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Projects Funded Under PA-15-136

Listed below are the details of the projects funded under PA-15-136.


Experimental Design for Biomedical Trainees
Principal Investigator: Joey Barnett, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center
This project aims to develop and implement a curriculum which includes topics such as experimental design, determining appropriate sample size, selection of exclusion criteria, awareness of bias and other statistical considerations. This curriculum will be delivered through lectures, small group discussions and “walk-in clinics” with opportunities for biostatistics consultation designed to prepare Vanderbilt T32 trainees, chemical biology graduate students and Meharry Medical College students training at Vanderbilt to address issues of reproducibility in science.

Career Counseling and Networking Program for Biomedical Trainees
Principal Investigator: Julie Blendy, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
This project will implement a set of career development activities for University of Pennsylvania graduate students to further develop their non-academic skills and prepare them for a variety of careers after graduate school. Activities will include structured interactions with a career counselor; early introduction to the range of careers available to graduates; and workshops on writing, leadership, oral communication and networking with individuals in different biomedical career pathways (science communication, for-profit research, non-profit and government enterprises, academic positions).

Advanced Statistical Experimental Design, Ethics and Data Analysis
Principal Investigator: Jeremy Boss, Ph.D., Emory University
This project aims to develop and teach a new semester-long course, Advanced Statistical Experimental Design, Ethics and Data Analysis, to provide graduate students with advanced knowledge in experimental design and statistical methodology beyond the introductory biostatistics and bioinformatics courses. This course will be taught in a multimodal format utilizing lecture, a practicum providing opportunities to work directly with datasets, a seminar series with lectures from data scientists in the field and peer-to-peer consulting led by students who have completed the course. A website will also be developed which will contain prerequisite material, lecture videos and other resources.

Fundamentals of Professional Communication and Project Management
Principal Investigator: Melanie Cobb, Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
This project will develop a training course, Fundamentals of Professional Communication and Project Management, for students to further develop project management and communication skills as part of their predoctoral training experience. The course will include interactive workshops with biomedical professionals to discuss application of project management skills, self-assessment inventories to gain understanding of areas for needed skill development, and completion of an individual project requiring the applications of skills and knowledge gained in areas covered by the course.

Building Alternative Career Skills With “Science Communication in the Digital Age”
Principal Investigator: Daniel Eberl, Ph.D., University of Iowa
This project will develop a 15-week course, Science Communication in the Digital Age, in order to teach a diverse set of career skills necessary for both academic and non-academic careers. The course will include topics such as effective speaking to audiences including the public, policymakers and industry professionals; communicating to culturally diverse audiences and promoting diversity in science; and audio-visual production, website design and creating online courses. This course will include cross-disciplinary instructors from the departments of rhetoric, journalism and mass communication; it will also include guest speakers and culminate with a career fair to provide information on different career trajectories in biomedical science.

Training in Experimental Design for Biomolecular Pharmacology
Principal Investigator: David Farb, Ph.D., Boston University
This project will enhance training in experimental design and reproducibility of research results by developing a new training core within the predoctoral training program in biomolecular pharmacology at Boston University. This training core will consist of a two semester course covering content including emphasizing a 360-degree view of study design, objective statistical evaluation of results, blinding of investigators for analysis of research data, directed measures of quality control and communication of the scientific product, and students will apply knowledge in the development of NRSA proposals. The course will also include collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry (Pfizer) and “role-playing” exercises to replicate real-world experiences in communication and decision-making related to scientific results.

Computational and Professional Skills for Biomedical Trainees
Principal Investigator: David Golan, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
This project will develop two courses to enhance the Therapeutics Graduate Program and overall graduate curriculum at Harvard Medical School to address reproducibility and career development. Statistical Modeling for Experimental Design Using Computer Programming will build upon the existing Modern Drug Discovery core course by teaching computational skills, specifically MATLAB programming and statistical modeling for experimental design. The second course, Exploring and Detailing Skills Valued Outside the Academic Research Setting, will link training with real-world experiences through an internship in a non-academic setting and the intentional development of skills valued outside of the academic research setting (e.g., networking, time management, project management, communication).

Enhancing Research and Career Building Skills for Trainees in Cell and Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator: Michael Harris, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
This project will enhance predoctoral training through the integration of core principles of biostatistics, informatics, data and project management, entrepreneurship and experimental design into the core curriculum for Ph.D. students, with a view to enhancing the rigor and reproducibility of research conducted by trainees. This curricular content will be delivered in the new student orientation “Boot Camp;” the first semester course in cell and molecular biology (C3MB); the responsible conduct of research course; and through short courses, workshops and seminars for more advanced trainees. Additionally, this project will expose students to research-related career paths early in their training through the development of an interdisciplinary certificate-granting program with three tracks: Business and Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking, and Translational Research.

