Research Training News

Research Training News offers readers an insight into the intramural research training experience and the possibilities this experience can open. Learn about NIAID trainees’ research, their goals, achievements, inspirational moments, and more.

In Case You Missed It—The Psychology of Career Decision Making

June 15, 2021

We often believe that having more choices creates better outcomes—but in reality too many options can lead to choice overload and a sense of decision paralysis. This so-called “paradox of choice” was presented to NIH predocs and postdocs on the very first day of the NIH Career Symposium in May, a timely choice as they embarked on a week-long journey exploring the many careers available to fellows.

Fellows Advisory Committee Spotlight—Revived and Rejuvenated

June 15, 2021

When a newly revived NIAID Fellows Advisory Committee (FAC) formed in early 2019, its 10 fellows had a goal of helping NIAID support and provide avenues for highlighting its fellows community. Today, the FAC has grown into a group of 20 graduate students and postdocs who meet monthly to advise, plan, and execute projects to benefit NIAID fellows. Read about what the FAC has been up to, what’s next, and the upcoming NIAID 15th Annual Fellows Workshop.

Let’s Talk—Careers Addressing Health Disparities

June 1, 2021

For the March installment of the Postbac Research Training and Development Series hosted by the NIAID training office, postbacs were joined by Michele K. Evans, M.D., senior investigator in the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Science at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and Natasha H. Williams, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., M.P.H., Legislative liaison, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) for a Health Disparities Career Panel. NIAID postbac Hannah Shepard recaps the insights shared by the panelists on health disparities career pathways and their inspiration for pursuing this career.

In Case You Missed It—Recognizing the Next Generation of Women Scientists

May 18, 2021

Celebrating the accomplishments of NIH’s women scientists is just one of the ways the Women Scientists Advisors (WSA) strives to celebrate and increase the visibility of women scientists across the intramural campuses—especially at the pivotal onset of their careers. The 11th Annual Women Scientists Advisors Scholars Symposium took place on Thursday, April 29, 2021, with the goal of highlighting the scientific contributions of female predocs and postdocs. The three awardees, who were selected from the female NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) winners, gave a virtual presentation of their work to scientists ranging from senior scientists to postbacs. NIAID’s women scientists have been well represented of late—with Victoria Avanzato receiving the award in 2021 and Alix Warburton, Ph.D., receiving the award in 2020. Read on to learn about NIAID’s talented women scientists. 

Postbac Spotlight—Infectious Disease Immunology and Inspiration

May 4, 2021

Sophie Vrba is a postbac in the Viral Immunity and Pathogenesis Unit of the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology & Microbiology (LCIM) where she works under the supervision of Heather Hickman, Ph.D. Sophie also participated in the NIH Academy, a postbac program that offers trainees the opportunity to learn about health disparities, enhance their knowledge of gaps in health outcomes, and investigate what is being done to address health disparity issues. Read about Sophie’s experience at NIAID and her next steps.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Industry Research Scientist

April 19, 2021

The “Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on a research scientist who transitioned to industry immediately following completion of a doctoral degree.

In Case You Missed It— Mosquitoes Are Invertebrate Pharmacologists!

April 6, 2021

On February 25, 2021, Eric Calvo, Ph.D. presented (virtually) at the NIAID Postbac Research Seminar Series – an opportunity for NIAID postbacs to engage with principal investigators (PIs). Dr. Calvo is an Earl Stadtman Investigator, NIH Distinguished Scholar, and chief of the Molecular Entomology Unit in the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research. Emma Duge, an NIAID postbac in Dr. Calvo’s research group, reflects on the latest seminar and captures the useful advice for early-stage scientists shared by her mentor.

NIAID Graduate Student Appreciation Week 2021

April 5, 2021

The NIAID Office of Research Training and Development is celebrating the contributions of our predoctoral fellows (graduate students) during Graduate Student and Professional Student Appreciation Week from Monday, April 5 through Friday, April 9, 2021. Read about the exciting research being conducted by NIAID graduate students and learn about their experiences at NIAID.

Postdoc Spotlight—An Elevated Experience in the Rocky Mountains

March 19, 2021

Moses Leavens, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher in the TSE/Prion Biochemistry Section of the Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases (LPVD) at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML). Aside from science, Moses volunteers his time with Native American students, teaching STEM and financial education.

Rising Research—Trained to Fight

March 15, 2021

The “Rising Research” series aims to elevate the research conducted by NIAID intramural research fellows by featuring their work and stepping behind the bench to get to know the early-stage scientists that drive the research. The first article in the series summarizes the recent Cell paper by NIAID postdoc Apollo Stacy, Ph.D.

