Scientific Workforce Diversity Awards, Collaborative Science Supplements

You may be interested in these recent funding opportunity announcements:

MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T34)
(PAR-13-205)

Purpose: Increase the number of well-prepared underrepresented (UR) students who, within 3 years of graduation, matriculate into competitive/research active Ph.D. or combined M.D.-Ph.D. programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, go on to research careers and participate in NIH-funded research
Application due dates: June 24, 2013; June 24, 2014; June 24, 2015
NIGMS contact: Shawn Gaillard, 301-594-3900

Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) (R25)
(PAR-13-196)

Purpose: Develop new or expand existing effective institutional developmental programs designed to academically and scientifically prepare underrepresented students for Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences
Application due date: June 20, 2013
NIGMS contact: Robin S. Broughton, 301-594-3900

Reminder: The application due date for Supplements for Collaborative Science is May 15. For details, see this related Feedback Loop post.

Reflecting on 10 Years of Modeling Disease Spread

The NIGMS Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) is a collaborative network of about 100 scientists who use computational, statistical and mathematical models to understand infectious disease dynamics.

As we mark the program’s 10th anniversary, we invite you to join us for a symposium titled “Modeling for Science and Policy” on September 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT at the Lipsett Auditorium on the NIH campus. You can also watch the symposium remotely (live or later) via the NIH Videocast Web site. The program will feature short talks by MIDAS researchers on modeling for scientific understanding, for health policy decision making and for preparedness planning. We’ll post more details about the symposium when they’re available.

We also welcome scientists to apply for grants to become part of the network. We just released funding opportunity announcements for MIDAS centers of excellence (U54), an information technology resource (U24) and research projects (U01).

Since its inception, MIDAS has pioneered the use of computational and mathematical models to prepare for, detect and respond to infectious disease threats. In addition to doing basic quantitative and computational biology, MIDAS works closely with local, state and federal public health agencies to facilitate the use of modeling in decision making.

Here are just a few examples of MIDAS activities:

  • Working with the Institute of Medicine and the National Association of County and City Health Officers, MIDAS held a workshop at the 2013 Public Health Preparedness Summit to demonstrate how modeling can be used by local public health officials to inform policy decisions.
  • The University of Pittsburgh center Exit icon has developed a software program called FRED that uses high-performance computing to create virtual outbreaks and deliver the results to a smartphone. The approach could enable public health officials to employ modeling tools even when they aren’t at their computers.
  • The Harvard School of Public Health center Exit icon is developing models for the emergence of drug resistance in influenza, tuberculosis and other diseases to study the implications for clinical decision making.
  • The University of Chicago project Exit icon uses large-scale computational modeling to explore the dynamics of MRSA among incarcerated and other communities on the south side of Chicago.
  • The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute project Exit icon is developing a computer activity to teach high school students how epidemiologists study outbreaks and use mathematics and computation to help make public health decisions about vaccine distribution and school closures, for example.
  • The MIDAS information technology resource Exit icon has developed detailed virtual human populations for many countries, including the United States, Mexico, Thailand, China and Argentina. These populations allow investigators to simulate social networks, transmission dynamics and the impact of behavior and policies on disease spread.

The network’s models, software and other resources, including information about historical epidemics, are available through the MIDAS portal Exit icon. If you’re interested in modeling and/or infectious diseases, I invite you to explore this site, and I welcome your questions.

CORRECTION: The symposium will take place in the Lister Hill Center Auditorium on the NIH campus.

Remembering Longtime MARC Branch Chief Adolphus “Tol” Toliver

Adolphus Toliver, Ph.D.We were very sad to learn of the death of Adolphus Toliver, Ph.D., on March 26. Dr. Toliver–or Tol, as he preferred to be called–was a staunch supporter of diversity. His vision and dedication to increasing the participation of underrepresented minority students in biomedical research resulted in the development and improvement of many NIH programs.

Tol joined NIH in 1975 as the executive secretary of the biochemistry study section in the former Division of Research Grants (now the Center for Scientific Review). He was instrumental in assessing the emerging areas of biochemistry and molecular biology, which resulted in the creation of two new study sections, and increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in his study section. Tol also advised innumerable young biochemists who became successful grant writers and prominent researchers.

In 1994, Tol joined NIGMS as chief of the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Branch. In this position, he found his true calling, because he was a great and natural mentor and was able to continue to touch the lives and careers of many, especially those participating in the MARC program.

