Training Grants

Selected pre and postdoctoral trainees within many of the departments, graduate programs and research centers in the division are supported by federal training grants which focus either on a specific research area or support of trainees underrepresented in the sciences. These training grant programs can offer additional professional development, skills training, research-specific experiences and networking opportunities to help advance trainees in their respective fields. Below is a list of such programs available to BioMed trainees by research focus:


Biomed Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD)

Advancing the Culture of Learning & Scholarship in Doctoral Programs in Biology and Public Health
Sponsor: Nat. Inst. for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), Nat. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contacts: Andrew G. Campbell, PhD; and Elizabeth O. Harrington, PhD
Supports: Underrepresented Predoctoral students in the division of Biology & Medicine

The IMSD program provides research training support for PhD students from underrepresented groups to significantly increase the participation of these groups within the fields of biomedical and behavioral research. This ongoing program enhances partnerships with Minority-Serving Institutions to encourage and increase opportunities for minority students in biology and public health graduate training fields and promote development across campus. Each student receives a unique advising plan and support structure, continuing throughout their graduate careers at Brown. Students participate in special training modules to build expertise that foster academic achievement and success in graduate school. These modules are open to other BioMed graduate students, as necessary, to not only enhance the training environment of the direct participants, but also to impact the entire BioMed Graduate community. This program looks to build leverage in order to achieve success with participants reaching their full potential at the end of their graduate career.


Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN)

Ph.D. Training in Pathobiology of Infectious Disease and Host Response
Sponsor: US Department of Education
Contact: Peter Shank, PhD and Andrew G. Campbell, PhD
Supports: Predoctoral students in Pathobiology

This innovative new program offers fellowships to assist graduate US students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need in order to pursue their doctoral degree in the Pathobiology Graduate Program. The program provides Ph.D. training that prepares students for research and/or teaching intensive careers in the field of disease-based studies. In addition to laboratory skills in the biological sciences, the program will prepare all fellows for careers in teaching and research by providing:

  • an effective advisory system at all stages of training
  • supervised and evaluated teaching experiences, and resources
  • training in science ethics
  • training in communication skills
  • access to faculty mentors with both basic and clinical knowledge of infectious disease and host responses
  • assistance in career counseling and placement after graduation.

Environmental Pathology

Powerpoint Overviewof training

Training in Environmental Pathology

Sponsor: Nat. Inst. of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Nat. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contact: Agnes Kane, MD, PhD 
Supports: Predoctoral students in Pathobiology & Postdocs in Pathology Department

This program provides training for postdoctoral trainees, medical students, and predoctoral students (as a sub-track in the Pathobiology Graduate Program). The goal is to provide a fundamental understanding of disease mechanisms related to environmental and occupational exposures including chemicals, mineral fibers and stress in order to prevent human disease. A variety of research projects are available in the laboratories of faculty mentors as well as an annual Symposium in Environmental Pathology held in the fall in conjunction with the Graduate Program Retreat. Trainees are encouraged to become student members of appropriate professional societies and present their work nationally in these forums.

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN)

Interdisciplinary Training in Applications and Implications of Nanotechnology
Sponsor: US Department of Education
Contacts: Robert Hurt, PhD and Agnes Kane, MD, PhD
Supports: Predoctoral students in Pathobiology or Engineering

This program supports 6-8 predoctoral students who will pursue interdisciplinary research and teaching in the applications and implications of nanotechnology. Fellows are supervised by co-mentors who are actively engaged in externally-funded research on the nano-bio interface, nanoscale imaging, nanoscale tissue engineering, and the environmental and human health impacts of nanotechnology.

