List of Funded Institutional Predoctoral Training Grants
Administrative Supplements to NIGMS Institutional Training, Research Education, and Career Development Grants
NIH Predoctoral Stipends, Training Related Expenses, Institutional Allowance, and Tuition/Fees Policy on NRSA Awards
Sample NRSA Data Tables
Training Grants Contacts
NIH Training (T) Mechanisms — This NIH-wide resource also includes training mechanisms not funded by NIGMS
SACNAS Annual Meeting
ABRCMS Annual Meeting
NIGMS accepts predoctoral training grant applications to enhance graduate (Ph.D.) research training in 12 broad areas of basic biomedical sciences. The proposed training program should be broadly-based and foundational in nature.
Applicants are expected to identify the program area that they are applying to under the Agency Routing Identifier Field on the Cover Page of their application (see
NOT-GM-19-012 for details). In addition to training in these 12 broad areas, NIGMS supports the integrated dual-degree clinician and graduate research training through the Leading Equity and Diversity in the Medical Scientist Training Program (LEAD MSTP) and Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). For general information about these institutional NRSA T32 predoctoral training programs, contact Dr. Mercedes Rubio.
Basic Biomedical Sciences (PAR-23-228)
Integrated Dual-Degree Clinician and Graduate Training Programs
Behavioral-Biomedical Sciences Interface: Dr. Mercedes Rubio Programs in this area should provide graduate research training for students at the behavioral sciences-biomedical sciences interface. The goal of the program is to develop basic behavioral scientists with rigorous broad-based training in biology and biomedical science, who are prepared to assume leadership roles related to the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. Programs must provide an interdisciplinary research training experience and curriculum for predoctoral trainees that integrates both behavioral and biomedical perspectives, approaches and methodologies. Training programs must include coursework, laboratory rotations and programmatic activities that reinforce training at this interface. Collaborative involvement and significant participation by faculty and leadership with research programs in both behavioral and biomedical science departments is required, as is co-mentoring of trainees by faculty from both disciplines.
Applicants for this training grant program need to describe an interdisciplinary program that integrates training in the conceptual models, methods and approaches of both behavioral and biomedical sciences. This should be a joint effort between the faculty and leadership of departments from both sides of this interface which could include, but is not limited to, departments of psychology, anthropology, behavior, demography and economics on the behavioral side, and departments of biology, physiology, cellular and/or molecular biology, pharmacology, neuroscience, biochemistry, biophysics, immunology, genetics, and biomedical engineering on the biomedical side. One of the main challenges in this training program is to bridge scientific cultural differences between disciplines. The program is sufficiently flexible to allow applicant institutions to tailor their proposed training program to take advantage of the resources available to them and the areas of strength at their institutions.
Applicants should note that this training grant program is not targeted to a specific developmental stage or disease but is fundamental to a range of diseases and health conditions. Many of the disease or developmental stage-targeted Institutes and Centers (ICs) at NIH currently support behavioral research training in areas specific to the IC’s mission, and inquiries for training grants in targeted areas should be directed to the specific ICs. This training grant program supports basic behavioral research training that is broad-based, and that transcends the missions of many of the NIH ICs.
Biostatistics: Dr. Mercedes Rubio Programs in this area should provide training that integrates biostatistical theory and evolving methodologies with basic biomedical research including, but not limited to, bioinformatics, genetics, molecular biology, cellular processes, and physiology, as well as epidemiological, clinical, and behavioral studies. The goal is to ensure that a workforce of biostatisticians with a deep understanding of statistical theory and new methodologies is available to assume leadership roles related to the nation's biomedical research needs. Implementation will depend on the integration of biostatistics and basic biological sciences to create effective interdisciplinary training grant programs. The aim is to provide students with strong quantitative talents to pursue a wide range of opportunities in biostatistics research.
Applicants for a predoctoral institutional training grant in biostatistics must describe an interdisciplinary program that is built on a strong foundation in statistical theory and methodology and that provides a clear understanding of basic biological research. Applications should address any challenges of melding two disparate cultures, statistics and biology, at both the faculty and student levels, and how these challenges will be overcome.
