Monday, May 24, 2010
Upcoming Keystone Symposia Scholarship Opportunities
Did you know Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology offers many scholarship opportunities for postdoctoral fellows? Did you also know that approximately one-third of all applicants receive awards each year?
Organized in 1972 as the UCLA Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, Keystone Symposia accelerates life science discovery by connecting scientists from all over the world within and across disciplines. Over 50 conferences are held per year; each range in length from 3 to 4 days and attract an average of 250 participants per meeting. In 2010-11, we have conferences throughout the Rocky Mountain West of the US and Canada as well as in Alpbach, Austria; Asheville, North Carolina; Killarney, Ireland; Hong Kong, China; Monterey, California; and Seattle, Washington. The meeting topics range from cancer to infectious disease to neurobiology.
Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology offers two scholarship opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral students to attend its conferences: general scholarships and underrepresented minority scholarships, which are for federally designated underrepresented visible ethnic minorities in the sciences (American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American (not of Hispanic origin), Hispanic or Latino, and Pacific Islander). An average of one-third of all applicants are awarded each year. About 75% of meeting related expenses are covered by the awards, which are up to $1,200 each, $200 more than in previous years. Since scholarship deadlines are four months prior to the start of a meeting, it is strongly recommended that candidates begin the application process as soon as possible. All that is required is submission of an abstract and mentor verification of student/postdoctoral status. The deadline for our October 2010 meeting in Seattle on 'Immunological Mechanisms of Vaccination' is June 28, 2010, and other deadlines begin September 14 for our meetings in January 2011.
There are several career-enhancing opportunities for attendees of our meetings, including the chance to engage and network with world-class scientists, obtain mentoring regarding career decision-making and career path progression, and learn how to network effectively. Our 2010-2011 meeting season schedule can be viewed at www.keystonesymposia.org/meetings, where you will also find important deadline dates and up-to-date information about individual meeting programs.
For more information on general scholarships, visit www.keystonesymposia.org/scholarships and for more information on Underrepresented Minority Scholarships, please visit www.keystonesymposia.org/minority. We also invite you to read about our diversity initiatives at www.keystonesymposia.org/diversity.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Synthetic Biology Breakthrough: Your Questions Answered
Yesterday, researchers led by J. Craig Venter reported that they had built a genome from scratch and used it to control a cell. We asked if you had any questions about the discovery—which raises important scientific and ethical issues—and you responded in force. Below is a selection of some of our favorites (edited for length and clarity), compiled from our Web site, e-mail, and Facebook. Science reporter Elizabeth Pennisi, who wrote a news story about the discovery, and Mark Bedau, a philosopher and scientist at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and editor of the scientific journal Artificial Life, offer their answers and opinions.
Q: Does the advance really represent the creation of new life?
M.B.: There are a couple of reasons why this achievement should not be called the creation of “new” life. First, the form of life that was created was not new. What was essentially done was the re-creation of an existing bacterial form of life, except that it was given a prosthetic genome (synthesized in the laboratory), and except that the genome was put into the cytoplasm of a slightly different species.
The methods used here could relatively easily be used to produce something that would be “new” in the sense of never having existed before. This would be done by introducing enough new genes (or removing enough existing genes). This is technically feasible today, and eventually taking advantage of this potential is the primary motivation for creating “synthetic cells” in the first place. However, it should be emphasized that it will probably be very difficult to make very new forms of life. This is because even the simplest form of life is very complex, so it is very difficult to predict what will happen when you substantially change their genomes.
Now, even if the synthetic genome was substantially different from any existing form of life, one might still object to calling this the creation of new life, because the synthetic cell was made by modifying an existing form of life. Almost all of the material in the synthetic cell comes from a previously existing form of life; only the genome is synthesized. In this respect, one might say that a synthetic cell qualifies as “new” life only if the whole cell is synthesized. A handful of research teams around the globe are working on trying to create fully synthetic cells (sometimes called “protocells") using materials obtained solely from a chemical supply company. Even a living protocell would still not qualify as creation from nothing, of course, since it would be created from pre-existing materials.
