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Training in NIAID Labs

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Laboratory Training

The Division of Intramural Research (DIR) offers many training opportunities for those interested in careers in biomedical research, including summer internships and predoctoral and postdoctoral programs.

Postdoctoral Training

Photo of a researcher in a BSL-3 lab
Researcher in a BSL-3 lab studies how various drugs kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In the background, a technician monitors an autoclave.
Credit: NIAID

DIR has several options for those interested in postdoctoral laboratory research training. Our programs consist of a minimum of two to three years of research in one of the DIR labs, and both Ph.D. and M.D. candidates can apply.

Available appointments differ slightly in their requirements for citizenship and postdoctoral experience, but all have the same starting point: finding the best research fit for you. If you're interested in postdoctoral training in one of the DIR laboratories, read the descriptions of labs and investigators and determine which lab or investigator is conducting research in your area of interest.

Appointment Mechanisms

If you are selected for a DIR postdoctoral program, you may be appointed under one of several mechanisms, depending on the availability of funding, type of research, and your qualifications. These mechanisms include the following:

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, including National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA), requires that you be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a doctoral degree and five or fewer years of postdoctoral experience.
  • Research Fellowship is for highly experienced postdoctoral scientists (generally more than five years of postdoctoral experience) who seek further research training and professional development.
  • NIH Visiting Program (VP) offers scientists who are not U.S. citizens the opportunity to receive further training or to conduct research in their specialties. Appointments include the Postdoctoral Fellowship (VP), which requires that you have a doctoral degree and five or fewer years of relevant postdoctoral experience.

Other Appointments

  • Adjunct Investigator appointment is possible if you have you have outside funding and want to enhance your research capabilities in a DIR laboratory. U.S. citizenship is not required.
  • Special Volunteer appointment is suitable if you have funding from a foundation or private grant and wish to conduct research in a DIR lab.
  • Guest Researcher appointment allows you to use DIR facilities, equipment, and resources for your research and training; however, you cannot provide services to DIR, NIAID, or NIH.

How To Apply

Check out the list of available NIAID postdoctoral positions. Applications can be submitted online.

You also can read the descriptions of DIR labs and investigators and send the following information to the DIR lab chief or investigator you are interested in working with:

  • A cover letter describing your background, research interests, career goals, and the special training or experience you are seeking
    Include the date you can begin training, home address, home and office telephone numbers, fax number, and email address.
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae and bibliography
    Representative publications are welcome

If you would like your application to be distributed to more than one lab, send this information to

Wendy J. Fibison, Ph.D., Associate Director
Office of Training and Diversity
10 Center Drive, MSC 1350, Room 4A31
Bethesda, MD 20892-1350

Predoctoral Training

The following predoctoral programs are offered at DIR:

Photo of a researcher
Researcher works at a bench in the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases.
Credit: NIAID.
  • Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) provides the opportunity to postpone your application to graduate or medical school so you can get an introduction to biomedical research that may encourage you to pursue a career in the field. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen, have graduated from a fully accredited U.S. college or university, and have held the degree for no more than two years. Also, you must intend to apply to graduate or medical school in biomedical research during your time at NIAID.
  • Graduate Partnerships Program links NIH to national and international universities in the training of graduate students. You have the academic environment of a university and the breadth and depth of research at NIH.
  • Technical IRTA is for applicants with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a biomedical research field. It is a two-year program designed to help you develop the advanced skills and techniques in basic and applied research necessary to be a highly trained research support professional.
  • Summer Internships in an NIAID laboratory can enhance your knowledge and understanding of the world of biomedical research and help you set your academic goals. DIR offers 10- to 12-week summer internships for high school, college, graduate, and medical students. An online application for the following summer is available in mid-November. The application deadline is March 1.

How To Apply

Learn more about predoctoral program by visiting the websites listed above. Applications can be submitted online.

You also can read the descriptions of DIR labs and investigators and send the following information to the DIR lab chief or investigator you are interested in working with:

  • A cover letter describing your background, research interests, career goals, and the special training or experience you are seeking
    Include the date you can begin training, home address, home and office telephone numbers, fax number and email address.
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae and bibliography
    Representative publications are welcome.

If you would like your application to be distributed to more than one lab, send this information to

Wendy J. Fibison, Ph.D., Associate Director
Office of Training and Diversity
10 Center Drive, MSC 1350, Room 4A31
Bethesda, MD 20892-1350

Special Training Programs

The following are unique training opportunities offered at DIR:

Photo of Building 1 on the NIH campus
Building 1 on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
Credit: NIH
  • NIAID Malaria Infection Biology Research and Training Program
    This program seeks young scientists finishing their Ph.D.s in immunology, parasitology, or closely related fields to study the interface of malaria and the host immune response.

    Graduate students also are encouraged to consider this program for their thesis work through either NIH-affiliated graduate programs or individual graduate partnerships administered by the NIH Graduate Partnership Program. For information on how to apply, see the Malaria Infection Biology Program website.

  • NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program
    This program offers accelerated, individualized doctoral training for outstanding science students committed to biomedical research. It enables students to undertake a collaborative project in any area of biomedical investigation involving two mentors: one at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and one at either Oxford or Cambridge University in England.

    Students conduct research at both locations and potentially at other sites, including field work in Africa and elsewhere around the world. For information on how to apply, see the NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program website.

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Last Updated January 26, 2011