To develop a vital collaborative infrastructure that provides interdisciplinary training, faculty must be recruited from more than one department. Evidence for this infrastructure could include collaborative research projects, co-authored publications, joint service on dissertation committees, collaborative teaching, and regular interactions in journal clubs and seminar series. Applications should also describe how they will promote the success of students coming from a biological or quantitative background in the training program. While biostatistics training often depends on a theoretical formalism that requires an essential core of didactic courses, this requirement must be balanced with training in other disciplines. Applicants must identify the key ideas and skills that are essential to multidisciplinary training in biostatistics and monitor the impact of core requirements on time to degree.
Biotechnology: Dr. Miljan Simonovic At the urging of Congress, NIGMS established a program of biotechnology training grants in 1988. The purpose of this program is to produce broadly trained investigators who have the facility and orientation to combine basic and applied research. The training supported by these grants provides predoctoral students substantial technical and intellectual skills in areas such as microbiology, molecular genetics, biochemistry, biochemical engineering, plant and animal cell culture technologies, metabolic engineering, biomaterials, macromolecular structure analysis, hybridoma technology, tissue engineering and separation technologies. At the heart of this training is the in-depth dissertation research and course work of a Ph.D. program, but the trainees are also expected to acquire significant exposure to the concepts and experimental approaches of some related research areas. Trainees are encouraged to engage in laboratory rotations early in their graduate career to survey various opportunities for dissertation research. The biotechnology training program also is required to include a two- or three-month industrial internship, to give students a meaningful research experience in a biotechnology or pharmaceutical firm. This research experience may be fully integrated with the trainee’s Ph.D. research, but it may also be used by the trainee to delve into new areas. Trainees are required to receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research.
With the increased applicability of quantitative and engineering approaches to biomedical research, it is encouraged that students and faculty from engineering and other quantitative disciplines who have strong interests in biotechnology actively participate in these training programs. While many of the successful biotechnology training programs supported by the NIGMS involve engineering students and faculty, such involvement is not required; indeed, each program is encouraged to design and implement training in biotechnology that meets the needs and opportunities that exist locally. Some biotechnology training grant programs are rather focused on an inherently interdisciplinary topic (e.g., tissue engineering) while others are broad and support trainees pursuing degrees in a range of areas.
Cellular, Biochemical, and Molecular Sciences (CMB): Dr. Ronald Adkins and
Dr. Marie Harton Programs in this area should be cross-disciplinary and involve in-depth study of biological problems at the level of the cellular and molecular sciences. Cellular, biochemical and molecular sciences programs should be cross-disciplinary and involve in-depth study of biological problems at the level of the cellular and molecular sciences. The research training offered should encompass related disciplines, such as biochemistry, bioinformatics, biophysics, chemistry, cell biology, computational biology, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, neurobiology and pathology. These research opportunities should be available in the represented disciplines with faculty mentors from interacting departments and/or interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs.
CMB programs may vary widely in the scope of the science, organizational structure, training activities and size of the training faculty and student population. Some CMB training programs are based in degree-granting departments, and the training grant serves to provide overarching training activities that lead to a common experience and uniform, high quality training. Others are based in interdisciplinary degree-granting programs, in which the training grant program and the graduate program are very similar. Still others entail a mix of the two, with an initial interdisciplinary, umbrella program that recruits and trains students in the first 1 to 2 years, followed by the identification of students with individual training programs that may be departmental or interdisciplinary. Regardless of the training program at a given institution, the training grant should have an impact on how training is conducted and should provide a means to foster and enrich interdisciplinary training in the cellular, biochemical and molecular sciences.