Q: Can this technology help us increase human life span? Can it help cure diseases like diabetes and cancer?
E.P.: Although this achievement was a milestone for synthetic genomics, it represents just a very small step toward harnessing synthetic biology to improve health and cure diseases. Next the team is going to try to make synthetic genomes that carry the instructions for bacteria to make a flu vaccine, but no one knows how difficult that step will be.
Q: Can the synthetic cell reproduce? If so, are its daughter cells viable?
E.P.: The cell with the transplanted genome reproduced, as did the resulting daughter cells. In fact, the colony went through a billion rounds of replication before the researchers froze the cells for archiving.
Q: What would happen if the bacterial cells are accidentally released into the environment? Are there precautionary measures?
M.B.: Researchers working in this field are well aware that there is a big ethical difference between creating synthetic cells that exist only in research laboratories and creating synthetic cells that are released in the environment. Environmental release has much more significant risks. For this reason, any environmental release would occur only under appropriately stringent conditions. Nevertheless, there is still the chance that an accident could happen and unintended environmental release might occur. In this case, there are a couple of points to appreciated.
First, it is not easy to keep synthetic cells alive even under ideal conditions in the laboratory. So, an accidental environmental release of synthetic cells might well lead to their quick extinction.
Second, there is active discussion and planning to build in multiple safeguards in synthetic cells. These include such things as: giving them a strictly limited lifespan, installing an on/off switch, making them depend on foods or conditions that are not present naturally in the environment, and/or taking steps to prevent them from evolving. In addition to safeguards, it is important to build in unique identifying marks, so that any damage could be traced back to the responsible parties. It is notable that Venter’s team already included such “watermarks.”
Q: Did this work only replace the DNA in the nucleus of the cell, or also the mitochondrial DNA? And how close are we from synthetically creating the cell, too?
E.P.: Bacterial cells lack nuclei and mitochondria. Researchers studying the origin of life have worked for years to build a self-replicating cell from the bottom up and have made some progress on this, but it’s not clear how one would build one that was sophisticated enough to read and carry out the instructions of a synthetic chromosome. It’s a chicken and egg problem that could take a long time to work out.
Q: Does the discovery challenge religious notions about the creation of life and the concept of a spirit?
M.B.: The creation of life from nonlife (fully synthetic cells) might well impact some religious and cultural world views, and the achievement of a partly synthetic cell already opens the door to these implications. The achievement of Venter’s team vividly demonstrates that the genome of simple life forms is nothing more than a complex molecule constructed out of nothing more than certain chemicals. (Most molecular biologists have already believed this for many generations, of course.) This result strongly implies that fully synthetic cells would likewise be merely very complex chemical devices, created out of nothing more than chemical ingredients that are organized in the appropriate way. There is no need for a concept of “spirit” or nonchemical “vital spark” to explain simple bacterial life. This, in turn, in my opinion, implies (but does not prove) that more complex forms of life, including humans, are essentially nothing more than exceedingly complex chemical devices, and so there is no need for a concept of “spirit” or “vital spark” to explain what make humans alive.
Q: What is the taxonomic classification of these synthetic cells? Which species do they belong to?
E.P.: Microbial taxonomists have not yet weighed in on how synthetic life should be fit into the tree of life. But because the synthetic chromosome was basically a copy of the bacterium, Mycoplasma mycoides, with a few changes, the resulting bacterium was just a new strain of M. mycoides. The team is taking a cue from software developers in naming these new strains: This one is called M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.
Q: At which point would/should the policymakers come in? Are there plans in progress to regulate such research and monitor the consequences?
M.B.: A number of teams of scientists, ethicists, religious leaders, policy analysts, et cetera from the U.S. and Europe have been scrutinizing the social, ethical, and policy implications of this and related research. This work has been going on for a number of years, and the results to date are typically freely available to the public. Policy makers at all levels, including the highest levels, are already in the loop, and plans for certain kinds of regulations are well under way (e.g., regulation of the synthesis of large pieces of DNA). Further kinds of regulation are actively being discussed.
