Postbaccalaureate Research Training

Malaria researcher

Laura Veru, postbac – Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research


Postbaccalaureate research trainees (postbacs) at NIAID engage in research at the forefront of immunologic, allergic, and infectious diseases. Postbacs conduct research in NIAID laboratories located in Maryland (Bethesda, Rockville, and Frederick) and Montana (Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton), which provides a unique scientific research training environment in basic, translational, and clinical research for recent college graduates who plan to apply to graduate school (master’s, Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent graduate degree). Postbacs spend one to two years performing full-time research under the guidance and direction of an NIAID principal investigator. Trainees have the opportunity to engage and network with experts in diverse scientific research fields while taking advantage of the extensive resources of NIH.

Read more about the Division of Intramural Research and Vaccine Research Center. Find more information about postbaccalaureate training opportunities from the NIH Office of Training and Education (OITE).

Note: The duration of the program is typically one year; however, the fellowship may be extended for an additional year provided satisfactory performance of the trainee and availability of continued support by the laboratory.

Who Can Apply

Applicants must

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree within the past three years


  • Have received a master's degree less than six months before the postbac start date


  • Intend to apply to graduate or professional school during their tenure at NIH


  • Have been accepted into a master’s, Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent graduate degree program with written permission from their school to delay entrance for up to one year to conduct a research project at NIH

How To Apply

Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Program

The postbac IRTA program is designed to provide recent college graduates an opportunity to spend a year (or two) conducting biomedical research in the resource-rich environment of the NIH.

Note: Recent graduates may also apply to the NIH Summer Internship Program to conduct research in an NIAID laboratory. 

For specific questions, contact Jennifer Patterson West, Ph.D., Postbac/Summer Intern Program Coordinator 


Funding is based on NIH appointment type (e.g., IRTA, Special Volunteer). Stipend levels for trainees are published annually and determined based on experience. For details, see the OITE Postbac IRTA Stipend Levels.


Featured Postbaccalaureate Training Programs

The NIH Academy
An opportunity for NIH postbacs to learn about health disparities, enhance knowledge of gaps in health outcomes, and investigate what is being done to address health disparity issues.

Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) provides outstanding candidates with the opportunity to visit NIAID in Bethesda, Maryland, to engage with leading experts in allergic, immunologic, and infectious diseases, and to learn more about the exciting research being conducted. Candidates selected for the visit will interview with NIAID principal investigators and potentially be offered a postbaccalaureate (postbac) position in an NIAID laboratory. Through INRO, the NIAID training office sponsors postbac trainees from populations underrepresented in the biomedical sciences and those dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion.

Why Train at NIAID?

Levelle Harris, Former postbac in the Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, MD/PhD Student Emory University School of Medicine


“I came to NIH looking for research training that would best prepare me for graduate education. I knew that having dedicated time to work in a top-class lab would be crucial for my development and also make me highly competitive for MD/PhD programs. During my time as a postbac at NIAID, I was very fortunate to have an extremely supportive mentor who took an interest in my success. In the lab I was given a wide range of opportunities to help develop and run my own projects. This independence was crucial for my development and has greatly helped prepare me for my current training. Also, during this time I learned and mastered many new assays that I still use today. Opportunities outside of the lab such as classes offered and seminars given by leading researchers from around the world provided for a unique environment and are only a couple of the many reasons why NIAID is a unique place for training. Overall, I highly recommend the NIAID postbac program to anyone looking for a rich and diverse research training experience while preparing for graduate school.”- Levelle Harris

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Contact Information

For specific questions, contact Jennifer Patterson West, Ph.D., Postbac/Summer Intern Program Coordinator