There are several features that are common and desirable in CMB programs. There should be a didactic core of courses that most students are required to take. There is usually a rotation system that allows students free choice of laboratories with a broad range of qualified training faculty in the areas of cellular and molecular biology. Students should be free to choose thesis mentors among this same broad training faculty, regardless of departmental or programmatic affiliation. CMB programs often offer a teaching experience as part of the formal training program, or at least have this option available for students who desire such experience. Beyond classes, rotations and teaching activities, there should be program-specific activities that enrich the students’ training and expose them to the full range of research being conducted in the laboratories of the CMB students and training faculty. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, retreats, seminar series and journal clubs. Series on career options also are encouraged. Instruction in the responsible conduct of research is required. All CMB programs should have a direct involvement in efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented students.
Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI): Dr. Michelle Bond and
Dr. Charles Ansong Programs in this area should train students to use chemistry to investigate and manipulate biological processes, and to develop new technologies to accelerate research relevant to biology and medicine. It is expected that CBI programs will bring together chemists, biologists, engineers, and physician-scientists to foster creative thinking across disciplinary lines. Through a shared commitment to integrity, safety, collaboration, and teamwork, trainees are expected to learn to identify and rigorously solve the most important problems in biology with the highest standards of practice in biomedical research.
CBI programs are expected to bring together a diverse community of trainees and mentors that includes chemists, biologists, engineers, and physician-scientists to foster creative thinking across disciplinary lines. Programs should develop a shared vocabulary that will broaden a trainee’s exposure to scientific topics, perspectives, and techniques and enhance their ability to contribute to an increasingly multidisciplinary research environment. Trainees should have opportunities to work in interdisciplinary teams with colleagues from diverse backgrounds through promotion of an inclusive and supportive scientific research environments. Programs that aim to capitalize on unique research capabilities or to enhance their collaborative infrastructure, through interdisciplinary training, are welcome.
Rooted in chemistry, a program’s training plan should provide a strong foundation in scientific reasoning, rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, as well as data analysis and interpretation. Trainees should develop in-depth knowledge of a primary set of research while also having broad exposure to multiple areas beyond their faculty mentor’s laboratory. Training involving advanced instrumentation and techniques should include the physicochemical basis of the analysis and an understanding of common pitfalls.
Regularly occurring programmatic activities, which augment the Ph.D. training, are encouraged to build program cohesion, provide valuable opportunities for interactions with faculty mentors, and inspire the continued participation of trainees throughout their graduate training. Such activities might include a seminar series, student presentations, journal clubs, career development activities, workshops, retreats, or a mix of all the above. Most programs include at least one interfacial core course that ties together the concepts and techniques from chemistry and biology necessary for interdisciplinary research. Programs are strongly encouraged to offer a meaningful research experience outside of the mentor's laboratory that provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary research. This experience may integrate with the trainee’s Ph.D. research or be used by the trainee to delve into new research areas.
Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, and Biomedical Data Science:Dr. Paula Flicker The goal of this program is to train Ph.D. students in the fundamentals and applications of computational and information sciences to gain insights and develop new strategies to solve problems relevant to basic biomedical research. Of particular interest are multi-disciplinary programs providing the skills to address biomedical research questions by utilizing large data sets and multiscale approaches. Accordingly, multi-department applications which partner biological sciences with quantitative and computational sciences (e.g., data science, computer science, statistics, mathematics, informatics, engineering) are encouraged. Training should include the use of theory, simulations, data sciences, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other bioinformatics and computational approaches to address the full spectrum of basic research areas in the biomedical sciences, including for example, the fundamentals of analysis and interpretation of molecular sequence and structure, molecular function, cellular function, physiology, genomics, and genetics. In accordance with the
NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science [PDF], training should also include aspects of fair and ethical data use, data sharing, and data security and confidentiality. NIGMS encourages programs to make use of resources and expertise available in the private sector to develop student skills and career paths in areas including efficient computer code development and use of emerging technologies and platforms.
