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Northwestern Molecular and Translational Cardiovascular Training Program

Our Mission

Development of a structured and innovative training program designed to train the future leaders of CV basic and translational research. Our program provides:

  1. A comprehensive didactic course in CV physiology and pathology, along with a translational component
  2. Close monitoring of the progress of our trainees by the leadership committees
  3. A comprehensive basic and translational research program that covers three different areas of CV research
  4. Training in statistics and responsible conduct of research
  5. Access to human samples, clinical reagents and advising by top leaders/advisers in CV translational research.

Recruitment of strong trainees with high likelihood of success. We have the following mechanisms to recruit strong trainees:

  1. Recruitment of predoctoral students from our highly selective graduate programs, including the Driskill Graduate Program (DGP) and Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
  2. Introduction of new mechanisms to recruit postdocs through Chicago-wide CV research seminars
  3. Recruitment activities by our faculty at national and international meetings.

Providing means for our trainees to learn about the translational aspects of CV research and interact with leaders in the field. Our program is designed to:

  1. Introduce a NU CV Research Day, developed for our trainees to present their research and interact with our faculty and invited speakers
  2. Build upon our already strong collaboration among our faculty and encourage our trainees to expand their research program to other areas of CV research
  3. Provide mechanisms for our trainees to be exposed to clinical leaders in the CV field through clinical advisers.

Hossein Ardehali, MD, PhD
Program Director
Professor of Medicine (Cardiology); Professor of Pharmacology; Associate Director and Chair of Admissions, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP); Director of Center for Molecular Cardiology.
Phone: 312-503-2342

Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD
Associate Director
Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine; Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Director, Center for Genentic Medicine
Phone: 312-503-6258

Craig Brodie
Administrator, Division of Nephrology & FCVRI

John Greenwood
Research Administrator, Division of Nephrology & FCVRI

 Program Eligibility and Application Process

The NMTCTP is housed within the Feinberg Cardiovascular research Institute at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is currently accepting applications for two 2017-2018 postdoctoral trainees.  Please submit an application through our online system.

Program Eligibility

Candidates must meet NRSA citizenship and support requirements:
  • Citizenship: Any individual to be trained must be a citizen or noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. 
  • NRSA Support: No individual trainee may receive more than 5 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the predoctoral level and 3 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants and individual fellowships.

For more information on NRSA eligibility requirements, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement on Kirschstein NRSAs.

Application Process and Deadlines

Students and fellows with interest in basic or translational cardiovascular research and in the labs of NMTCTP mentors are eligible and encouraged to apply. Nominations must include the following items:
  • Completed NMTCTP Nomination Form
  • A one-page statement from the nominee describing career goals and commitment to the training program.
  • A one-page research project description including background and biomedical significance of the research, a list of project goals and specific plans to achieve these objectives. The biological and translational approaches to problem solving must be emphasized.
  • An NIH style biosketch, including honors, presentations, research experience, publications, etc.
  • Letter of support from proposed mentor (to be sent separately, see below). The letter must affirming their commitment to the training program and agreeing to allow their mentees to satisfy all training program requirements.  It should identify sources of support for research proposed by the trainee.

 Participating Mentors

Director: Hossein Ardehali, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology); Professor of Pharmacology; Associate Director and Chair of Admissions, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP); Director of Center for Molecular Cardiology.

Associate Director: Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, Director of Center for Genetic Medicine; Elizabeth J Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine; Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

Program Mentors:

 T32 Executive Committee

 Program Expectations and FAQ

What is a Payback Obligation and how do I know if I incur one?