Enhancing Research and Career Building Skills for Trainees in Computational Bioinformatics and Biostatistics
Principal Investigator: Donna Korzick, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
This project is designed to provide trainees in the Computational Bioinformatics and Statistics and Physiological Adaptations to Stress predoctoral training programs with a strong foundation in reproducible research and prepare them for a variety of research careers. The curriculum will be enhanced through a 3-module, week-long boot camp with activities covering computational statistics and simulation, a computational platform for reproducible research using the Galaxy Training Network and an online community forum with opportunities for discussion and interactive engagement. In addition, in collaboration with the Smeal College of Business Executive Education Program, this project will develop a week-long boot camp to address business, legal and regulatory aspects specific to the biotechnology enterprise and provide a mentored biotechnology entrepreneurship experience.

Best Practices to Ensure Reproducibility and Rigor in Research
Principal Investigator: Eugene Orringer, M.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This project will provide formal training in research design and methods, data acquisition and data analysis to ensure rigorous and reproducible science through a new 7-week, one-credit course, Best Practices for Reproducibility and Rigor in Research. Topics will include: experimental design, experimental rigor, training and standard operating procedures, data acquisition and archiving, data analysis and reporting, recognizing biological diversity and potential artifacts, and industry representatives-best practices in pharma and biotech. The course will be offered to students in T32 programs and available to all graduate students at the University of North Carolina in subsequent years.

Hypothesis, Design and Biostatistics
Principal Investigator: Matthew Trudeau, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore
This project will develop a new course, Hypothesis, Design and Biostatistics, with an emphasis on principles of rigor and reproducibility in science. The course will consist primarily of online content and faculty will work with the Center for Academic Innovation and Distance Education at the University of Maryland to develop online materials and adaptive learning modules based on adult learning theory. The course and materials will be available to students at University of Maryland, and has the potential for broad accessibility and dissemination given its online format.

Quantitative Approaches to Experimental Design and Intro to Individual Development
Principal Investigator: Miguel Garcia-Diaz, Ph.D., State University New York, Stony Brook
This project will implement curricular changes to enhance both rigor and reproducibility and exposure of predoctoral students to multiple career paths in biomedical science. Curricular changes include the development of a 1-credit course, Quantitative Approaches to Experimental Design, for all first year students, enhancement of the Statistics in Life Sciences course to expand on introductory content, requiring students to address reproducibility in their research seminar presentations, developing new elective courses and revising the RCR training to include issues of reproducibility. This project will also implement a 1-credit Individual Development Plan course to evaluate interest in and develop plans for their preferred career path. A Career Conference will also be held every 2 years to provide exposure to different career paths.

Improving Rigor and Reproducibility in Big Data Research
Principal Investigator: Bruce Weir, Ph.D., University of Washington
This project will design new curriculum and enhance existing training in bioinformatics and machine learning to provide trainees with quantitative expertise necessary to extract knowledge from biomedical big data. Activities include developing a data science curriculum for biomedical sciences at the University of Washington, a course on data visualization for biomedical big data, a short course on graphical models and network analysis, revision of the Ethical Issues for Biostatisticians course and a graduate certificate in data science for public health and medicine.

Using ORANGE to Improve Rigor and Reproducibility in the Analysis of Large Datasets
Principal Investigator: Theodore Wensel, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
This project will provide graduate students with a strong foundation in methods to designing and conducting reproducible and rigorous research by teaching an innovative 2-week course, Orange, and using it as an analytical tool for large data sets. The course will focus on data mining essentials, covering standard approaches to clustering, classification, regression and model selection, and domain-oriented techniques including gene enrichment analysis. In the second phase of the project, students from the Orange course will participate in a 7-month application of the content through three team projects. The team project component of the course will also include access to mentors, guest speakers presenting professional development seminars and a business plan style competition.

Mastering the Art of Reproducible Science
Principal Investigator: Bradley Yoder, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham
This project will develop and pilot a team-based learning course, Mastering the Art of Reproducible Science. The 16-week course is structured around four modules: reproducibility issues associated with tools, reagents and research approaches; reproducibility issues involving pressure, bias and data analysis and presentation; reproducibility in preclinical testing and failures in clinical studies; and reproducibility involving gender, race, age and health disparities. Each module will include reading materials, web-based videos and exercises that will be completed outside of the classroom. Teams of students will then work through a series of application exercises involving scenarios that impact reproducibility and will produce short videos demonstrating the principle of reproducible research learned in the scenario.

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This page last reviewed on April 24, 2017