Applications for a training grant in computational biology, bioinformatics, and data science should address the challenges of melding two disparate cultures, computing and biology, at both the faculty and student levels. These challenges include:
Genetics: Dr. Michael Bender The primary mission of the NIGMS-supported genetics predoctoral training grants is to provide highly qualified students with broad, multidisciplinary training in all aspects of modern genetics. At the same time, the trainees are expected to be exposed to closely related fields such as cell and developmental biology and biochemistry. The goal is to produce scientists who will have a thorough understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of inheritance, at both the molecular and organismal levels, and who will be able to apply genetic approaches to problems in other areas of biology. It is also anticipated that graduates will be able to teach courses in genetics at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
The existing genetics predoctoral training grants all share a number of features that are now fairly common among biomedical graduate programs. In addition to dissertation research and in-depth didactic training in genetics, all require the trainees to participate in various journal clubs, retreats and seminars, and virtually all require that first-year students rotate through two or more laboratories. Other nearly universal features include qualifying examinations, thesis committee meetings, and teaching opportunities. In contrast, the size and organizational aspects of the existing programs are variable. The number of awarded positions, which is determined primarily by the size and quality of the applicant pool, can range from 2 to over 20.
Similarly, some programs are interdepartmental in nature, frequently spanning multiple departments and schools and serving as vehicles for uniting geneticists across an entire institution. Other programs are based in single departments, although virtually all include faculty from more than one academic unit. While all of the programs offer comprehensive training in genetics, some have developed strengths in particular aspects of genetics, such as population genetics or human genetics.
Molecular Biophysics:Dr. Paula Flicker The molecular biophysics training program targets training at the intersection of physics, chemistry and engineering on the one hand and cell and molecular biology on the other. The goal is to train scientists who can apply the techniques commonly associated with modern biophysics to solve fundamental problems in cell and molecular biology. These techniques span the range of resolution from atomic to whole cell.
Typical programs bring together departments of chemistry, physics and those offering training in the various areas of biology. Students commonly work in several areas, including structural biology, the biophysical characterization of biological macromolecules, single molecule detection and electron microscopy. To successfully bridge the gap between the biological and physical disciplines, interaction among faculty and students through planned activities is essential. These activities commonly include rotations among a variety of disciplines and departments, journal clubs and seminar series. Mobility of students among the participating departments is an important feature, as is career guidance and monitoring throughout the students' education, even beyond participation on the training grant.
A key feature of the molecular biophysics training program is the identification of a pool of students with strong quantitative backgrounds. Hence many of the students supported in the program have majors in physics and chemistry. A particular challenge faced by the funded programs is to bring students from diverse educational backgrounds to the point where they speak a common language. Meeting this challenge often means developing a flexible, customized curriculum for each student.
Molecular Medicine: Dr. Zhongzhen Nie Training in molecular medicine is intended to combine rigorous didactic training in the basic biomedical sciences with exposure to concepts and knowledge underlying the molecular basis of disease. Trainees should have training in the core concepts of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and related biomedical sciences. In addition, trainees in molecular medicine should have specialized required courses such as pathophysiology and molecular pathogenesis, and program activities, such as seminar series or journal clubs, that would provide students with a better understanding of disease mechanisms. Other features that would enhance training in molecular medicine could include dual mentors in basic and clinical science, and exposure to the concepts of medicine through participation in grand rounds or autopsy internships. Training faculty should be broadly drawn from multiple departments and disciplines and thesis research topics should reflect a broad range of interdisciplinary opportunities in the basic biomedical sciences.
The goal is to train a cadre of scientists prepared to work at the interface of basic biomedical science and clinical research, an area sometimes referred to as translational research. This training opportunity should be primarily designed for Ph.D. candidates; M.D. and M.D./Ph.D. doctoral candidates may be interested in such a program and could participate but should not be the ones for whom a training program in molecular medicine is designed and should not be appointed as trainees to the training grant. A program in molecular medicine should attract a distinct pool of students and the training should clearly be differentiated from training offered by other T32 training programs. Potential applicants are strongly urged to contact NIGMS staff before submission of a proposal.
Pharmacological Sciences (PS): Dr. Sailaja Koduri The NIGMS pharmacological sciences training grant program supports research training in quantitative and systems pharmacology which is defined as an approach to translational medicine that combines computational and experimental methods to elucidate, validate and apply pharmacological concepts to the development and use of small molecule and biologic drugs to understand their mechanisms of action. Quantitative and systems pharmacology supports the development of the knowledge needed to understand complex cellular networks and investigate the pathophysiology of disease to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize toxicity and implement a “precision medicine” approach to improving the health of individual patients. It collectively includes the areas of drug receptors, cell signaling pathways, pharmacometrics, toxicology, medicinal chemistry, drug disposition, drug delivery and regulatory sciences.
