At the end of September, I helped my son with a school project. His teacher asked him to make a timeline of ten significant moments in his life. Looking over his shoulder, I expected to see a list of the national parks we visited, or our major moves cross-country with the military. But that’s not what he chose to include. Instead, he described a long Pokémon game with his friend, the soccer game his team won, and a family Thanksgiving dinner at our house. I tried to explain, gently, that the teacher wanted big, significant moments, like fun vacations or starting at a new school. He looked up, and with the sincerity only a child can have, he said: “But mom, these are the significant moments.”
Maybe sometimes we should all think like a child, where the significant moments aren’t the big events we count down to, but the daily interactions during the days we’re counting. The NICHD Office of Education strives to foster frequent, meaningful moments in the intramural fellows’ community.
For our NICHD postbacs, please meet your new postbac rep, Katie Wendover. As a second-year trainee, she is excited to share the knowledge she gained during her first year at the NICHD and welcomes any comments or questions from the postbac community.
For our postdocs, the NICHD Office of Communications is using social media to highlight the work of NICHD women. Check out the article to see some of their first posts. We also have the October Rep Report by Dr. Suna Gulay, where you can stay up-to-date with NIH Fellows Committee activities—a great way to connect with the NIH-wide postdoc community.
To round out this community-focused issue, we have three fun additions to our Life Outside Lab column: the September Fellows Social Networking get-together, the NICHD DIR & DIPHR Scientific Retreat, and a Storz lab ax-throwing outing! To find more upcoming events, check out the October announcements from the NICHD, OITE, and—new this month—the NIH Library.
If we haven’t met yet, I look forward to connecting with you at the next event!
Your Editor in Chief,
Shana R. Spindler, PhD
Please send questions, comments, and ideas to our editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NICHD Connection would like to introduce NICHD’s new post-baccalaureate (postbac) Institutes and Centers (IC) representative, Katie Wendover. Postbac IC reps serve on the NIH-wide Pre-IRTA Committee on behalf of the institute’s postbac fellow population. They also work closely with the NICHD Office of Education to plan events of interest to the postbacs, whether academic or social. NICHD currently has over 70 postbacs who are conducting both clinical and basic science research.
Hello all! My name is Katie Wendover, and I am a second-year postbac serving as the NICHD postbac representative. I am from Littleton, Colorado, and love exploring all things nature related. I earned my BA in biochemistry and molecular biology with a minor in French at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. In addition to outdoor activities, I love to travel, and I sing in the acapella group Nerds In Harmony with other fellows from the NIH.
As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to conduct research at the California Institute of Technology through the Amgen Scholars Program, which sparked my love of research. In the laboratory of Dr. Paul Sternberg, I examined the biological consequences of gene variants implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorder using the model organism C. elegans. During the summer conference for the Amgen program, I met Dr. Sharon Milgram, who introduced me to the IRTA program at the National Institutes of Health. At the NIH, I work in the laboratory of Dr. Henry Levin studying the activity of retrotransposons in fission yeast. This mechanism is an important model for the propagation of retroviruses such as HIV.
I am excited to work with the NICHD Office of Education and OITE in the upcoming year to help other postbac fellows make the most of their time here. As a second-year postbac fellow, I know how useful the resources and staff in both offices can be in aiding fellows during their time at the NIH. As the postbac representative, I aim to connect fellows in NICHD with opportunities where they can thrive and prepare for the next phase of their careers. Furthermore, I am here to provide encouragement and tips for fellows, as I know that our postbac experiences can be stressful at times, but ultimately rewarding. I look forward to meeting all of you and hope you take the time to reach out!
You can contact Katie at email@example.com.
By Suna Gulay, PhD
The FelCom Career Development Subcommittee will host a panel on Careers in Industry R&D on Friday, October 18, 3-5 p.m., in Building 50, Room 1227. This is a very popular career development event that is held every year with different guests, so there is always new information to learn! To register, please navigate to OITE’s Upcoming Events page.
The Visiting Fellows Committee is organizing a brown bag seminar on FAES Health Insurance on Thursday, October 17, 2:30-4 p.m. in Building 10, Room 1N241A. Please make sure to attend if you are new to the area, or if you want to understand any recent changes to the insurance.
The Visiting Fellows Committee is going to host their annual Halloween party on November 1 at the FAES House in Bethesda. To get more details and access to tickets for this fun, inclusive event, please follow the FELLOW-L or VISITINGFELLOWS-L listservs.