Postbac Spotlight—Productivity and Perspective in a Pandemic

March 1, 2021

Rachel Smith is a postbac in the Physiology Unit of the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research (LMVR) where she works under the supervision of Hans Ackerman, M.D., D.Phil., M.Sc. Rachel reflects on her postbac experience at NIAID—from overcoming the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to her excitement for her next steps.

In Case You Missed It—NIAID Successful Academic Writing Series 2021

February 16, 2021

NIAID predocs and postdocs began the new year with a back-to-basics writing series focused on how to communicate their science and ideas in a succinct, logical manner. Led by Megan Bohn, Ph.D., NIAID Predoctoral, Postdoctoral, and Visiting Fellows Program Coordinator, this interactive three-part series focused on the themes of writing clearly, staying on track, and communicating the purpose and impact of your science. Structured as quick 50-minute skill blitzes, the sessions were designed to inform and inspire.

Postbac Spotlight—Meet the INRO 2020 Cohort

January 12, 2021

We’re shining the spotlight on the 2020 Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) fellows who began their postbac training in June 2020. INRO is an initiative through which NIAID sponsors and promotes postbac trainees from U.S. populations underrepresented in the biomedical sciences and those dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion. Read about the unique experiences of the 2020 cohort that led them to pursue postbac research training at NIAID.

In Case You Missed It—The NIAID 14th Annual Fellows Virtual Workshop

December 16, 2020

On December 8 and 9, 2020, the NIAID 14th Annual Fellows Workshop went virtual for the first time to accommodate a new reality imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the unexpected format shift, the workshop's goal remained: to celebrate NIAID intramural fellows for their work advancing the Institute's scientific mission.

In Case You Missed It—Careers in Science Communication

December 4, 2020

On October 28, 2020, the NIH FelCom’s career development subcommittee hosted a seminar on “Careers in Science Communication” featuring panelists from government, academic, and pharmaceutical sectors. Read this event summary to gain insight into this career path.

Postbac Spotlight— Extraordinary Science With Extraordinary People

November 30, 2020

Read this interview with Lizzette Pérez-Pérez, a postbac in the Molecular Pathogenesis Unit (MPU) in the Laboratory of Virology at the NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Scientific Editor

November 17, 2020

The “Career Pathways – Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on a scientific editor, someone who evaluates the papers that are submitted to a scientific journal and decides which ones are appropriate to publish. Dr. Caeul Lim has a unique role at Cell Press, where she works as a joint scientific editor at Cell Host & Microbe and Trends Reviews, a portfolio of 16 review journals.

Dr. Lim was a postdoc at NIAID for two years, where she worked in the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research under the supervision of Carolina Barillas-Mury, M.D., Ph.D., and Thomas Wellems, M.D., Ph.D. Read this interview with Dr. Lim to learn more about her journey of becoming a scientific editor at a major scientific publishing house.

Let’s Talk—Applying to Graduate School

November 2, 2020

On September 25, 2020, the NIAID Office of Research Training and Development hosted a graduate school panel discussion to cap off its intensive Applying to Graduate School Workshop. The panelists included Victoria Avanzato (M.D./Ph.D. OxCam student), Portia Gough, Ph.D. (NIAID postdoctoral fellow), Rodrigo Matus Nicodemos (NIAID Ph.D. student), Adam Nock, Ph.D. (NIAID postdoctoral fellow), and Juan Pablo Ruiz Villalobos, D.Phil (postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison). 

Postdoc Spotlight—Two Campuses United for a Unique Postdoc Experience

October 20, 2020

Emily Speranza, Ph.D., conducted her postdoctoral research training in both the Laboratory of Virology (LV) at RML and the Laboratory of Immune System Biology (LISB) in Bethesda through her participation in the Rocky-Beth Fellowship Program. Emily speaks about this unique postdoctoral experience.

In Case You Missed It—Grant Mentoring for NIAID Fellows

October 20, 2020

When NIAID postdocs and graduate students needed a resource to help them write a better grant, they had one: a mentored grant writing program that walked them through each step of the writing and submission process. Because grant writing skill is fundamental to research success and is highly translatable to career success beyond the bench, the NIAID Office of Research Training and Development (ORTD) provided a grant writing program called Crafting a Competitive K99/R00, K22, K43 or Other Application Writing Program.

