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National Institutes of Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2019 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research

Office of Education

Yvette Pittman
Erin Walsh
Carol Carnahan
  • Yvette R. Pittman, PhD, Director, Office of Education
  • Erin Walsh, PhD, Associate Director
  • Carol Carnahan, Program Coordinator

The Goals and objectives of the Office of Education can be summarized as follows. To meet the training needs of intramural scientists, fellows, and students at all levels, the Office of Education recruits and develops academic support programs, contributes to mentoring, evaluation, and career guidance, and creates new training initiatives. Our professional development workshops and activities typically include public speaking workshops, job interviewing, writing and editorial services for professional school and job applications, grantsmanship workshops, academic and non-academic career presentations, one-on-one counseling, teaching opportunities, and lab management programs. Additional areas of involvement include programming for career exploration, networking among fellows and alumni, grantsmanship, and the enhancement of fellows’ competitiveness for research awards and future career opportunities, as well as support of tenure-track investigators.

Notable accomplishments of the past year

The Office of Education organizes numerous workshops, programs, and individualized opportunities for a population averaging 250 trainees, including: postdoctoral, visiting, and research fellows; clinical fellows and medical students; graduate students; and postbaccalaureate fellows and summer trainees.

Our TmT (Three-minute Talks) competition, now in its sixth year, is held in conjunction with NCATS, NIDCR, NIAMS, NHGRI, and NEI. Dr. Mengying Li in the Epidemiology Branch in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research received the second-place award.

We continued our Graduate Student Talks initiative, established in 2014, which provides the Institute's graduate students with experience in presenting their thesis research to a non-specialist scientific audience.

An online Annual Progress Review for fellows, developed by the Office and launched in 2016, tracks scientific and career development and progress. As part of the assessments of investigators' mentoring, the reports by fellows are analyzed and provided to the site visits of the Board of Scientific Counselors.

In September 2019, the Division of Intramural Research gave its 12th Mentor of the Year awards to Alan Hinnebusch, Section on Nutrient Control of Gene Expression, in the investigator category, and to Maria Queralt-Martin, Section on Molecular Transport, as fellow.

The database of NICHD alumni from 2008 to the present continues to be updated.

We compiled a valuable list of organizations that accept grant applications from NIH intramural fellows, through both NIH and non-NIH funding mechanisms. It can be found on the NICHD fellows' wiki site. For NICHD, 24 Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) awards were made for the 2020 competition.

Infographic depicting the activities of the Office of Education, including: leadership and management; research awards; teaching; research ethics; careers; medical and grad school preparation; writing and publishing; grants; annual fellows retreat; and science communication.

Click image to view.
Activities of the Office of Education

The Fellows Intramural Grants Supplement (FIGS) continuing to recognize and stimulate grant applications among fellows, and we launched the third cycle for our Intramural Research Fellowships (IRFs), a new competitive internal funding opportunity for NICHD postdoctoral and clinical fellows. Its ultimate goal is to promote fellows' grant writing and to enhance their awareness of various components for an NIH grant application.

The Institute continues its exchange program with INSERM (the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in France), which provides a unique opportunity for US and French scientists to obtain postdoctoral training with French and US mentors, respectively, and, since 2016, up to three second- and third-year medical students from Santa Casa de São Paulo School of Medical Sciences (Brazil) train with NICHD investigators for the Future Researchers Program.

The Fellows Recruitment Incentive Award (FRIA) continues to support investigators who recruit postdocs from populations traditionally underrepresented in science.

The alumni group for our NICHD Developing Talent Scholars program, in its ninth year, now numbers 16 individuals, and two new postbaccalaureate fellows joined the program in 2019. The Scholars program focuses on developing talent and supporting trainees' academic and career progression.

Postdoctoral fellows were also given the opportunity to organize and teach our annual course for postbaccalaureate trainees, which entered its 14th year.

The Office of Education is fully committed to and actively involved in graduate and professional school advising and career counseling for all of our fellows. NICHD, along with four other institutes, launched a career development program in 2018, specifically directed at those fellows interested in careers outside academia, and the Planning and Career Exploration (PACE) program provides fellows with key resources to explore various scientific careers and helps them set achievable goals and build their professional networks.

The 15th Annual Fellows Meeting was held for about 120 people to address scientific developments and careers, took place at the William F. Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland, and featured keynote speaker Dr. Elaine Ostrander, NIH Distinguished Investigator. Each spring, this retreat includes presentations by fellows, career panel sessions, and a poster presentation by each attendee. The program is developed and run by a fellows' steering committee.

The NICHD Connection monthly newsletter continues its focus on mentoring, careers, and academic programs for young scientists, publishing its 113th issue in October 2019 and reaching all members of the intramural division and our alumni.

Dr. Erin Walsh became Associate Director of the Office.


For further information, contact Dr. Yvette Pittman, Dr. Erin Walsh, or Carol Carnahan.

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