NIGMS encourages PIs who wish to have a training program in the pharmacological sciences to emphasize training in quantitative approaches to drug discovery and development. Programs must emphasize training in various -omic technologies, quantitative molecular models, and the connections of these -omic technologies and models to animal and human physiology and pathophysiology. Furthermore, trainees should receive fundamental training in the principles of pharmacokinetics as well as the basics of chemistry to understand structure-activity relationships. Training in additional areas of pharmacology that may contribute to the greater understanding or improvements in therapeutic efficacy or reduction in adverse effects, such as pharmacogenomics, are encouraged. Involvement of students in human clinical pharmacology and translational research is also highly encouraged. Because of the reliance of pharmacology on physiological principles, formal instruction or a background in organ physiology is required. Since pharmacology is an interdisciplinary science, areas in which students may conduct research include, but are not limited to: biochemistry, chemistry, structural biology, neurobiology, immunology, microbiology, cancer biology, developmental sciences, experimental therapeutics and various medical specialties (e.g., anesthesiology, psychiatry, cardiovascular research, gastroenterology, etc.).
The program should provide students with broad exposure to cutting-edge research relevant to the discovery and development of therapeutic agents and to the basic understanding of drug receptors and mechanisms of drug action at and beyond the ligand receptor interaction. As part of this training program, students who are or were supported by the training grant award are expected to participate in activities such as seminar series, journal clubs and/or annual research retreats, which augment their Ph.D. program and provide valuable opportunities for interactions among participating students who typically come from a various departments or programs. During their training period, students may perform short-term training experiences in pre-arranged internships with biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies or with government regulatory agencies. It is expected that students who receive support from the training award will continue to interact with the program after they leave the program by attending training grant supported seminars, annual meetings, and other activities. It is important that training programs have clear expectations and measurables for students and faculty to have a successful training grant program. It is expected that graduates of these training programs should find positions in academic and government research labs, the pharmaceutical or biotech industry, and in government regulatory agencies.
The administrative center of a PS program may be in a school of medicine, a school of pharmacy, a school of veterinary medicine or any other appropriate academic unit. However, the program should be interdisciplinary and interdepartmental in its recruitment of potential students and faculty mentors. It may be appropriate for training grant programs to define multiple tracks that meet the different needs of students with varied backgrounds and objectives. The focus of any particular PS training program will depend on faculty research strengths and the existence of other training programs at the institution. If an institution has other training grants (e.g., chemistry-biology interface, molecular medicine, and cellular and molecular biology), it is important to explain how the pharmacology training program is unique and clearly meets a training need for faculty and students. The presence of other training grant awards should not automatically exclude any faculty on these awards from participating in the PS training program, but it is important that their inclusion as mentors or participating faculty meet the mission and objectives of the PS training program. NIGMS will seek to maintain diversity and balance among the areas of research training supported by its portfolio of training grants.
Systems and Integrative Biology: Dr. Chris Chao Training in this area should be directed toward building the broad research competence required to investigate the integrative, regulatory and developmental processes of higher organisms and the functional components of these processes. The goal of these programs is to train scientists who will use a
diversity of experimental approaches--from the molecular and cellular to the behavioral and computational--to understand integrated and complex biological problems. The training environment should promote intellectual cross-fertilization, provide opportunities for students to establish their own research niches and encourage a systems/integrative perspective to understanding biology. It is expected that students will participate in a series of laboratory rotations in their early years of training to expose them to investigations across scales (from molecular to whole organism), and in order to gain breadth and to become aware of the range of research faculty and opportunities available to them.
