View a 508-compliant PDF of this issue here: NICHD_Connection_2016_09.pdf

Dr. Parmit Singh Receives 2016 IARF Award

Congratulations to Dr. Parmit Kumar Singh for receiving a 2016 Intramural AIDS Research Fellowship (IARF). Dr. Singh, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Henry Levin, identified a surprising link between splicing and the amount of HIV-1 integration within genes. He showed that HIV-1 prefers integration into highly spliced genes, and this preference depends on the host chromatin factor LEDGF/p75, which contains a PWWP chromatin binding domain and an integrase-binding domain.

Now, Dr. Singh studies the mechanism of LEDGF/p75 dependent splicing to understand its role in HIV-1 integration. With the IARF grant, he aims to identify novel transcripts or alternatively spliced transcripts in the absence of LEDGF/p75 and to understand the role of the PWWP domain in the LEDGF/p75 dependent splicing. To learn more about Dr. Singh’s work, check out his latest paper, published in Genes & Development, titled “LEDGF/p75 interacts with mRNA splicing factors and targets HIV-1 integration to highly spliced genes.” Or read about it in The NICHD Connection February 2016 “Hot Off the Press” column.

The IARF is a one-year fellowship developed for graduate students and postdocs at the NIH who advance interdisciplinary studies on HIV and AIDS. (Editor: Remember that grant applicants and awardees are eligible for financial incentives through the NICHD Fellow Intramural Grant Supplements (FIGS). Contact Dr. Yvette Pittman for details.)

The 2017 Fellows Retreat Planning: An Opportunity Awaits!

You are invited to serve on the Steering Committee for planning the 13th Annual Meeting for postdoctoral, clinical, and visiting fellows and graduate students. Please send a note to Yvette Pittman (, NICHD Office of Education, or Shakib Omari (, chair of the 2017 Steering Committee, to express your interest.

The group works together to establish the meeting’s program, invite speakers, review abstracts, select fellow/student presenters, and moderate sessions, among other responsibilities. It's a great opportunity to sharpen your soft skills while working in a team to plan this annual spring event! We hope to start our monthly, one-hour meetings on Thursday, September 29th, at 3 pm.

SAVE THE DATE: Teaching-Based Professorship Workshop, October 11

If you are considering an academic career and want a jump-start on preparing your faculty application, the NICHD Office of Education is offering a workshop for you!

The Insider’s View on Teaching-Based Professorships
Tuesday, October 11, 10 a.m. to 12 noon

Led by Sydella Blatch, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Stevenson University

This workshop will provide an overview of what the teaching-based professorship is like on a daily basis and how it differs from being at a research-intensive institution. It will go beyond introducing you to the components required for an academic application and focus on ways to stand out to various search committees. Dr. Blatch will share some of her helpful tips on writing a teaching philosophy and interpreting job ads to identify what key elements to include in an application. She will also be available for individual consultations following the workshop to answer your specific questions on how to prepare a competitive packet.

Note there are 25 spots available, if you would like to attend, please send Yvette Pittman ( an email.

SAVE THE DATE: Mock Study Section Observation Workshop, October 14

Planning to apply for a NIH grant and want to learn what happens to your application after you hit “SUBMIT”?

In partnership with NICHD Division of Extramural Research, the Office of Education is offering a workshop for intramural fellows on Friday, October 14, from 9 am to 12 noon, with:

NICHD Program Officer, Dr. Susan Taymans
NICHD Scientific Review Officer, Dr. David Weinberg

This workshop will cover how a study section works, the roles of program officers and scientific review officers and how they can help you, and the process after your grant is reviewed. To gain an understanding of the distinctions among grant applications, the kinds of scientific comparisons that are made, and how scoring is modified based on the discussion, it will also include a mock study section with several extramural and fellow reviewers, scoring two K99/R00 NIH applications.

Note there are 40 spots available, if you would like to attend, please send Yvette Pittman ( an email.

Check Out the NICHD Scientific Retreat!

The NICHD Scientific Retreat is Thursday, September 8, and is open to all Fellows and other trainees, scientific and clinical science staff in the NICHD, as well as the PIs. There has been wide enthusiastic support for this Retreat as evidenced by the high turnout of NICHD DIR PI groups (~80%) that are represented by talks and/or posters.

We call on the DIR PIs to actively encourage their Lab members, especialy Postdoc and PostBac Fellows at all stages of career development, to participate. The retreat will be for one day only, in Lipsett Auditorium in Building 10, with posters in the adjacent FAES terrace. This will be an excellent opportunity, an investment, to hear some overview of the active modern biomedical research in the NICHD DIR.

The program will include three Oral Sessions comprised of eleven presentations by PIs and Staff Scientists: 


In addition there will be two very short talks by the NICHD TmT (Three-Minute Talks) Finalists, as well as the Scientific Image Awards and a five minute talk on the “Investment of Research Ethics.”

66 posters will be divided into two Poster Sessions; odd number posters from 11 AM–12:45 PM, and even numbers from 5:30–7 PM.

There will be plenty of coffee and pastries begining at 8:30 a.m. Welcoming Remarks will begin at 8:50 a.m. followed by the first talk at 9:00. 

— Dr. Richard Maraia, on behalf of the 2016 NICHD Sci Retreat Organizing Committee