Dr. Fred Taylor

About Dr. Fred Taylor

Fred oversees the NIGMS center that manages a variety of research, research training, faculty development and research infrastructure improvement grants, including the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program.

Q&A with NIGMS-Funded PECASE Winners

Each year, NIH nominates outstanding young scientists for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists beginning their independent research careers. The scientists are selected for their innovative research record, potential to continue on this productive route and community service activities. Among this year’s PECASE recipients (nominated in 2014) are two NIGMS grantees, Tufts University’s Aimee Shen Exit icon (who started her career at the University of Vermont) and Montana State University’s Blake Wiedenheft Exit icon (who was the inaugural NIGMS Director’s Early Career Investigator Lecturer). Both scientists launched their labs with support from our Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, which fosters health-related research and enhances the competitiveness of investigators at institutions in states with historically low levels of NIH funding.

Photo of Blake Wiedenheft (top) and Aimee Shen (bottom).

Below, they answer questions about their research and community service efforts, offer advice to other early career scientists, and share their experiences with the IDeA program.

What is the focus of your research?

Blake Wiedenheft: Viruses that infect bacteria (i.e., bacteriophages) are the most abundant biological entities on earth. The selective pressures imposed by these pervasive predators have a profound impact on the composition and the behavior of microbial communities in every ecological setting. In my lab, we rely on a combination of techniques from bioinformatics, genetics, biochemistry and structural biology to understand the mechanisms that bacteria use to defend themselves from viral infection.

Aimee Shen: My lab studies Clostridium difficile, the leading cause of healthcare-associated infection in the United States. C. difficile forms metabolically dormant cells known as spores that allow the microbe to survive exit from the gastrointestinal tract of a mammalian host. My research is directed at understanding how C. difficile spores form in order to transmit infection and how they germinate and transform into disease-causing cells to initiate infection.

Continue reading

Wanted: Program Directors for Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Training, Capacity-Building Programs

We’re looking for multiple program directors (also known as program officers or health scientist administrators) to manage research grants, undergraduate and/or graduate student research and postdoctoral career development programs, and capacity-building programs.

Several of the positions are in the Undergraduate and Predoctoral Training Branch of our Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD). These individuals will manage undergraduate and/or graduate student development programs along with research and training grants. Another position is in TWD’s Postdoctoral Training Branch. This individual will manage one or more of the programs in this branch along with research and training grants. We’re particularly interested in candidates who have broad expertise in areas relevant to the NIGMS mission and professional experience in the training of research scientists as well as in programs aimed at increasing the diversity of the scientific workforce.

The other position is in our Center for Research Capacity Building. This individual will manage programs that support research and provide resources for research infrastructure enhancement and capacity building in the basic, translational and clinical biomedical sciences. These programs seek to enhance the competitiveness and diversity of the biomedical research workforce.

Please see the vacancy announcement Exit icon for position descriptions and requirements and detailed application procedures. The positions close on April 13.