielman and Dr. Georgia Tomaras, 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 Kent Weinhold, PhD, and John Bartlett, 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 - Kathleen Sikkema

In addition to these research programs, IRTRA 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 - Micah  McClain

  • Health Policy – Kathryn Whetten

  • Human Vaccines – Thomas Denny

  • Biomedical Engineering – David Katz

  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics – Cliburn Chan

Application Process

Trainess will apply for the IRTPA training grant during their first-year of fellowship. To apply to this program or for more information, contact Nathan Thielman, MD MPH, at 919-668-7174 or e-mail

Current and Former Trainees

Meredith Clement

Meredith Clement, MD (July 2015-June 2018)
Research Focus: HIV and STI treatment and prevention among vulnerable populations


 Lance Okeke, MD, MPH (July 2012-June 2015)
Research Focus: Cardiovascular outcomes in HIV

Preeti Manavalan

Preeti Manavalan, MD, MScGH (July 2017-June 2020)
Research Focus: Continuum of care for non-communicable diseases among persons living with HIV in Tanzania. 


Charles Burns, MD (July 2019-present)
Research Focus: Addressing the HIV continuum of care: focus on prevention and re-engagement