Q: Is the DNA synthesis part now a "solved problem"? Could you reliably create a DNA strand that encoded, say, the complete works of Shakespeare, without regard for its genetic function?
M.B.: It would be relatively trivial now to encode the works of Shakespeare in DNA, but it would presumably have no biological function. The main significance of the achievement of Venter’s team is that the synthetic genome actually functions just like a normal genome.
Q: This breakthrough is "decades in the making," but how long would it take to reproduce the experiment today?
E.P.: It took years for these researchers to work out the bugs in making a synthetic genome that looked very much like a natural one and in booting it up in the cell of another species. That experiment now takes about a week, and it seems now that synthesizing the genome, while quite expensive, is not the rate-limiting step. But as the team starts to manipulate the genome and add different genes, it is delving into new territory where such manipulations might make the recipient cell reject the synthetic genome or the synthetic genome may lead to emergent properties incompatible with life. Then the team will have to go back to the drawing board to try to figure out why the experiment didn’t work.
May 21, 2010 5:36 PM
Friday, May 21, 2010
Breaking news! First synthetic life form just created!!!
Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit genomic research organization, published results today describing the successful construction of the first self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cell. The team synthesized the 1.08 million base pair chromosome of a modified Mycoplasma mycoides genome. The synthetic cell is called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 and is the proof of principle that genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the laboratory and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome.
This research will be published by Daniel Gibson et al in the May 20th edition of Science Express and will appear in an upcoming print issue of Science.
“For nearly 15 years Ham Smith, Clyde Hutchison and the rest of our team have been working toward this publication today--the successful completion of our work to construct a bacterial cell that is fully controlled by a synthetic genome,” said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., founder and president, JCVI and senior author on the paper. “We have been consumed by this research, but we have also been equally focused on addressing the societal implications of what we believe will be one of the most powerful technologies and industrial drivers for societal good. We look forward to continued review and dialogue about the important applications of this work to ensure that it is used for the benefit of all.”
According to Dr. Smith, “With this first synthetic bacterial cell and the new tools and technologies we developed to successfully complete this project, we now have the means to dissect the genetic instruction set of a bacterial cell to see and understand how it really works."
Monday, May 17, 2010
Support a 6-percent Increase in Postdoctoral and predoctoral Training Stipends
Dear NPA Members and Supporters,
The U.S. Congress is currently working on the appropriations bill that will provide the 2011 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). President Obama's FY 2011 NIH budget includes a 6% increase in the amount allocated to training stipends.
President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2011 budget on February 1, 2010, and it includes a 6% increase in the amount allocated to training stipends. The National Postdoctoral Association applauds President Obama for recognizing the important and essential contribution of new scientists to the U.S. research enterprise.
Here are excerpts from the budget summary for the National Institutes of Health:
NIH will support 17,164 Full-Time Training Positions (FTTPs), which is 92 FTTPs below the FY 2010 level. The FY 2011 provides training stipend increases of 6.0 percent or $41.7 million over the FY 2010 level for a total dollar level of $824.4 million. ...
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards:
A total of $824.4 million, which is a 6.0 percent increase over the FY 2010, will be directed to training stipends. This increase sends a clear message to both existing and "would be" scientists that their efforts are valued.
In 2001, the NIH pledged to raise the base stipend for the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) to $45,000.Currently, the base stipend for postdoctoral scholars is $37,740. Due to a lack of funding, the NIH has been delayed in keeping its pledge.The stipends were not increased in 2007 and 2008 and only increased by 1% each year in 2009 and 2010. Because the NRSA stipend sets the national standard for postdoctoral compensation, it is extremely important that Congress appropriate funding for the 6% increase in the President's FY 2011 Budget.
As soon as possible, please send a message in support of the 6% increase to to the Senators and Representatives on the Senate and House Appropriation Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Other Related Agencies. We have provided a message for you, and you may copy and paste this letter into a form on each of their Web sites.
Contact the Senate subcommittee members by clicking here.
Contact the House subcommittee members by clicking here.