Superfund Training Core – P42 Research Program Grant

Sponsor: Nat. Inst. of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Nat. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contact: Agnes Kane, MD, PhD 
Supports: Predoctoral students

Rehabilitation and reuse of Superfund sites in Rhode Island involves solving complex technical and practical problems and a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the associated health risks. This training core supports 4 predoctoral students mentored by faculty with basic and applied scientific expertise in engineering, biomedical research, and social sciences who will work together with the Rhode Island Departments of Health and Environmental Management. The faculty and state administrators will direct their efforts towards resolving environmental health, management, and communication issues surrounding local contaminated sites. This interdisciplinary partnership between an academic institution and local government agencies provides a unique educational opportunity for students at Brown. Its objectives include:

  • To develop didactic courses and laboratory training opportunities related to environmental contaminants, human health effects and rehabilitation of Brownfields and Superfund sites in Rhode Island.
  • To organize interdisciplinary research teams of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers involved in Superfund biomedical and engineering projects.
  • To provide opportunities for field work and community outreach in Rhode Island.


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Training in Treatment Research

Sponsor: Nat. Inst. of Mental Health (NIMH), Nat. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contact: Ivan W. Miller, PhD 
Supports: Postdocs in Psychiatry (post-residency psychiatrists, post-doctoral psychologists, and behavioral scientists)

This is a two-year fellowship program in which research fellows work under the guidance of experienced mentors. It includes didactic work, participation in ongoing funded projects, and independent research. Training covers five broad areas in adult treatment research for: 1) mood disorders; 2) anxiety disorders; 3) PTSD and personality disorders; and 4) addictive disorders and comorbidity. A formal didactic curriculum complements hands-on research and supervision, including opportunities for training in: treatment research methods/design and statistical analysis; individual and family therapy, and pharmacological treatment strategies; the ethical conduct of research, and grant writing.

Environmental Biology

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Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT)

Reverse Ecology: Computational Integration of Genomes, Organisms, and Environment
Sponsor: Nat. Science Foundation (NSF)
Contact: David Rand, PhD 
Supports: Predoctoral students in Ecology & Environmental Biology

This program supports pre-doctoral training in Reverse Ecology, the application of genomic approaches to living systems to uncover the genetic bases of functional variation in nature. By discovering the genetic markers that are associated with a particular habitat or a distinct phenotypic trait, one can find the targets of natural selection with little knowledge of how selection targeted that trait. The program will train PhDs at the emerging interface where these tools are applied to advance our understanding of how organisms function in their environments. The broader impacts of this graduate program will be to establish a new model of doctoral training in the sciences, where PhDs are exposed to university, institutional, and corporate environments and are trained to be leaders in the identification and integration of scientific questions across formerly distant disciplines.

Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE)

Land-Use, Ecosystem Services and the Fate of Marginal Lands in a Globalized World
Sponsor: Nat. Science Foundation (NSF)
Contact: Chris Neill, PhD 
Supports: Predoctoral students in Ecology & Environmental Biology

This exciting new cross-cutting program involving researchers at Brown University, Columbia University, the Marine Biology Lab at Woods Hole, Moi University (Kenya) and Sokoine University (Tanzania) will examine how agricultural interventions designed to increase crop yields in African Millennium Villages influence land-use patterns and the degradation or enhancement of soils, biodiversity and other ecosystem services and human wellbeing at both local and regional scales. The program seeks PhD students who will pursue research in Africa in the fields of remote sensing, ecology, sociology or economics and who desire training that cuts across traditional disciplinary boundaries and who want to apply their work to pressing problems of human welfare and the environment.

Neuro & Brain Science

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Training Program in Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience

Sponsor: Nat. Inst. for Mental Health (NIMH), Nat. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contact: Barry W. Connors, PhD
Supports: Postdocs in Neuroscience

This program supports early stage postdoctoral researchers pursuing careers in the brain sciences with special emphasis on the disorders of the nervous system that are relevant to the NIMH mission. The program's strengths stem from modern, multidisciplinary approaches for the study of neural processes underlying behavior, including attention, perception, and communication; synaptic plasticity, learning and memory; development and modulation; and motor actions. Trainees learn to critically evaluate the scientific literature, identify fruitful lines of inquiry, design incisive, interpretable experiments, and apply cutting-edge methods. State-of-the-art techniques are covered, including functional MRI, neuroprosthetics, manipulations of neuronal genes, various recording and imaging methods, and functional proteomics.

