Students selected for NIH training program

In keeping with its mission to train future generations of stem cell scientists, HSCI’s Training Program supports graduate and postdoctoral students engaged in stem cell research in the laboratory of an HSCI principal faculty member. Now in its third year, the program is funded by a five-year, $2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Training Grant awarded to HSCI in 2008, and is directed by HSCI Co-Director David Scadden, MD.

Students in the HSCI Training program are selected through a competitive application process. Most appointments last for two years and provide partial tuition (for graduate students); a stipend; and training-related expenses, such as travel to a major conference. Trainees work in the lab of a principal investigator who is their primary mentor, but also have a team of mentors to guide and inform their research.

This year’s graduate student trainee is Allegra Lord, whose mentor is Benjamin Ebert, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The postdoctoral trainees are Jonathan Hoggatt (mentor: David Scadden, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital), Benjamin Freedman (mentor: Joseph Bonventre, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital), and Noelle Paffett-Lugassy (mentor Caroline Burns, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital).

To ensure a well-rounded early research experience, all trainees must develop a research plan with their mentors, give an annual oral presentation to a review committee, present a poster at the HSCI Annual Retreat, attend a stem cell conference, and participate in educational research activities. Graduate student trainees are required to complete required course work through the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, and postdoctoral trainees must supervise and mentor an intern, graduate student, or research technician.

The graduate and postdoctoral students who recently reported on their work this past year cited their inclusion in the HSCI community as an especially valuable aspect of this program.