Source: National Postdoctoral Association
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Regulatory position, FDA, Raleigh NC
This position will coordinate North Carolina's efforts as a part of the future National Integrated Food Safety System and is grant-funded by the FDA through July 2011. The position will focus primarily on program management and development, but may also include involvement in regulatory investigations and science outreach to the public. The job would be based in Raleigh and would be perfect for someone interested in an FDA career or who needs a job while they wait for someone else to graduate. I'll be the supervisor of whoever takes the position, so I'm more than happy to answer any questions.
Food Defense Coordinator
Food and Drug Protection Division
NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Raleigh, NC 27699-1070
(919) 733-7366 x 248
Cell (919) 710-6377
Molecular Scientist positions in Hallmark Science & Technology
Scientist / Sr. Scientist who will serve an integral role developing molecular protocols for a DNA sequencing-based genetic diagnostic platform. This position will work closely with the Director of Technology to develop and automate novel sample-preparation protocols for next-generation DNA sequencing.
Duties: Transition molecular protocols from working prototypes into robust automated assays. Analyze results of next-generation sequencing-based experiments, in collaboration with the computational team when necessary. Design custom workflows on a high-throughput liquid handling robotics platform. Generate and maintain standard operating procedures for protocols developed. Prepare reports for publication and internal use, documenting techniques and methods used. Work collaboratively as part of a small, interdisciplinary team of biologists, doctors, geneticists, computer scientists, and mathematicians / statisticians. Develop new strategies for analyzing and presenting genetic sequencing data. Work efficiently in a fast-paced startup environment.
Qualifications: PhD in genetics, molecular biology, or related discipline. Proven track record developing/automating novel protocols utilizing polymerase, ligase, nuclease, and restriction enzymes. Deep mechanistic understanding of standard molecular techniques including real-time PCR, molecular cloning, DNA shearing, adapter ligation/purification. Extensive experience developing high-throughput workflows for laboratory automation. Extensive understanding of genomic technologies, including next-generation sequencing technologies and library preparation methods. Ability to independently analyze large datasets from a next-generation DNA sequencer a strong plus. Ability to perform data analysis using standard programming languages, e.g. python, perl, Matlab, in a UNIX environment a strong plus. Industry experience (e.g., product development and commercialization) a plus, especially in the clinical diagnostics space.
Scientist - Optimization
Developing molecular protocols for a DNA sequencing-based genetic diagnostic platform. This position will work closely with the Director of Technology to develop and automate novel sample-preparation protocols for next-generation DNA sequencing.
Responsibilities: Design and perform experiments to develop and optimize protocols for multiplex target capture, next-generation sequencing library preparation, and novel next-generation DNA sequencing applications. Analyze results of next-generation sequencing-based experiments, in collaboration with the computational team when new algorithms are required Design and use custom workflows on a high-throughput liquid handling robotics platform. Generate and maintain standard operating procedures for protocols developed. Prepare reports for publication and internal use, documenting techniques and methods used. Work collaboratively as part of a small, interdisciplinary team of biologists, doctors, geneticists, computer scientists, and mathematicians / statisticians. Develop new strategies for analyzing and presenting genetic sequencing data. Qualifications PhD in genetics, molecular biology, or related discipline. Strong computational analysis skills, including statistics / probability Proven track record developing novel protocols utilizing polymerase, ligase, nuclease, and restriction enzymes. Experience independently processing / analyzing large datasets from a next-generation DNA sequencer, to inform planning of follow-on experiments. Ability to perform data analysis using standard programming languages, e.g. python, perl, Matlab, in a UNIX environment. Extensive experience with standard molecular techniques including real-time PCR, molecular cloning, DNA shearing, adapter ligation/purification. Extensive understanding of genomic technologies, including next-generation sequencing technologies and library preparation methods.
