NIGMS Predoctoral Training Grant Program Areas and Contacts

NIGMS accepts predoctoral training grant applications to the NIGMS-specific Predoctoral T32 to enhance graduate (Ph.D.) research training in 12 broad areas of basic biomedical sciences. The proposed training program should be broadly-based and foundational in nature. Applicants are expected to identify the program area that they are applying to under the Agency Routing Identifier Field on the Cover Page of their application (see NOT-GM-19-012 for details). NIGMS does not participate in the NIH-wide parent T32. In addition to training in these 12 broad areas, NIGMS supports the integrated dual-degree clinician and graduate research training through the Leading Equity and Diversity in the Medical Scientist Training Program (LEAD MSTP) ​and Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). For general information about these institutional NRSA T32 predoctoral training programs, contact ​Dr. Mercedes Rubio​.

Basic Biomedical Sciences (PAR-23-228​​) (NIGMS-specific Predoctoral T32)

Integrated Dual-Degree Clinician and Graduate Training Programs

Individual Program Descriptions:

Behavioral-Biomedical Sciences Interface: Dr. Mercedes Rubio
Programs in this area should provide graduate research training for students at the behavioral sciences-biomedical sciences interface. The goal of the program is to develop basic behavioral scientists with rigorous broad-based training in biology and biomedical science, who are prepared to assume leadership roles related to the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. Programs must provide an interdisciplinary research training experience and curriculum for predoctoral trainees that integrates both behavioral and biomedical perspectives, approaches and methodologies. Training programs must include coursework, laboratory rotations and programmatic activities that reinforce training at this interface. Collaborative involvement and significant participation by faculty and leadership with research programs in both behavioral and biomedical science departments is required, as is co-mentoring of trainees by faculty from both disciplines.

Biostatistics: Dr. Mercedes Rubio
Programs in this area should provide training that integrates biostatistical theory and evolving methodologies with basic biomedical research including, but not limited to, bioinformatics, genetics, molecular biology, cellular processes, and physiology, as well as epidemiological, clinical, and behavioral studies. The goal is to ensure that a workforce of biostatisticians with a deep understanding of statistical theory and new methodologies is available to assume leadership roles related to the nation's biomedical research needs. Implementation will depend on the integration of biostatistics and basic biological sciences to create effective interdisciplinary training grant programs. The aim is to provide students with strong quantitative talents to pursue a wide range of opportunities in biostatistics research.

Biotechnology: Dr. Miljan Simonovic
At the urging of Congress, NIGMS established a program of biotechnology training grants in 1988. The purpose of this program is to produce broadly trained investigators who have the facility and orientation to combine basic and applied research. The training supported by these grants provides predoctoral students substantial technical and intellectual skills in areas such as microbiology, molecular genetics, biochemistry, biochemical engineering, plant and animal cell culture technologies, metabolic engineering, biomaterials, macromolecular structure analysis, hybridoma technology, tissue engineering and separation technologies. At the heart of this training is the in-depth dissertation research and course work of a Ph.D. program, but the trainees are also expected to acquire significant exposure to the concepts and experimental approaches of some related research areas. Trainees are encouraged to engage in laboratory rotations early in their graduate career to survey various opportunities for dissertation research. The biotechnology training program also is required to include a two- or three-month industrial internship, to give students a meaningful research experience in a biotechnology or pharmaceutical firm. This research experience may be fully integrated with the trainee’s Ph.D. research, but it may also be used by the trainee to delve into new areas. Trainees are required to receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research.

Cellular, Biochemical, and Molecular Sciences (CMB): Dr. Baishali Maskeri​​ and Dr. Marie Harton
Programs in this area should be cross-disciplinary and involve in-depth study of biological problems at the level of the cellular and molecular sciences. Cellular, biochemical and molecular sciences programs should be cross-disciplinary and involve in-depth study of biological problems at the level of the cellular and molecular sciences. ​​

Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI): Dr. Michelle Bond and Dr. Charles Ansong
Programs in this area should train students to use chemistry to investigate and manipulate biological processes, and to develop new technologies to accelerate research ​relevant to biology and medicine. It is expected that CBI programs will bring together chemists, biologists, engineers, and physician-scientists to foster creative thinking across disciplinary lines. Through a shared commitment to integrity, safety, collaboration, and teamwork, trainees are expected to learn to identify and rigorously solve the most important problems in biology with the highest standards of practice in biomedical research.

Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, and Biomedical Data Science: Dr. Paula Flicker
The goal of this program is to train Ph.D. students in the fundamentals and applications of computational and information sciences to gain insights and develop new strategies to solve problems relevant to basic biomedical research. Of particular interest are multi-disciplinary programs providing the skills to address biomedical research questions by utilizing large data sets and multiscale approaches. Accordingly, multi-department applications which partner biological sciences with quantitative and computational sciences (e.g., data science, computer science, statistics, mathematics, informatics, engineering) are encouraged. Training should include the use of theory, simulations, data sciences, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other bioinformatics and computational approaches to address the full spectrum of basic research areas in the biomedical sciences, including for example, the fundamentals of analysis and interpretation of molecular sequence and structure, molecular function, cellular function, physiology, genomics, and genetics. In accordance with the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science [PDF], training should also include aspects of fair and ethical data use, data sharing, and data security and confidentiality. NIGMS encourages programs to make use of resources and expertise available in the private sector to develop student skills and career paths in areas including efficient computer code development and use of emerging technologies and platforms.

