Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) is committed to providing outstanding training and research experience in reproductive biology and development, and is proud to support the advancement of graduate students and fellows in the Health Sciences Schools of the University of Pittsburgh via the MWRI Fellowship Program.
Training for Postdoctoral Fellows
MWRI prepares postdoctoral fellows for independent and productive careers as research scientists by providing them with the environment necessary for an intensive experience in medical research education. Post-doctoral trainees participate in highly focused research projects that impact a number of problems related to reproductive biology, reproductive development, and the health of women and infants. Postdoctoral education is an important element to scholarly activity at MWRI and the University of Pittsburgh. MWRI has successfully trained more than 53 postdoctoral fellows to date.
The training goals of the MWRI Postdoctoral Fellowship include:
- Performing meaningful basic, translational, or clinical research that leads to enhancement of scientific knowledge
- Developing effective oral and written communication skills
- Acquiring the skills needed for independent research
- Learning skills needed for successful grant writing
- Developing effective teaching skills
- Understanding laboratory management and organization
- Incorporating responsible conduct (including ethics, safety, and regulatory compliance) into all research activities
Training for Graduate Students
In the intermingled environments of the University of Pittsburgh and the UPMC health system, MWRI graduate students have a unique opportunity to participate in the process of pursuing fundamental reproductive science research and translating bench discoveries to the bedside in order to improve patient care.
In addition to focused laboratory research, outstanding coursework, and enriching classroom education, MWRI graduate students will participate in small group journal clubs as well as the weekly Work in Progress (WIP) seminar series. In these venues, students will learn to understand, present, and critique research from various biomedical disciplines. Graduate students will conduct research, analyze data, and assemble results for presentation in manuscripts and at international meetings. They will also have the opportunity to meet internationally renowned researchers who have influenced the fields of reproductive medicine and women’s and infants’ health.
The MWRI fellowship is available to new recruitments or to existing postdoctoral fellows and graduate students at MWRI. Postdoctoral fellows are employees of the University and are appointed to non-faculty positions through the University of Pittsburgh; graduate students’ stipends are also issued via the University of Pittsburgh. Salary/stipend levels and fringe benefits are determined in accordance with University policy. All fellows are required to adhere to the University of Pittsburgh’s guidelines for post-doctoral associates and students, and for the responsible conduct of research.
Postdoctoral candidates must have an MD, PhD, or equivalent doctorate (eg, ScD, PharmD or DVM) in a field that is relevant to reproductive biology and women’s health, and cannot be more than four years into a post-doctoral position at the time of application. They must be committed to a research career in reproductive sciences. Strong candidates are intelligent, creative, focused, independent, show a keen interest in developing current and new skills through the fellowship training, are able to effectively correspond and work with other team members, and have excellent written and oral communications skills in English. Preference will be given to applicants who are committed to an academic career. Individuals participating in the Program may come from the United States or international institutions.
Graduate candidates must be currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh and complete their thesis project under the guidance of a primary member of MWRI who is an approved member of the graduate faculty.
Appointments are granted for one year and funds are provided to cover the fellow’s salary and standard fringe benefits. Funds are also provided for postdoctoral fellows to enroll in one advanced University of Pittsburgh course relevant to their project. At the end of the first year, a written progress report and presentation to the Fellowship Committee are required, at which time the Committee may choose to approve extension of support for a second year. The maximum term for which a trainee may be supported by the program is two years. The appointment involves full-time research, and cannot be a part of a clinical training program.
The fellowship provides the scholar with opportunities to continue development of his or her research skills, learn new research techniques, and work under the supervision of an experienced research faculty member. While developing their own professional skills, fellows provide significant contributions to the research enterprise, including research direction to undergraduate and/or graduate students. Additionally, they may be called upon to serve in various committees within the MWRI and University communities.
MWRI Postdoctoral fellows are expected to:
Work with her/his mentor to conduct an independent project within the mentor’s laboratory, including:
- Designing experiments and obtaining review committee approval (e.g., IRB, IACUC) for the conduct of those experiments
- Performing experiments and analyzing data
- Preparing data for publication, and presenting results in national or international meetings
- Writing grant proposals or assisting in grant writing
Participate in seminars and workshops, including
- All WIP conferences, including one presentation of data per year
- Annual MWRI – OBGYN Research Day
- Annual University of Pittsburgh Symposiums for post-doctoral fellows and graduate students
- MWRI scholars’ group meetings with WRHR, BIRCWH, and other trainees (K Club)
Complete relevant courses and classes, examples of which include:
- Statistical analysis and study design
- Survival skills, safety, and ethics classes
- Scientific writing
- Specialty course work
Maintain compliance in the responsible conduct of research by completing:
- University of Pittsburgh required online modules in Research Integrity, Chemical Hygiene Training, Bloodborne Pathogen Training, Human Subject Protection, Conflict of Interest, and Responsible Literature Searching (see: http://rcco.pitt.edu/training-researchers ) relevant to the research project (University of Pittsburgh online modules on the Use of Laboratory Animals, Human Embryonic and Fetal Stem Cell Research, University of Pittsburgh Office of Radiation Safety Isotope Research Training workshop, etc)
- Submission of required paperwork to the appropriate University review committees (IRB, IACUC, CTRC, cDNA, etc.)