For more information, contact Ken Drake, Vice President at Hallmark Science & Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Genetics 2010: Model Organisms to Human Biology meeting
Just got the invitation in email today:
The Genetics 2010: Model Organisms to Human Biology meeting registration and hotel
deadline is Monday, May 10. Join researchers in exciting Boston, Massachusetts where you can:
-Listen to invited talks given by renowned genetic researchers and keynotes by
Jeremy Berg, Carol Greider and Gary Ruvkun
-Participate in platform and poster sessions to stimulate new ideas
-Network with potential collaborators at meals and evening mixers
We look forward to seeing you in Boston,
Fred Winston and Scott Hawley, Meeting Co-chairs
*Cancer as a Genetic Disease
*Models of Disease
*Sex and Gene Expression
*Neurogenetics: From Synapses to Senescence
*Modern Approach to Pathogenesis and Infectious Disease
*Organismal Architecture and Developmental Disabilities
*Stem Cells: The Genetics of Commitment
Schedule of Events
Saturday, June 12
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Education and Outreach Workshop
Co-chairs: Beth De Stasio, Lawrence University and Pat Pukkila, University of North Carolina
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm High-Throughput RNAi Screening in Model Systems used to Study Human Biology at Genome Scale Workshop
Co-chairs: Stephanie Mohr, Harvard University and Liz Perkins, Harvard University
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Session 1: Personal Genomics
Co-chairs: Chuck Langley, PhD, University of California, Davis and David Altshuler, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Chuck Langley, PhD, University of California, Davis
David Altshuler, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Leonid Kruglyak, PhD, Lewis-Sigler Institute, Princeton University
Carlos Bustamante, PhD, Cornell University
9:15 pm - 10:00 pm Keynote Address:
Carol Greider, PhD, Johns Hopkins Medical School
10:00 pm - 11:30 pm Opening Mixer
Sunday, June 13
8:30 am - 10:30 am Session 2: Sex and gene expression
Co-chairs: Barbara Meyer, PhD, University of California, Berkeley and Melissa Hines, PhD, University of Cambridge
Barbara Meyer, PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Melissa Hines, PhD, University of Cambridge
David Page, PhD, Whitehead Institute/MIT
Eric Vilain, MD, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
11:00 am - 1:00 pm Session 3: Models of Disease
Co-chairs: Susan Lindquist, PhD, Whitehead Institute/MIT and Rick Lifton, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine
Susan Lindquist, PhD, Whitehead Institute/ MIT
Rick Lifton, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine
Eric Olson, PhD, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Phil Hieter, PhD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
1:15 pm - 3:15 pm Luncheon Roundtable
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm Session 4: Cancer as a genetic disease
Co-chairs: Angelika Amon, PhD, MIT and Phil Beachy, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine
Angelika Amon, PhD, MIT
Phil Beachy, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine
Kathryn Anderson, PhD, Sloan-Kettering Institute
Richard Kolodner, PhD, University of California, San Diego and Ludwig Institute
7:30 pm - 8:15 pm Keynote Address:
Gary Ruvkun, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
8:15 pm - 11:15 pm Poster Session 1
Monday, June 14
8:30 am - 10:30 am Session 5: Neurogenetics: from synapses to senescence
Co-chairs: Barry Ganetzky, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Pamela Sklar, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Barry Ganetzky, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Pamela Sklar, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Li-Huei Tsai, PhD, MIT
Erik Jorgensen, University of Utah
11:00 am - 1:00 pm Session 6: Modern approaches to pathogenesis and infectious disease
Co-chairs: Gerry Fink, PhD, Whitehead Institute/MIT and Joe DeRisi, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Gerry Fink, PhD, Whitehead Institute/MIT
Joe DeRisi, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
John Mekalanos, PhD, Harvard Medical School
Peter Palese, PhD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
1:15 pm - 3:15 pm Lunch Roundtable
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm Session 7: Stem cell: the genetics of commitment
Co-chairs: Minx Fuller, PhD, Stanford University and George Daley, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital
Minx Fuller, PhD, Stanford University and George Daley, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital
Anjana Rao, PhD, Harvard Medical School
Joanna Wysocka, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm GSA Education Special Interest Group Social
7:30 pm - 8:15 pm Keynote Address:
Jeremy Berg, PhD, National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Institutes of Health
8:15 pm - 11:15 pm Poster Session 2
Tuesday, June 15
8:30 am - 10:30 am Session 8: Organismal architecture and developmental disabilities
Co-chairs: Olivier Pourquie, PhD, Stowers Institute for Medical Research and Matt Warman, MD, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital
