Fellowship Goals

The Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDs (IRFN), with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), provides training and mentoring to clinical and basic scientists interested in careers in neuroAIDS research.

Training experiences emphasize the interdisciplinary and translational nature of clinical problems in neuroAIDS in order to prepare future scientists to tackle emerging questions in the field.

The IRFN pairs trainees with mentors from clinical and basic science backgrounds according to their research interests, and provides a clinical literacy program in neuroAIDS for basic scientists.

IRFN Fellows are exposed to cutting-edge scientific environments and have contact with some of the most respected neuroAIDS researchers in the world.

About IRFN

Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDS (IRFN) is affiliated with the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Programs (HNRP) at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The impetus for this educational program is driven by the idea that our future success in tackling the complex clinical disorders encountered in neuroAIDS depends on the availability of clinically-oriented researchers with training across relevant research disciplines. To this end, we have followed an interdisciplinary model of research training aimed at bridging the gaps left by single discipline approaches. Our program functions as a neuroAIDS-themed Special Institute emphasizing interdisciplinary and translational neuroAIDS research through three main programmatic components: an academic didactic program, a research component, and close mentoring by experts in the field, making available the talents of preclinical and clinically oriented neuroAIDS researchers at UCSD and the larger San Diego HIV research community. The IRFN provides each fellow with a structure for progression toward independence in order to consolidate their future success. Fellows will learn to approach neuroAIDS research questions from an interdisciplinary and translational perspective, with potential clinical applications as an essential end point of their work. The research experiences of IRFN fellows will be in the laboratories of high-caliber, internationally recognized neuroAIDS researchers.

The program features: 

• Outstanding faculty who have a long history of mentoring researchers to become independent investigators;
• Research experiences that are tailored to each fellow's needs including access to external experts;
• Electives Program to enhance trainee choice and individuation
• NeuroAIDS Clinical Literacy program for neurobiologists and neuroscientists
• Active evaluation and oversight of the program.


How to Apply

Candidates should discuss their interest in the IRFN with their mentor or director of clinical training and contact the IRFN during the Spring or Summer terms of the academic year for which they are applying. Applications are considered on a rolling basis until slots are filled.

Eligibility and Application Process

The IRFN is a 2-year program for postdoctoral scientists. Fellows spend 30% time on IRFN activities, in coordination with their clinical training program. 

Who is Eligible?

• Residents in all areas of medicine during their final two years
• Postdoctoral Fellows in clinical and basic neuroscience/neurobiology disciplines
• Clinical Psychology interns wishing to do a pre-and post-doctoral year
Candidates interested in applying for the IRFN fellowship should prepare an application package that includes:

• Statement of interest and professional goals (approximately one page)
• Updated curriculum vitae
• Representative scientific work product (e.g., publication, dissertation)
• Three letters of reference, upon request.
Applications may be submitted directly to Dr. Cherner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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