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Basic science training grants hit NIH funding ‘grand slam’

Aug. 29, 2013, 8:31 AM

The Postdoctoral Program in Functional Neurogenomics includes, from left, Jacquelyn Brown, Ph.D., Marla Perna, Ph.D., Timothy Hohman, Ph.D., Chris Thompson, Ph.D., Program Director Randy Blakely, Ph.D., Associate Director Roger Cone, Ph.D., Max Michel, Ph.D., Rocco Gogliotti, Ph.D., Sarah Baas, Ph.D., and Tiffany Rogers, Ph.D. (photo by Joe Howell)

When it comes to government funding of basic science training programs for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, Vanderbilt University Medical Center hit a grand slam this year, officials said this week.

All 12 of its “T32” basic science training grant applications facing competitive renewal this past year were funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Vanderbilt’s “success rate” for obtaining and retaining NIH funding of these grants has exceeded the national average for several years.

“This is a tremendous reflection of the commitment of our faculty to education,” said Susan Wente, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research and senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences.

“These accomplishments also speak to the dedication and talent of our research enterprise as a whole and all those who support the efforts to keep these grants funded,” Wente said.

Even with tight NIH funding, Vanderbilt has been able to retain a stable number of training slots. Currently 144 graduate students and 125 research and clinical postdoctoral fellows are supported primarily through the medical center’s 40 T32 training grants.

The training grants that were funded in 2013 and their principal investigators are:

• Biochemical and Chemical Training for Cancer Research, Scott Hiebert, Ph.D.

• Chemistry Biology Interface Training Grant, Gary Sulikowski, Ph.D.

• Institutional Predoctoral Training Program in Biomedical Imaging Science, John Gore, Ph.D.

• Integrated Biological Systems Training in Oncology, Stephen Hann, Ph.D.

• Interdisciplinary Training Program in Lung Research, Timothy Blackwell, M.D.

• Microenvironmental Influences in Cancer, Jin Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

• Multidisciplinary Training in Molecular Endocrinology, Richard O’Brien, Ph.D.

• Postdoctoral Program in Functional Neurogenomics, Randy Blakely, Ph.D.

• Postdoctoral Training in Biomedical MRI and MRS, John Gore, Ph.D.

• Training in Fundamental Neuroscience, Mark Wallace, Ph.D.

• Training in Pharmacological Sciences, Joey Barnett, Ph.D.

• Training Program in Stem Cell and Regenerative Developmental Biology, Christopher Wright, D.Phil.

Roger Chalkley, D.Phil., senior associate dean for Education in Biomedical Sciences, credited his colleagues in the Office of Biomedical Research Education and Training for Vanderbilt’s success.

Blakely, Allan D. Bass Professor of Pharmacology, also cited Vanderbilt’s strong community of faculty mentors and scientific infrastructure.

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