Postbac Spotlight—Outbreak to Vaccine, Understanding What’s in Between

October 7, 2020

Chris Stringham is a postbac in the Biodefense Research Section in the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) under the supervision of Nancy Sullivan, Ph.D. In this interview, Chris speaks about his research and how his postbac experience has motivated him to pursue a career as a physician-scientist.

NIAID Postdoc Appreciation Week 2020

September 21, 2020

The NIAID Training office is celebrating the amazing contributions of our postdoctoral, visiting, and research fellows during National Postdoc Appreciation Week from Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25, 2020. Read what NIAID postdocs have to say about their research and what they like most about working at NIAID.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Research Scientist in Industry

September 16, 2020

The “Career Pathways – Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on a research scientist working in industry. Dr. Bonne-Année was a postdoc in the Helminth Immunology Section of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases (LPD) under the supervision of Thomas Nutman, M.D. Read this interview with Dr. Bonne-Année to learn more about her journey to industry.

In Case You Missed It—Creating Conversations

September 9, 2020

In July and August 2020, Raquell Holmes, Ph.D. led three virtual workshops as part of the NIAID Training Creating Conversation Series—one in which postbacs practiced building communities and conversations through improv. Dr. Holmes is a computational cell biologist and the founder of improvscience, a consulting business that uses theatrical techniques to facilitate effective teamwork in scientific environments. Megan Kalomiris, an NIAID postbac, attended two events in the series and reflects on her experience and what she learned.

Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) 2021—Bringing Creative, Innovative, and Diverse Trainees to NIAID!

August 26, 2020

Through INRO, the NIAID Office of Research Training and Development (ORTD) encourages talented, graduating seniors and recent graduates (undergraduate or master's) from U.S. populations underrepresented in the biomedical sciences and those dedicated to the promotion of diversity (as defined by the Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity) to conduct postbaccalaureate research in NIAID laboratories located in Maryland and Montana and to ultimately pursue careers as scientists, physicians, or physician-scientists.

In Case You Missed It—The 2020 NIAID Summer Seminar Series

August 6, 2020

The NIAID Summer Seminar Series was held virtually in 2020 to provide NIAID postbacs with the opportunity to learn about the outstanding research conducted in their institute. The principal investigators selected for these talks come from various research areas with the aim of highlighting the unique and diverse community at NIAID. This summer’s speakers included Steven Holland, M.D., Carolina Barillas-Mury, M.D., Ph.D., Eli Boritz, M.D., Ph.D., and Sonja Best, Ph.D.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Academic Research Scientist

July 16, 2020

The “Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on an academic research scientist, someone who runs their own research laboratory. Dr. Harrison is an assistant member in the Center for Fundamental Immunology at Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle, WA.

Postbac Spotlight—Confessions of a Quarantined Postbac

July 7, 2020

Kriza Sy is a postbac in the Microbial Pathogenesis Section (MPS) in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. Kriza reflects on the postbac experience since the COVID-19 pandemic and shares her perspective on making the most of being away from the bench.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, NIH Program Officer

June 15, 2020

The “Career Pathways – Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on a program officer, someone who administers NIH’s scientific programs, oversees grant portfolios, sets priorities for committing federal funds, and acts as an advocate for a scientific area. Dr. McGugan works for the parasitology and international programs branch at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In Case You Missed It—DRiPs and Tips

June 11, 2020

On May 21, 2020, Jonathan Wilson Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D. presented (virtually) at the NIAID Postbac Research Seminar Series. Dr. Yewdell is the chief of the Cellular Biology Section of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases. Priyanka Chatterjee, NIAID postbac in the Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section of the Laboratory of Bacteriology, reflects on the latest seminar and captures the useful advice shared by Dr. Yewdell.

Postdoc Spotlight—Meet Dr. Bartholomew Nyangahu, African Postdoctoral Training Initiative Fellow (APTI)

June 1, 2020

Read this interview with Bartholomew Ondigo Nyangahu, Ph.D., APTI postdoctoral fellow in the NIAID Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology. Dr. Nyangahu details his experience as part of the inaugural cohort of the APTI program, a partnership between the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Postdoc Spotlight—Networking, New Skills, and Next Steps!

May 13, 2020

In this interview, Hirdesh Kumar, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Host-Pathogen Interactions and Structural Vaccinology Section of the Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology (LMIV) speaks about his postdoctoral experience at NIAID.