To receive the monthly minutes of FelCom meetings, please subscribe to the FELLOW-L listserv, and to learn more about how FelCom is helping the NIH postdoctoral community, join a meeting! We meet every first Thursday of the month at 4 p.m. in Building 1, Wilson Hall. The next meeting will take place on November 7, 2019, with a WebEx option available.
Storz Lab Outing
Nothin’ like throwing some axes around to pass time with colleagues!
Fellows Social Networking Event
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Bethesda, MD | September 26, 2019
NICHD Intramural Retreat
September 16, 2019
For more information and registration, please visit Upcoming OITE Events.
- OITE Orientation for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows (October 1)
- Industry Careers Overview and Job Packages (October 2)
- Wellness Wednesday – Spiritual Wellbeing: Meaning, Purpose and Connection (October 2)
- Network of African American Fellows (NAAF) Chapter Monthly Meeting: Lunch with Dr. Faustine Williams (October 9)
- Ethics in Research Training for Postbacs and Grad Students (October 10)
- Postbac Seminar Series (October 15)
- Workplace Dynamics III: Conflict & Feedback (October 15)
- Preparing for Tests: How to Calm Our Minds and Bodies (October 17)
- Preparing for the MCAT: Test-Taking Strategies and Test Day Preparation (October 28)
- Career Planning for Scientists (October 29)
NIH Library Training Classes Now Available for Registration
In-person classes are held in the NIH Library Training Rooms, Clinical Center, Building 10, and webinars are held online. For more information:
Congratulations to Our 2019 NICHD Mentors of the Year
The intramural scientific program of NICHD established two mentoring awards in 2008, to recognize individuals who have served as exceptional mentors to trainees in the institute.
At the NICHD Intramural Scientific Retreat on September 16, 2019, two mentorship awards were given (one investigator and one fellow). Please join us in congratulating the following 2019 Mentors of the Year:
NICHD Fellow Mentor of the Year: Dr. María Queralt-Martín, nominated by postbac William Rosencrans.
NICHD Investigator Mentor of the Year: Dr. Alan Hinnebusch, nominated by postdoc Suna Gulay, PhD.
NICHD Annual Postbac Course: Professional Development and Career Exploration
Postbaccalaureate fellows are important to our NIH scientific workforce, and NICHD currently has about 70 postbacs conducting both clinical and basic science research in one of our intramural laboratories. When postbacs leave the NIH for professional school or other endeavors, we want our postbacs to have had an enriched research experience while feeling excited about their chosen career paths.
The course runs over lunchtime on Mondays, from 12 to 1 p.m., in Building 31, Conference Room 2A48 (A-wing, 2nd floor).
This unique, 8-week course is available for all NICHD postbacs, and the intent is to create a comfortable environment within a small group of peers to help postbacs improve analytical skills as scientists while expanding their knowledge of biomedical research and its relevance to human health.
This course focuses on postbac professional development: learning how to present science, exploring different career trajectories, ethical research practices in the lab, and interviewing for both medical and graduate school. Postdocs and clinical fellows within the institute will lead discussions designed to engage postbacs in the scientific rationale of a project, methodologies, and its significance to the field. A well-known public speaking coach, who has worked with our fellows for several years, will lead two modules on improving science communication skills and preparing for professional school interviews.
Schedule of Upcoming Topics
Interviewing for Professional School, Scott Morgan
Speaking About Science, Scott Morgan
Meet the Scientist: Clinical Research, Dr. Fady Hannah-Shmouni
Topics will also include Life as a Primary Care Physician, and additional Meet the Scientist sessions with speakers working in industry and basic science research. Stay-tuned for the final schedule, which will be announced by email soon.
If you are interested in joining the class, please email Dr. Erin Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will be limited to 25 students to allow maximum participation and interaction with the instructors. All participants must attend at least seven of the nine classes.
NICHD Fellows Advisory Committee: Seeking New Members!
The Office of Education formed an advisory committee in 2016, and we are seeking several more dedicated members to help us develop and initiate academic support programs for the institute. Both domestic and visiting fellows are needed. We want to achieve a broad representation, culturally and academically, so we can address the needs of all our trainees at NICHD. The committee meets monthly to exchange ideas and informally discuss ways we can enhance and tailor the training experience within the NICHD intramural program.
Some potential topics for our committee are how to:
- Increase the participation for training activities
- Expose fellows to various careers in science
- Identify teaching opportunities and internal and external research funding mechanisms
- Establish a structure for sharing scientific and career resources within the institute
The advisory committee will also steer the 16th Annual NICHD Fellows’ Retreat, to be held in Spring 2020.
This includes developing the agenda/program, inviting speakers, reviewing abstracts, selecting fellow/student presenters, and moderating some of the sessions—it’s a great service opportunity, plus you’ll get to be part of the team that plans our biggest annual event for fellows!