Programs may offer a curriculum designed to reinforce a systems and integrative perspective, including, for example, courses on organ/systems physiology or courses with a broad focus on human disease. In addition, the training experience should be enhanced by various programmatic activities, such as seminars, journals clubs and annual retreats, as well as training in the responsible conduct of research. The graduates of the program should be well versed in quantitative approaches to biology. Trainees may be drawn from a broad pool of students with varied backgrounds who have a desire to acquire training in the systems/integrative approach to biology. The training program should bring together varied resources, approaches, and thesis research opportunities with faculty mentors of such disciplines/departments as physiology, biomedical engineering, the behavioral sciences, biochemistry, clinical sciences, and cell and developmental biology. Training programs centered on the neurosciences should apply to the
Jointly Sponsored Institutional Predoctoral Training Program in the Neurosciences (JSPTPN), which is co-funded by NIGMS.
Transdisciplinary Basic Biomedical Sciences: Dr. Sydella Blatch Programs in this area should support training in two or more of the T32 areas listed above, or may include other emerging area(s) within the
NIGMS mission. The intent is to support a program in multiple disciplines with common training objectives and core courses or training activities that are specifically designed to achieve the transdisciplinary objectives.
Training in the transdisciplinary area is designed to increase efficiencies and broaden the scope and geographic distribution of NIGMS training funds and is open only to:
Leading Equity and Diversity in the Medical Scientist Training Program (LEAD MSTP, leading to the combined clinical and Ph.D. degrees): Dr. Mercedes Rubio The Leading Equity and Diversity in the Medical Scientist Training Program (LEAD MSTP;
PAR-23-030) is part of NIH’s efforts to broaden participation of institution types with NIH funded dual-degree training programs (i.e., a Ph.D. combined with a clinical degree, such as M.D., D.O., D.V.M., D.D.S., Pharm.D., etc.) and have historically not been well represented among NIGMS-funded MSTPs.
This program is limited to dual-degree training programs at (1) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), (2) Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and (3) institutions within Institutional Development Award (IDeA)-eligible states. When appropriate, NIGMS encourages applications using a partnership model to further and advance the goals of the program.
LEAD MSTP programs must be in a single institution or at institutions that are part of a partnership.
For single-institution programs, the applicant institution must be a higher education institution located in the United States and/or its territories with the following characteristics:
NIGMS encourages applications describing partnerships when this may further advance the goals of the program. Partnerships must have the following:
The total project period may not exceed 5 years and projects are renewable.The NOFO’s receipt dates are February 10, 2023, January 25, 2024, and January 27, 2025Earliest start date: December 2023 For more information about the LEAD-MSTP, please read the NOFO (PAR-23-030) and contact
Dr. Mercedes Rubio.
Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP, leading to the combined M.D.-Ph.D. degree) (PAR-21-189):Dr. Andrea Keane-Myers and
Dr. Miles Fabian The MSTP supports the integrated dual degree training that leads to the award of both clinical degrees (e.g., M.D., D.O., D.V.M., D.D.S., Pharm.D., etc.) and research doctorate degrees (Ph.D.) that implements effective and evidence-informed approaches. With the dual qualification of rigorous scientific research and clinical practice, graduates will be equipped with the skills to develop research programs that accelerate the translation of research advances to the understanding, detection, treatment, and prevention of human disease, and to lead the advancement of biomedical research. MSTP assures selected trainees a choice of a wide range of pertinent graduate programs in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences that, when combined with training in medicine, lead to a dual degree. Programs are encouraged to provide a breadth of doctoral research training opportunities consistent with individual institutional strengths. In addition to the above disciplines, support of trainees in other disciplines such as computer sciences, social and behavioral sciences, economics, epidemiology, public health, bioengineering, biostatistics and bioethics is encouraged. Proposed MSTP programs should be flexible and adaptable in providing each trainee with the appropriate background in the sciences relevant to medicine yet be rigorous enough to enable graduates to function independently in both basic research and clinical investigation.
All MSTP T32 training grant applications must be submitted under
PAR-21-189. Further, all applications must be submitted as new applications, including those that were previously funded by NIGMS. Renewals are restricted to awards made in response to
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