In Case You Missed It—Bench to Bedside Research for Rare Autoinflammatory Diseases

April 6, 2020

On February 20, 2020, Dr. Goldbach-Mansky presented at the NIAID Postbac Research Seminar Series – an opportunity for NIAID postbacs to engage with principal investigators (PIs). Dr. Goldbach-Mansky directs the Translational Autoinflammatory Disease Section (TADS) of the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology (LCIM).  Katelin Honer, a postbac in TADS, reflects on the seminar and discussion as well as her role on Dr. Goldbach-Mansky’s team.

Postbac Spotlight—Women in Science, Beyond the Bench in Big Sky

February 27, 2020

Read this interview with Myndi Holbrook, postbac in the Virus Ecology Section, Laboratory of Virology, Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML).

Postbac Spotlight—Translational Research, The Best of Both Worlds

February 20, 2020

Read about Sarah Cook’s experience as a postbac research trainee in the NIAID Laboratory of Immune System Biology in the NIH Clinical Center.

Graduate Student Spotlight—Immunology, Innovation, and Involvement

February 18, 2020

In this interview, Albert Sek, Doctoral Candidate in the Inflammation Immunobiology Section, Laboratory of Allergic Diseases speaks about his experience as a graduate student at NIH as part of the Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP) Individual Partnership Program

Postbac Spotlight—Studying an Elusive Virus

February 5, 2020

Read this interview with Alvaro Hobbs, postbac in the Structural Virology Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID Division of Intramural Research and participant in the Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) initiative.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Clinical Development Scientist

December 6, 2019

The “Career Pathways – Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on a clinical development scientist, someone who provides scientific support and acts as a liaison between scientists and non-scientists. Dr. Kleba works directly with the various branches of Exact Sciences as they develop new clinical tools while ensuring the development of these clinical tools flows smoothly.

Postbac Spotlight—Mosquitos, Malaria, and Maggie

December 2, 2019

Read about what it’s like to be a postbac in a malaria lab at NIAID. This article was written by Margaret Rose Smith, Postbac in the Malaria Immunology Section, Laboratory of Malaria & Vector Research, NIAID Division of Intramural Research, Twinbrook.

Postbac Spotlight—The Training Experience in the Rockies

October 30, 2019

Interview with Luke Kendall, Postbac in the Biology of Vector-Borne Viruses Section, Laboratory of Virology, Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML).

INRO Postbac Spotlight—Great Mentorship, Collaboration, Guidance, and Independence

October 29, 2019

Hanna was a postbac participant in the Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) initiative, a unique opportunity for recent graduates (undergraduate or master’s) from U.S. populations underrepresented in the biomedical sciences and those dedicated to the promotion of diversity and inclusion.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Health Outcomes Researcher

September 13, 2019

The “Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on a health outcomes researcher, someone who performs post-market health studies. Dr. Brady works directly with pharmaceutical clients to perform retrospective studies on drugs currently available to the public. This work is primarily centered around the analysis of large databases and interacting with pharmaceutical clients.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Technical Director and Discipline Director of Infectious Disease Immunology

July 29, 2019

The “Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. This interview focuses on a technical director and discipline director of infectious disease immunology for LabCorp in Denver, Colorado, someone who oversees a clinical laboratory and the infectious disease testing in immunology. She also speaks briefly about her experiences as the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Laboratory. 

In Case You Missed It—Careers in Technology Transfer

May 15, 2019

In Case You Missed It – don’t miss the key insights from events relevant to your training experience and professional development, even if you couldn’t make it on the day.

NIH FelCom’s career development subcommittee organized “Careers in Technology Transfer”, held on March 19, 2019, with a panel discussion of four professionals from the field of tech transfer: Lei Sun, Abritee Dhal, Madhabi Majumdar, and Matthew Miessau. Read this event summary to gain insight into this career path.

In Case You Missed It—Careers in Contract Research Organizations

May 15, 2019

In Case You Missed It—don’t miss the key insights from events relevant to your training experience and professional development, even if you couldn’t make it on the day.

NIH FelCom’s career development subcommittee organized “Careers in Contract Research Organizations,” held on April 16, 2019, with NIH alumni speakers Owen Adam Brady, a scientist at BioReliance, and Ritankar Majumdar, a lead scientist at Covance. Read this event summary to gain insight into this career path.

Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities, Research Facilitator and Business Development Officer

March 8, 2019

The “Career Pathways—Explore the Possibilities” series highlights different professions pursued by scientists like you. The first interview in this series focuses on a research development professional, someone who works to facilitate and increase research funding and activities, Dr. Kristen Kindrachuk, research facilitator and business development officer at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Kindrachuk also speaks briefly about her experience as a science communicator and scientific journal editor.

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