Any NRSA postdoctoral trainees or fellow incurs a payback obligation during their first year of support.  Pre-doctoral NRSA trainees do not incur a payback obligation.  Payback means that you will perform qualified research or teaching activities for a length of time equal to the period of NRSA support you received.  Receiving 12 months of postdoctoral training support obligates you to perform 12 months of qualified research or teaching activities as payback.  Only the first year of training incurs a payback obligation; the second year of training pays back the first year, with each month of qualifying payback activity paying back one month of NRSA support.  If you receive two full years of NRSA training, you will have completed your payback obligation.  In general, payback activity must involve at least 20 hours per week and be conducted over 12 consecutive months. Special exceptions to these requirements may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Additional resources on Payback Obligations can be found on the NIH website, along with a separate payback FAQ and the Payback Activities Certification Form.

 Trainee Resources

All trainees are encouranged to join the Department of Medicine New Investigator Career Enhancement (NICE) group and vist the NIK T32 Kiosk.

The following resources are made available to trainees:

  • DOM New Investigator Career Enhancement (NICE) group
  • NIH T32 Kiosk

Contact Jennifer Felten with any questions you may have.

Trainees are also expected to attend the following internal seminars:

 Diversity and Inclusion

The Department of Medicine at Northwestern University seeks to attract inquisitive, motivated residents and fellows and is committed to providing them with every opportunity for success. The greatest challenges facing the medical field are complex, and addressing them will require a diverse body of physicians and researchers who can work collaboratively. Northwestern offers unparalleled training and research opportunities and encourages fellowship applications from those who seek to become future leaders in the subspecialties of medicine.  We are committed to and inspired by a diverse and inclusive work environment that allows each trainee to achieve their personal goals.

For more information on Northwestern’s commitment to diversity please see the following resources:

NU is committed to recruiting trainees of diverse backgrounds and has provided infrastructure and support towards advertising, recruiting, and training underrepresented minorities (URM).

Recruitment Plans for Pre-doctoral Students

The Graduate School’s Office of Student Life and Office of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) assists us with recruitment of underrepresented minorities. Activities include quarterly receptions to create networking opportunities for students, faculty and administrators across disciplines; an annual conference that allows our students to present their research; as well as networking and peer-mentoring through a number of graduate student organizations such as the Black Graduate Student Association, the Graduate Student Association for Latino and Spanish Activities, and the Graduate Leadership Council. The D&I office provides our training program faculty and trainees opportunities to become involved in recruiting and retention initiatives, such as the Introduction to Graduate Education at Northwestern (IGEN), an annual two day event begun in 2012 in which key representatives (Director of Undergraduate Studies or similar faculty member and an undergraduate student) from approximately 20 Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) are brought to Northwestern to meet with key NU graduate faculty and students, tour both campuses and research labs learn about the graduate admissions process and opportunities for graduate training at Northwestern. Increasing Diversity is one of the three areas of focus for The Graduate School’s strategic plan. Dean and Associate Provost of Graduate Education Dwight McBride is personally involved in diversity recruitment and retention initiatives, which include building focused, ongoing relationships with several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), e.g., Spelman College, Morehouse College, Howard University, University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Furthermore, NU faculty and students are involved in frequent recruiting efforts at colleges, universities and academic conferences across the country.

