Program explores research, grant-writing strategies

March 20, 2013

Vikas Gulati, M.D., had little experience in grant writing when he entered the Clinical Translational Research-Mentored Scholars Program (CTR-MSP) last year.

Today, the assistant professor of ophthalmology is the recipient of a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health that will pay for 75 percent of his salary, as well as research materials as he explores aqueous humor dynamics in children with glaucoma.

"Graduates from this program have moved on to new leadership positions here and at other institutions."

Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center

"The program gave me the tools to write a competitive grant, and the didactic training fits right into my educational plan," Dr. Gulati said. "I strongly recommend the program to all faculty."

The program, which explores medical research and strategies for writing research grants, "has proven to be an outstanding resource for developing UNMC faculty into independent investigators as well as networking across the campus," said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center (CCTR). "Graduates from this program have moved on to new leadership positions here and at other institutions."

Fausto Loberiza, M.D., co-program director of the CTR-MSP and professor of internal medicine - oncology/hematology, said that the program attracts junior faculty who have M.D.s or Ph.D.s from the colleges of medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Participants may already have some expertise in clinical medicine but need mentored research training.

The program provides multidisciplinary education and practical training so that scholars planning a career in research will acquire the skills to design, implement, and report ethically sound, extramurally funded translational research.

Since the program began in 2007, 18 faculty scholars have entered the program, and eight have completed a master's degree in CTR through the Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area (MSIA) program. Three are pursuing doctorate studies.

While salary support is not provided currently, Dr. Loberiza said, scholars can apply for grants of $25,000 to support pilot studies to increase their ability to compete for extramural grants.

People seeking information on the program can attend an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. on March 27, in room 8711A of the Lied Transplant Center. Dr. Loberiza and Lani Zimmerman, Ph.D., professor from the College of Nursing-Lincoln division and co-program director of the CTR-MSP, will answer questions.

E-mail Dr. Loberiza to reserve a spot, to arrange to meet at an alternative time or with questions on the program. The deadline for applications to the program is 5 p.m. on April 26.

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