The Fellowship Committee will ensure progress toward the program’s goals and verify that the environment for accomplishing these goals is adequate through the conduct of an informal six-month review meeting. Margie Seskey will provide an activity survey and a list of information that must be submitted for distribution to the Committee prior to the review meeting, which is attended by the fellow and mentor. If a second year of funding is requested, the committee will make a decision following the review at the end of the first year. Upon completion of the Fellowship, scholars must provide Margie Seskey with contact information, for purposes of annual follow-up for program tracking and evaluation. Once their training is completed, many fellows pursue their professional careers outside the US, while others stay in the US to continue their careers in academic, government, industry, or corporate settings.
Scholars and Alumni
- Andre L. Caldeira-Brant
- Bianca Shieu
- Shannon A. Bainbridge, PhD
- Ofer Beharier, PhD
- Deborah Benyo, PhD
- Margaret Beucher, PhD
- Charles Allen Black, Jr., PhD
- Lisa Bodnar, PhD, MPH, RD
- Raluca Budiu, PhD
- Utpala Das, MD
- Sandra Davidge, PhD
- Ketaki Desai PhD
- Rogier B. Donker, MD, PhD
- Geraldo Duarte, MD
- Charles Easley, PhD
- Xin Feng, MD
- Robin Gandley, PhD
- Kathrin Gassei, PhD
- Xiaoyan Gong, MD
- Anthony S. Ham, PhD
- Jing He, MD, PhD
- Brian P. Hermann, PhD
- Ulrike Friebe Hoffmann, MD
- Jie Hu, MD, PhD
- Carl Hubel, PhD
- Tracy Keith, PhD
- Hannele Laivuori MD, PhD
- Mingguang Li, PhD
- Katrina Knight, PhD
- Rui Liang, MD
- Antonio Arroyo Luque, PhD
- Rama Mallipeddi, PhD
- Payal Matel, PhD
- Gina Mantia-Smaldone, MD
- John McCarthy, MD, PhD
- Jacqueline Novak, PhD
- Stuart Olmste, PhD
- Srinivas R. Pallerla, PhD
- Santiago Panesso, MD
- Robert W. Powers, PhD
- Pawan Puri, PhD
- Mainpal Rana, PhD
- Rolando Ramirez (JJ), PhD
- Yu Ren, PhD
- Craig Richard, PhD
- Saqib Sachani, PhD
- Alexandra Britto, Sassi PharmD
- Deeksha Saxena, PhD
- Eiji Shibata, MD, PhD
- Varsha Shridhar, PhD
- Rosaria Rita Siervo-Sassi, PhD
- Frauke von Versen Hoeynck, MD
- Carole Wegner PhD
- Cathy B. Wilcox, PhD
- Michelle Wood, PhD
- Jian Xu, PhD
- Young-Mi Yu, PhD
- Xinglu Zhang, PhD
- Wenjun Zong, MD
How To Apply
A faculty member must initiate the application process; therefore, applicants must identify and contact a faculty member who will serve as a mentor for their research education experience. Applicants should review our faculty directory and find a suitable contact in your area of research interest.
Once a faculty member has been identified, before the application process is initiated, the potential faculty mentor should discuss the application with the Director of the MWRI Fellowship Program, Dr. Yoel Sadovsky. This step is essential for planning purposes and to ensure that a position may be available in the desired timeframe. Applications submitted without this approval will not be processed.
Required application materials:
- An applicant’s cover letter that includes a statement of your research interest, short-term and long-term goals, and the intended start date
- Curriculum vitae.
- A short, NIH-formatted style application of up to two pages (Arial 11 pt font, 1/2 inch margins) that includes the following sections: abstract (200 word limit), significance, innovation and approach. All must be included within the two-page limit. In addition, up to 15 references may be cited on a separate page.
- An applicant’s one-page summary of a career development plan for the fellowship. This is central to the application, and should include classes, specialized coursework, training, or other activities within MWRI or elsewhere. These should be detailed across the fellowship’s two-year timeline. The text should delineate how the classes or courses will bolster the training experience and prepare the applicant for a successful career in basic, translational, or clinical research.
- A letter from the planned mentor, which includes a brief summary of the proposed research project and its fit within the mentor’s ongoing research program, a mentorship plan, and a proposed funding plan in case the fellowship is not granted. Information should be provided on the training environment within the mentor’s research unit, and how it will promote the applicant’s training experience (maximum 2 pages).
- Two letters of recommendation (in addition to the MWRI mentor letter), addressed to the MWRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Review Committee, should be emailed directly from the referee to Margie Seskey (email@example.com).
All application materials should be submitted electronically (as word or PDF documents) to Margie Seskey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected candidates may be interviewed by the MWRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee. The standard deadline for receiving Fellowship applications is December 31 and June 30 each year, although interim opportunities for submission may be announced as scholars matriculate from the program. Recipients will be notified within 3-4 month after the application deadline, with the general intent of starting the training on January 1 or July 1. The number of training slots will depend on availability and funds.
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