In addition, four institutional programs are also directly applicable to recruitment of NMTCTP students. For over 30 years, The Graduate School has sponsored the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). SROP was initiated in 1986 and is designed to encourage URM undergraduates to apply to graduate school and to assist them with a smooth transition into their desired program of study. SROP receives applications from institutions nationwide, and those applications are screened and matched with appropriate mentors. The program lasts about 8 weeks and includes faculty-supervised research, career counseling sessions, and other activities to prepare students for graduate school. Additionally, the students attend a research conference at a Big 10 University. Pre-senior students are evaluated at the fourth week by their research mentor for potential for graduate study. Those who appear to be good candidates are given extra counseling about graduate school and have meetings with Graduate Directors in their respective departments. Students whose research has continued at a high level are considered for the early admission. Recognizing that the quality of the SROP students has been outstanding, in summer 2008 Northwestern initiated The Graduate School Early Admission and Decision Process (EADP) to increase the number of SROP students who eventually matriculate into Northwestern graduate programs. SROP students who are rising seniors, and who are recommended by their advisors, are invited to submit graduate applications in early fall and are rendered a decision by mid-fall. In 2008, 4 SROP students were admitted using this early decision process. All 4 of these students matriculated into Northwestern graduate programs in fall 2009. In 2013, 9 EADP senior undergraduate students applied, 4 were admitted to Northwestern PhD programs in STEM fields. From 2013-2015, 33 nominees have approved to apply early, and of those 33 participants, almost half (48%) applied to a TGS PhD program. In Fall 2015, TGS saw the largest group of early applicants at 6. The majority of applicants who applied early did get admitted at a total rate of 75%. TGS yielded 58% of those applicants who were admitted during the early admission process. All 7 of those matriculants are still active in their PhD programs, and since initiating the EADP, several outstanding URM predocs have enrolled at Northwestern. The Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) Program is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and is designed to attract students into careers in biomedical research. It provides twelve undergraduate students from underserved populations with an 8-week summer research experience, in addition to enrichment activities similar to SROP. The Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences (CLIMB) Program was initiated in 2007 with funding from NIGMS and seeks to enrich graduate student diversity by attracting URM and disadvantaged undergraduate students who could benefit from additional training. The PI of the R25 grant from NIGMS to support CLIMB is Richard McGee, MD, a member of our Internal Advisory Committee. The CLIMB Program includes an enhanced graduate curriculum for 6 new URM graduate students in their first two years and in-depth training on oral communication skills and guidance on the type of learning required at the PhD level. The program ensures that students obtain the skills necessary for future success. CLIMB activities are open to all students irrespective of ethnicity. 

Recruitment Plans for Postdoctoral Fellows

Northwestern’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) is a central resource for postdoctoral training at Northwestern University. TGS secures two exhibitor booths at these conferences in order to showcase opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral training. Information and promotional materials on the NMTCTP program will be made available. We leverage the resources and advertising options available at DiverseScholar, a non-profit that publishes original written content, digital media reports, and hosts the online web portal TGS and the OPA continues the successful record of targeted visitations to schools serving large underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities. Several schools (e.g., Meharry Medical College, Howard University, University of Texas at San Antonio, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Northeastern Illinois University, University of Puerto Rico (UPR)-Mayaguez, and UPR-Río Piedras) are established recruiting targets; all produce substantial numbers of strong candidates for graduate education and postdoctoral training. Whenever possible, these visits will include NMTCTP Directors and faculty mentors.

Plans for Recruitment of Candidates with Disabilities

NU policies mandate that no qualified student with a disability should be denied the benefits of, excluded from participating in, or otherwise be subject to discrimination in any University program or activity. The AccessibleNU is the office that provides services and support for students with disabilities who attend NU. Current registered students include those with visible disabilities and also those with cognitive disabilities or chronic health impairments. Every student's needs are evaluated by the staff and they determine eligibility for accommodations and services. The staff also provides and facilitates reasonable accommodations and services as defined by Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act, which includes ‘modification or adjustment to a course, program, service or activity that enables a qualified student with a disability to obtain equal access. The AccessibleNU also provides training to university faculty and staff on disability-related topics and makes recommendation to improve access to university facilities and transportation services.

It is also worth pointing out that establishing whether a postdoctoral scholar qualifies as disabled can be difficult because it relies on self-reporting. Moreover, whereas faculty, scholars and students may readily report their race or ethnicity, some may feel it is stigmatizing to report themselves as disabled. Northwestern schools and offices are partnering with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (OEOA) to work together on improving the process of identifying these individuals and connecting them with resources that support their success and career progression. As an example, scholars with a disability may be more likely to request an accommodation than they are to self-identify as disabled. The NMTCTP partners with experienced staff in the OEOA on recruitment materials in order to improve the reporting and increase awareness of the accessible research environment at NU.