Genetics: Dr. Dimitrios Vatakis
The primary mission of the NIGMS-supported genetics predoctoral training grants is to provide highly qualified students with broad, multidisciplinary training in all aspects of modern genetics. At the same time, the trainees are expected to be exposed to closely related fields such as cell and developmental biology and biochemistry. The goal is to produce scientists who will have a thorough understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of inheritance, at both the molecular and organismal levels, and who will be able to apply genetic approaches to problems in other areas of biology. It is also anticipated that graduates will be able to teach courses in genetics at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Molecular Biophysics: Dr. Paula Flicker
The molecular biophysics training program targets training at the intersection of physics, chemistry and engineering on the one hand and cell and molecular biology on the other. The goal is to train scientists who can apply the techniques commonly associated with modern biophysics to solve fundamental problems in cell and molecular biology. These techniques span the range of resolution from atomic to whole cell.

Molecular Medicine: Dr. Zhongzhen Nie
Training in molecular medicine is intended to combine rigorous didactic training in the basic biomedical sciences with exposure to concepts and knowledge underlying the molecular basis of disease. Trainees should have training in the core concepts of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics and related biomedical sciences. In addition, trainees in molecular medicine should have specialized required courses such as pathophysiology and molecular pathogenesis, and program activities, such as seminar series or journal clubs, that would provide students with a better understanding of disease mechanisms. Other features that would enhance training in molecular medicine could include dual mentors in basic and clinical science, and exposure to the concepts of medicine through participation in grand rounds or autopsy internships. Training faculty should be broadly drawn from multiple departments and disciplines and thesis research topics should reflect a broad range of interdisciplinary opportunities in the basic biomedical sciences.

Pharmacological Sciences (PS): Dr. Sailaja Koduri
The NIGMS pharmacological sciences training grant program supports research training in quantitative and systems pharmacology which is defined as an approach to translational medicine that combines computational and experimental methods to elucidate, validate and apply pharmacological concepts to the development and use of small molecule and biologic drugs to understand their mechanisms of action. Quantitative and systems pharmacology supports the development of the knowledge needed to understand complex cellular networks and investigate the pathophysiology of disease to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize toxicity and implement a “precision medicine” approach to improving the health of individual patients. It collectively includes the areas of drug receptors, cell signaling pathways, pharmacometrics, toxicology, medicinal chemistry, drug disposition, drug delivery and regulatory sciences.

Systems and Integrative Biology: Dr. Chris Chao
Training in this area should be directed toward building the broad research competence required to investigate the integrative, regulatory and developmental processes of higher organisms and the functional components of these processes. The goal of these programs is to train scientists who will use a diversity of experimental approaches--from the molecular and cellular to the behavioral and computational--to understand integrated and complex biological problems. The training environment should promote intellectual cross-fertilization, provide opportunities for students to establish their own research niches and encourage a systems/integrative perspective to understanding biology. It is expected that students will participate in a series of laboratory rotations in their early years of training to expose them to investigations across scales (from molecular to whole organism), and in order to gain breadth and to become aware of the range of research faculty and opportunities available to them.

Trans-Departmental Basic Biomedical Sciences: Dr. Sydella Blatch Alexander
Organizations without an NIGMS-funded predoctoral T32 program (other than the LEAD-MSTP or Bridges to the Doctorate) can support trainees engaged in biomedical research across a broad range of biomedically relevant departments at the organization through the Trans-departmental Basic Biomedical Sciences program.

Leading Equity and Diversity in the Medical Scientist Training Program (LEAD MSTP, leading to the combined clinical and Ph.D. degrees): ​Dr. Mercedes Rubio
The Leading Equity and Diversity in the Medical Scientist Training Program (LEAD MSTP; PAR-23-030) is part of NIH’s efforts to broaden participation of institution types with NIH funded dual-degree training programs (i.e., a Ph.D. combined with a clinical degree, such as M.D., D.O., D.V.M., D.D.S., Pharm.D., etc.) and have historically not been well represented among NIGMS-funded MSTPs.

This program is limited to dual-degree training programs at (1) Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), (2) Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and (3) institutions within Institutional Development Award (IDeA)-eligible states. When appropriate, NIGMS encourages applications using a partnership model to further and advance the goals of the program.

Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP, leading to combined clinical and research doctorate degrees) (PAR-24-128): Dr. Andrea Keane-Myers and Dr. Miles Fabian
The MSTP supports the integrated dual degree training that leads to the award of both clinical (that is, M.D., D.O., D.V.M., D.D.S., Pharm.D., etc.) and research doctorate degrees (Ph.D.) that implements effective and evidence-informed approaches. With the dual qualification of rigorous scientific research and clinical practice, graduates will be equipped with the skills to develop research programs that accelerate the translation of research advances to the understanding, detection, treatment, and prevention of human disease, and to lead the advancement of biomedical research. MSTP assures selected trainees a choice of a wide range of pertinent graduate programs in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences that, when combined with training in medicine, lead to a dual degree. Programs are encouraged to provide a breadth of doctoral research training opportunities consistent with individual institutional strengths. In addition to the above disciplines, support of trainees in other disciplines such as computer sciences, social and behavioral sciences, economics, epidemiology, public health, bioengineering, biostatistics, and bioethics is encouraged. Proposed MSTP programs should be flexible and adaptable in providing each trainee with the appropriate background in the sciences relevant to medicine yet be rigorous enough to enable graduates to function independently in both basic research and clinical investigation.​