Interdisciplinary Training Opportunities

Photo of a scientist showing students a petri dish

There are a number of additional opportunities for graduate students to enhance their training. OHSU has several NIH training grants (T32) and the Career & Professional Development Center can help identify potential internships or externships.

The following NIH T32s provide additional training opportunities for students in PBMS:

The objective of this program is to provide enhanced interdisciplinary scientific and career training to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working with infectious micro-organisms and especially studying the interface between these pathogens and their human hosts. Associated areas of research include pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites, and the host immune responses against these microbes. Learn More

The objective of this program is to provide predoctoral and postdoctoral training opportunities for careers as academic scientists and clinician-scientists committed to innovative research on cancer and inflammation of skin, head & neck, and intestinal epithelia with an impact on understanding causes and improving future treatment of muco-cutaneous diseases and providing more effective patient care. Learn More

Students will enter the Program in Enhanced Research Training (PERT) in their second year of graduate training through a competitive application process. PERT trainees will spend one year in intensive training through courses and activities that emphasize the competencies they will need to develop a successful career in biomedical research. PERT students will commit to continued involvement in PERT through a Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program up through year 5 of their graduate training. This will provide PERT trainees with continuous training in communication, leadership, management, teamwork, and continued exposure to diverse research fields as they interact with the growing cohort of current and former PERT trainees.

    Program details

    Progress in Research Meetings

    PERT trainees will meet bi-monthly for one hour (6 hours per year) with the Program Director and the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring group for evaluation of progress in research. PERT trainees will each give two 10 minute oral presentations during the course of the training period. The presentations will be critiqued by the PD, fellow PERT trainees and the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring cohort using a standardized evaluation process. The entire group will provide troubleshooting advice and helpful suggestions on refinement of hypotheses, development of specific aims, experimental design and data analysis. This will provide the foundation for the development of an individual research proposal, which will be woven into these meetings. Trainees will be expected to use this opportunity to begin constructing their proposal and obtaining feedback throughout the course of the year. Dissertation mentors will be encouraged to attend their trainees’ presentations.

    Topics in career development

    This series will occur four times per year, alternating with the Progress in Research meetings. Topics for specific meetings will be adapted to the needs and interests of the trainees.

    • Navigating your mentor relationship and selecting your dissertation advisory committee
    • Time management
    • Effective scientific communication
    • Writing your thesis and how grant proposals are evaluated
    • Building your professional network
    • Choosing and landing a post-doctoral fellowship

    Curriculum overview

    In addition to the standard PBMS curriculum, PERT students are required to take the following additional courses and unique training activities designed specifically to meet the goals of PERT. These courses and activities include:

    • Data Rigor and Reproducibility (CONJ 610N, 0.5 credits; Summer term)
    • Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Disease (HIP 514, 2 credits; Fall term)
    • Biostatistics for Basic Sciences (CONJ 620, 3 credits; Winter term)
    • Training in Professional Science Writing Course (Spring term)
    • Oral presentation at OHSU Research Week (Spring term)
    • Attend quarterly Computational Biology Data Jamborees
    • Progress in Research monthly meetings with the Program Director and Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Cohort
    • Topics in Career Development
    • Attend two IDP career development meetings (beginning and end of the training period) with Dr. Jackie Wirz, the Director of Professional Development and Graduate Student Affairs.
    • Participation in one national level research conference selected by the student in consultation with their dissertation advisor, and approved by the PERT director
    • Post Qualifying Exam submission of an Individual NRSA proposal (or equivalent fellowship) by the nearest deadline for the specific fellowship opportunity.
    • Commitment to actively participate in the PERT Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program through year 5 of graduate training.

    Application process

    In the Spring, a request for applications will be distributed to first-year PBMS students who matriculated in the previous Fall Term. Applications will be reviewed by an ad-hoc selection committee composed of PERT faculty members. Evaluation of applications will give significant weight to the following criteria:

    • Quality of the research plan
    • Previous preparation of the applicant, including courses taken, grades received, and scientific work accomplished and/or published.
    • Letters of recommendation
    • The commitment of the training grant to support underrepresented minorities, disabled individuals, and women.
    • The commitment of the training grant to achieve a reasonable distribution of awards over the laboratories of different preceptors that participate in PBMS.

    The objective of this program is to prepare trainees in the fundamentals of vision science research, and to provide mentoring to enable trainees to become independent vision researchers. Learn More