NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Program

Program

The NIGMS PRAT Program is a competitive three-year postdoctoral fellowship program that provides high quality research training in the basic biomedical sciences in NIH intramural research laboratories. The program prepares trainees for leadership positions in biomedical careers through mentored laboratory research, networking, and intensive career and leadership development activities.

The program places special emphasis on training fellows in all areas that are within the NIGMS mission, including but not limited to biological chemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, cellular and molecular biology, computational biosciences, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, and technology development. The PRAT program includes professional development activities tailored to the PRAT fellows, such as a monthly seminar series featuring presentations by current PRAT fellows and outside speakers whom the fellows have invited, and training sessions focused on grant-writing, career planning, communications skills, and leadership skills.

PRAT fellows receive three years of stipend support (at competitive levels commensurate with experience and recognition of program selection), benefits and a travel allowance, and will participate in PRAT Program activities. Please see examples of research the PRAT fellows conduct:

Sofia Beas-Parodi, Circuit mechanism driving hypoglycemia-induced feeding.
Andrew Beaven, Using molecular dynamics to study lipid-lipid and lipid-protein interactions
Danielle Chisolm, Characterizing the function of the long noncoding RNA Ifng-as1
Chase Francis, Aversive learning requires Nucleus Accumbens substance P
Adenrele Gleason, Exosomes: The harbingers of disease
Evan Hart, Do ACC neurons encode valueless associative structure?
Pam Head, Aberrant Posttranslational Modifications and Inborn Errors of Metabolism
Sofiya Hupalo, Identifying Neurobiological Bases of Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia Using Animal Models
Agnes Karasik, RNase L mediated antiviral response triggers alternative translation
Vivien Maltez, Microscopy and Cancer: The Power of Imaging the Tumor Microenvironment
James Marks, Identifying coordinated controllers of post-transcriptional gene regulation
Elizabeth Martin, Does progesterone promote or enhance transcription? A tale of histone tails
Sezen Meydan, Understanding the role of ribosome collisions in neuronal homeostasis
Andrew Moehlman, What is the link between hyperactive innate immunity and neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s Disease?
Rachael Philips, Why do patients with STAT1 gain-of-function mutations develop chronic viral infections?
Laura Pomatto, Calories or Nutrients? Dietary Interventions in the Metastatic Potential of Cancer Cells
Marcos Ramos-Benitez, Evaluating NETosis induction potential in severe and mild cases of COVID-19
David Reiner, Neurobiology of opioid relapse in a rodent model
Omar Soler-Cedeno, Function of the Parabrachial Nucleus to Central Amygdala Pathway in Pain-Related Plasticity
Apollo Stacy, Infection trains the microbiota for enhanced resistance to pathogens
Nathan Williamson, Can we use the diffusion of water to probe structures inside the cell?
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Eligibility

To be eligible applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D. or other relevant biomedical professional degree) and no more than five years of postdoctoral research experience by the time the PRAT fellowship would begin.
    • Individuals currently in Ph.D. or other doctoral degree-granting programs may apply as long as they anticipate completing the degree requirements before starting the PRAT Program.
    • Individuals already in the intramural program may apply as long as they began postdoctoral training on or after June 1, 2019.

The PRAT program is especially interested in ensuring the applicant pool reflects the diversity of the biomedical Ph.D. talent pool, and strongly encourages applications from scientists from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences.

NOTE: In order to be approved for logical and physical access to NIH facilities and systems, candidates must be able to pass a Federal background check, using Standard Form-85 (read SF-85 [PDF, 204KB]). NOTE: Section 14 of the form asks “In the last year, have you used, possessed, supplied, or manufactured illegal drugs?” The question pertains to the illegal use of drugs or controlled substances in accordance with Federal laws, even though permissible under state laws.

Preceptors

Fellows pursue independent, mentored research under the guidance of one or more tenured or tenure-track NIH investigators. Applicants must identify and communicate with a potential preceptor before applying to PRAT to develop a research proposal as part of the fellowship application. Eligible preceptors and descriptions of their research can be found at the NIH Intramural Research Program website. Preceptors also can be found by searching the NIH Intramural Database either by keywords or by name of a specific investigator. Note: Each preceptor may be the primary sponsor on only one PRAT application in the same review cycle but may co-sponsor additional applications.

Specific Dates for Next Application Cycle

September 2, 2020PRAT application submission period begins
October 2, 2020Applications and letters of reference must be received by 5:00 PM ET
February-March 2021Scientific review of applications
April-May 2021Summary statements available, and finalists notified
Late summer/early fall 2021Earliest start date for new PRAT fellows (typically, September 1)

Suggested Timeline for Application to the PRAT Program

Applicants to the NIGMS PRAT program must apply through the NIH Fi2 funding mechanism - https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-19-286.html. The NIH Fi2 application is similar to the application for the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32) individual postdoctoral fellowship.

For more information about PRAT, including eligibility requirements, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, May 21, 2019 (PAR-19-286), or contact Dr. Desiré​e Salazar.

PRAT Program Overview and Application Process Webinar and Slides [PDF, 1.04MB], June 19, 2019

PRAT Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The PRAT fellows standing in a group in front of a building on NIH campus.

Group Photo of PRAT Fellows with NIGMS Director Dr. Jon Lorsch, and PRAT Program Directors Dr. Kenneth Gibbs and Dr. Mercedes Rubio, June 2019