Rigor & Reproducibility; Career Curriculum Development


Listed below are the details of the projects funded under PA-15-136.

Computational and Professional Skills for Biomedical Trainees
Principal Investigator: David Golan, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
This project will develop two courses to enhance the Therapeutics Graduate Program and overall graduate curriculum at Harvard Medical School to address reproducibility and career development. Statistical Modeling for Experimental Design Using Computer Programming will build upon the existing Modern Drug Discovery core course by teaching computational skills, specifically MATLAB programming and statistical modeling for experimental design. The second course, Exploring and Detailing Skills Valued Outside the Academic Research Setting, will link training with real-world experiences through an internship in a non-academic setting and the intentional development of skills valued outside of the academic research setting (e.g., networking, time management, project management, communication).
Accomplishments: This T32 supplement was used to create two new courses to address reproducibility and career development. The first course, which will be taught for the first time in Fall 2017, builds on foundational concepts from an existing MATLAB bootcamp course to strengthen the statistical skills of students, to expand and enhance computational skills, and to teach statistical modeling for experimental design to enhance data reproducibility. The goals of the course are to improve students' computational, quantitative reasoning, and statistical modeling skills, and to demonstrate explicitly how statistical modeling can be used in experimental design. The second course, which will be taught for the first time in Spring 2018, builds on our existing non-academic internship experience to develop skills that are valued outside the academic research setting. These skills include networking, time management, project management, and communication. The goal of the course is to help students apply these skills to their work in both academic and non-academic settings.

Enhancing Research and Career Building Skills for Trainees in Cell and Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator: Michael Harris, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
This project will enhance predoctoral training through the integration of core principles of biostatistics, informatics, data and project management, entrepreneurship and experimental design into the core curriculum for Ph.D. students, with a view to enhancing the rigor and reproducibility of research conducted by trainees. This curricular content will be delivered in the new student orientation "Boot Camp;" the first semester course in cell and molecular biology (C3MB); the responsible conduct of research course; and through short courses, workshops and seminars for more advanced trainees. Additionally, this project will expose students to research-related career paths early in their training through the development of an interdisciplinary certificate-granting program with three tracks: Business and Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking, and Translational Research.
Accomplishments: Added sessions on biostatistics, informatics, and data management to the first year curriculum. Added sessions on the same topics to the RCR course, IBMS 500, one of which will be taught by the PI. Implemented programs designed to enhance student's understanding of career choices in a wide variety of areas.

Enhancing Research and Career Building Skills for Trainees in Computational Bioinformatics and Biostatistics
Principal Investigator: Donna Korzick, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
This project is designed to provide trainees in the Computational Bioinformatics and Statistics and Physiological Adaptations to Stress predoctoral training programs with a strong foundation in reproducible research and prepare them for a variety of research careers. The curriculum will be enhanced through a 3-module, week-long boot camp with activities covering computational statistics and simulation, a computational platform for reproducible research using the Galaxy Training Network and an online community forum with opportunities for discussion and interactive engagement. In addition, in collaboration with the Smeal College of Business Executive Education Program, this project will develop a week-long boot camp to address business, legal and regulatory aspects specific to the biotechnology enterprise and provide a mentored biotechnology entrepreneurship experience.
Accomplishments: August 2015, were awarded a supplement in response to PA-15-136 and in collaboration with T32GM102057 (Hardison). Built upon existing curricula to enhance and intensify each training program and widen the training audience at the institution. Specific curricular additions included streamlined training in the form of executive 'boot camp' courses to provide trainees with a strong foundation in reproducible research and prepare them for research careers in industry, government, or entrepreneurial enterprises. The entrepreneurship boot camp was implemented in May 2016 (as proposed) in conjunction with faculty in the Smeal College of Business to address key aspects specific to the biotechnology enterprise. The second boot camp on data reproducibility and scientific transparency was held in June 2016 as a five day workshop. The boot camp materials were hosted on Biostars and made available to all interested beyond the 35 selected participants. We have subsequently implemented both boot camps in May 2017 and July 2017, respectively, using matching funds from individual units at Penn State.