Interdisciplinary Vision Training Program

Sponsor: Natl. Eye Institute (NEI), Natl. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contact: Michael Paradiso, PhD 
Supports: Predoctoral students with a vision research focus

The Center for Vision Research in the Brown Institute for Brain Science (BIBS) offers support for graduate training that cuts across the computational and brain sciences and involves research, coursework, and the development of career skills. The program provides broad, multi-disciplinary training at all levels with a strong foundation in core concepts, methodologies, and advanced comprehension of the scientific literature, as well as integrating skills essential for successful, independent research careers in vision research. Courses range from the molecular biology and physiology of the visual system to visual perception and cognition to neural modeling and implementation of artificial visual systems. Trainees will participate in new initiatives to ensure exposure to clinical and disease concepts; these experiences will help students identify the scientific problems that are most relevant to improving human health.

Training Programs in the Neuroscience Graduate Program

Graduate study in Neuroscience is partly supported by two prestigious training grants, in addition to the Vision Training Program (listed above). The programs emphasize outstanding research experiences with faculty from 10 different departments, comprehensive curriculum covering genes, cells, systems, and cognitive neuroscience, and critical thinking and reasoning. Students explore mechanism underlying development, synaptic transmission and plasticity, neural networks, vision, movement, machine-brain interfaces, and several diseases of the nervous system using state of the art methods. Students are encouraged to work at the interfaces of these disciplines and are members of the Brown Institute for Brain Science. Students participate in a number of journal clubs, seminars, and special clinical seminars focused on disease. Additional training is provided in skills necessary to become a competitive researcher including effective science writing and presentation, knowledge of scientific review processes, and training in ethics. The Neuroscience Graduate Program encourages applications from all students including under-represented, disadvantaged, and disabled individuals.

Interdisciplinary Predoctoral Neuroscience Training Program

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (NIH). Primary: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); Participating: NIA, NIAAA, NICHD, NIDA, NIGMS, NINDS
Contact: Diane Lipscombe, PhD 
Supports: Predoctoral students in Neuroscience 

This program supports students in their first two years of training and promotes cross disciplinary research.

The NINDS Predoctoral Training Program

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (NIH). Primary: Natl. Inst. for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Contact: Jerome Sanes, PhD
Supports: Predoctoral students in Neuroscience

This program supports later year students whose research will promote our understanding of neurological diseases and stroke.

Molecular & Cell Biology

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Training in Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry

Sponsor: Nat. Inst. for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), Nat. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contact: Kimberly Mowry, PhD 
Supports: Predoctoral students in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry

This predoctoral training program has been providing support to selected students in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Graduate Program since 1979. The MCB program is interdisciplinary and interdepartmental, with a clear focus on in-depth study of biological problems at the molecular and cellular level. It aims to provide students with a strong academic and experimental foundation to equip them with the skills necessary to succeed in multiple areas of modern biology. Research opportunities range from basic science to studies of specific diseases and disease-causing agents, and span diverse yet interrelated fields that include biochemistry and macromolecular structure, molecular biology and genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, genomics, proteomics and computational biology.

Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

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Predoctoral Training Program in Trans-Disciplinary Pharmacological Sciences

Sponsor: Nat. Inst. for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), Nat. Inst. of Health (NIH)
Contact: Edward Hawrot, PhD
Supports: Predoctoral Students in Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

This innovative new training program provides support for predoctoral trainees in the Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology (MPP) Graduate Program, which offers advanced training appropriate for academic and research careers in the fields of biology and medical sciences that include molecular and structural pharmacology; neuropharmacology; cellular, comparative, and organ systems physiology; translational pharmacology and neurophysiology. Candidates accepted to the training program will engage in trans-disciplinary Core courses, a seminar series, interactive laboratory rotations, and highly individualized attention to the development of presentation and writing skills on the path to their Ph.D.