Tol’s contributions as an exec sec and as MARC Branch chief will have a lasting impact on science and the scientific community on many levels. However, he will probably be best remembered as the “father” of the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Exit icon. Now in its 13th year, ABRCMS has grown to a 4-day event that was attended last year by more than 3,300 student and other participants from across the nation.

Many of you have written to express your thoughts on what Dr. Toliver’s guidance and teachings meant personally and professionally, and I encourage you to share them here as well. I think Dr. Peter Lipke from Brooklyn College summed up how many of us feel when he stated that “in Dr. Toliver we have lost a true champion in all the senses of the word.”

Funding Opportunities for Scientists Affected by Hurricane Sandy

NIH has released two funding opportunity announcements to help restore facilities and/or research programs that were significantly disrupted by Hurricane Sandy last fall:

RFA-OD-13-199: Administrative supplements to awards that were active at the time of the storm

RFA-OD-13-005: Grants to new and early stage investigators whose pilot research and data were destroyed or damaged as a result of the storm

Eligibility is restricted to FEMA-declared major disaster states, and funds are limited to those made available by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. As discussed in a blog post from NIH’s Sally Rockey, NIH anticipates announcing additional opportunities and resources related to the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.

Wanted: Program Director for Cellular Decision Processes Grants

We’re looking for a program director (also known as a “health scientist administrator/program officer”) to manage research grants and other types of awards focused on cellular decision processes, e.g., growth initiation, proliferation, cell senescence, terminal differentiation, sporulation and chemotaxis regulation. The position is in the Developmental and Cellular Processes Branch of our Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology.

Candidates should have expertise in the use of state-of-the-art molecular genetics and/or genomics-based approaches to elucidate mechanistic aspects of cell growth and differentiation, signaling pathway dynamics or related areas. Familiarity with NIH extramural funding as an applicant, reviewer or NIH scientific administrator is a plus, and outstanding communications skills are essential.

The vacancy announcement closes on April 30. Please see the NIH HSA Web site for position requirements and application procedures. The Applying for Scientific Administration Jobs at NIGMS blog post offers additional background and tips.

Not looking for a position right now? Please help us out by forwarding this information to others who might be interested in this opportunity.

Undiagnosed Diseases Gene Function Research

You may be interested in this recent funding opportunity announcement from the NIH Common Fund that NIGMS will administer:

Undiagnosed Diseases Gene Function Research (R21)
(RFA-RM-13-003)

Purpose: Investigate the underlying genetics, biochemistry and/or pathophysiology of newly diagnosed diseases in association with the respective gene variant(s) identified through the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network
Letter of intent due date: May 14, 2013
Application due date: June 14, 2013
NIGMS contact: Donna Krasnewich, 301-594-0943

Applying for Scientific Administration Jobs at NIGMS

If you’re interested in becoming a health scientist administrator or program director at NIGMS or another part of NIH, here is information from NIH’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) to help you navigate the job application process and prepare a strong application package.

NIGMS and other NIH components post every job opening on www.USAJOBS.gov Exit icon, the official Office of Personnel Management (OPM) job site that services all federal agencies. These job postings are referred to as “vacancy announcements.” If you’re not relying on sources such as NIGMS’ Feedback Loop to alert you to specific job openings, we at NIH OHR encourage you to use the USAJOBS search engine Exit icon to target positions of interest.

When utilizing USAJOBS, an important item to be aware of is the vacancy announcement’s closing date. Many NIH announcements are advertised on USAJOBS for 5 business days. This is in response to the President’s Executive Order mandating hiring reform measures to streamline and accelerate government hiring processes. In some cases, original closing dates may be extended, but applications cannot be accepted once the closing date has passed.

We recommend that you keep your USAJOBS account—including your profile and supporting documentation—current so that you can quickly respond to new vacancy announcements. USAJOBS also allows you to store cover letters, certifications and unofficial transcripts in a “saved documents” section.

Applications received through USAJOBS are initially reviewed by an OHR human resource specialist who identifies highly qualified applicants and refers these applicants’ resumes and documentation to the selecting official. Because of the highly rigorous qualification process mandated by OPM, it is critical that your resume accurately describes your major activities, responsibilities and scope; a curriculum vitae with job titles and dates is not enough information for qualification purposes. For more information, please see these tips for developing effective federal resumes Exit icon.

You can find more suggestions, tutorials and FAQs at the USAJOBS Resource Center. You also can follow us at these sites:
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