Don’t miss this opportunity to serve your intramural NICHD community.
The committee meets once a month on Thursdays, from 3 to 4 p.m. Our Fall dates are listed below:
- November 7
- December 5
Please contact Dr. Erin Walsh at email@example.com if you are interested in joining the group.
Responsible Conduct of Research Training for New NICHD Postdocs
“Discussion of Ethical Research Practices: Making Good Choices”
Wednesday, November 6, 1 – 3 p.m.
This mandatory training is for all postdocs who started after January 1, 2018.
An interactive session that promotes both self-directed and team-based learning required for all new postdoctoral fellows, through the Office of Education. Led by the Office of Education, this session will include case studies and reading assignments related to research integrity and discussions on ways to reduce risk factors.
The session will begin with a brief discussion on pre-assigned reading materials, followed by small-group, team-based learning exercises involving complex cases that promote discussions of either fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, mentoring expectations, and/or trainee responsibilities. The workshop will include good practices of data management and presentation, including lab notebook management—both physical and electronic. For additional details and to register, contact Dr. Erin Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Statistical Support Services from NIH Library
The NIH Library is pleased to introduce statistical support services for NIH staff and selected HHS agencies. These new services, managed by the Library’s Data Services team, feature statistical consulting and training. They complement a suite of statistical software tools, which the Library provides onsite.
- One-on-one consultations
- Assistance with statistical aspects of research design (experimental, prospective, or retrospective)
- Data analysis, reporting, and graphics
- Interpretation of results
- Editing support on the statistical methods section of journal submissions
- Published material review on validity of study design, statistical methods and/or interpretation of results
Submit a request for a statistics consultation on the Library's website.
Training and Tools
The NIH Library offers free classes on statistics and data services. The statistics training classes focus on statistical principles and the use of software for the analysis, design and interpretation of research investigations. See the Library’s full training calendar for more information on all classes and to register.
For more information, contact Paul Juneau, Biostatistician.
Applications Now Being Accepted for the 2020 NCI Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program (TTAP)
This hybrid training/mentoring immersion program offers postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to augment their current research activities with 5-8 hours/week hands-on training in biomedical invention development, commercialization, and entrepreneurship.
The TTAP was developed at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Technology Transfer Center, which services the technology transfer needs for NCI as well as 9 other institutes.
An informational session will be held on Wednesday, October 16, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in Building 37, room 2041/2107.
More information about the program is contained in the attachment and can also be found at https://techtransfer.cancer.gov/aboutttc/ambassadors. Questions can be directed to TT_Ambassadors@mail.nih.gov.
If you are interested in joining the TTAP, download the application from the website and return with the requested materials to TT_Ambassadors@mail.nih.gov by Monday, December 9, 2019.
Thursday, October 10, 1 – 3 PM
The NICHD Exchange Meeting Series
“What to Expect When You’re Expecting…and Medicating:
Medication and Drug Use During Pregnancy”
6710B Rockledge Drive, Rooms 1425/1427
We have come a long way from the pregnancy pharmacology of medieval times when pregnant women were advised to consume red wine with dried rabbit organs to produce a male child, but many questions remain. From the devastating effects of Thalidomide to the exclusion of pregnant women in research, the particular promise and challenges of medication and/or drug use during pregnancy still captures the attention of the public and biomedical research community.
Join your colleagues for a discussion on how intramural and extramural NICHD researchers are investigating the effects of drug/medication use during pregnancy on mother and child, and some of the history and political context of this work.
The NICHD Exchange is a series of meetings that help the institute gather around scientific topics of common interest and foster discussions that cut across intramural and extramural boundaries. All NICHD staff (administrative, DIPHR, intramural, and extramural) are invited to attend.
Monday, October 21, Noon – 1 PM
Annual Postbac Course: “Interviewing for Professional School” with Scott Morgan
Building 31, Conference Room 2A48
If you are interested in joining the class, please email Dr. Erin Walsh at email@example.com.
Monday, October 28, Noon – 1 PM
Annual Postbac Course: “Speaking About Science” with Scott Morgan
Building 31, Conference Room 2A48
If you are interested in joining the class, please email Dr. Erin Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, October 31, 1 – 2 PM
Town Hall Meeting for all NICHD Postdoctoral Fellows & Graduate Students
Campus Location: TBD
The NICHD Office of Education and Fellows Advisory Committee wants to hear from you! Please join us for this informal session to tell us about your training experiences and any ideas you may have for improving the career and professional development programming offered by our office—and enjoy some Halloween candy!