Olivier Pourquie, PhD, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Matt Warman, MD, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital
Denis Duboule, PhD, University of Geneva and School of Life Sciences, Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne
Nicholas Katsanis, PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
11:00 am - 1:00 pm Session 9: Analyzing genomes
Co-chairs: Barbara Wold, PhD, CalTech and Joe Ecker, PhD, The Salk Institute
Barbara Wold, PhD, CalTech
Joe Ecker, PhD, The Salk Institute
Rick Young, PhD, Whitehead Institute/MIT
Stuart Kim, PhD, Stanford University
Monday, May 3, 2010
Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
Helen Hay Whitney Foundation is now accepting applications for the Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. The Helen Hay Whitney Fellowships are among the most prestigious awards for the support of early postdoctoral research training in the basic biomedical research. This funding program provides three years of support, contingent on performance satisfactory to the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Committee. Candidates who hold, or are in the final stages of obtaining a PhD, MD or equivalent degree and are seeking beginning postdoctoral training are eligible to apply. Fellowships may be awarded to US citizens planning to work in laboratories either in the US, Canada or abroad and also to foreign citizens for research in laboratories in the US only. The Foundation accepts applications from candidates who have no more than one year of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the deadline for submitting the applications, and who have received a PhD (or D.Phil. or equivalent) degree no more than two years before the deadline, or an MD degree no more than three years before the deadline. Applications from established scientists or advanced fellows will not be considered. Application deadline is 5pm EST on July 15, 2010.The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation supports early postdoctoral research training in all basic biomedical sciences.
To attain its ultimate goal of increasing the number of imaginative, well-trained and dedicated medical scientists, the Foundation grants financial support of sufficient duration to help further the careers of young men and women engaged in biological or medical research.
Click Here To Apply Online
Candidates who hold, or are in the final stages of obtaining a Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent degree and are seeking beginning postdoctoral training in basic biomedical research are eligible to apply for a fellowship. The Foundation accepts applications from candidates who have no more than one year of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the deadline for submitting the application (July 15), and who have received a PhD (or D.Phil. or equivalent) degree no more than two years before the deadline, or an M.D. degree no more than three years before the deadline.
Fellowships may be awarded to US citizens planning to work in laboratories either in the US, Canada, or abroad and also to foreign citizens for research in laboratories in the US only. We expect that most applicants will reside in North America at the time of application. Foreign Students will need to obtain appropriate visa documentation, as required by US Immigration.
Applications from established scientists or advanced fellows will not be considered. The fellowships are for early postdoctoral training only. Clinical house-staff training does not count as "postdoctoral laboratory training.”
The Foundation will not ordinarily consider applicants who plan tenure of the fellowship in the laboratory in which they have already received extensive predoctoral or postdoctoral training. The aim of the fellowship is to broaden postdoctoral training and experience, and a significant change of venue is advisable. Since the number of available fellowships is limited, the Foundation does not make more than one award in any one year for training with a given supervisor, and in addition, will not support more than two fellows per laboratory at one time.
The Foundation expects that fellowship training will be obtained in an academic setting. The selection of a commercial or industrial laboratory for the training experience is not acceptable.
In addition to considering the research plan and recommendations presented in each application, the Scientific Advisory Committee must give weight to the many intangibles involved, including interpretation of the Foundation's objectives. The following procedure is designed to be fair and to take into account the number of applications received in relation to the number of fellowships that can be awarded.
The initial step is the screening begun by the Scientific Advisory Committee as soon as all applications have been received. In this screening, the Committee selects those candidates whose applications merit a personal interview with a Committee member. Each applicant so selected is then assigned to a member of the Committee, who completes arrangements for the interview in October. Interview travel expenses from points in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are paid by the Foundation. US citizens residing abroad who are approved for an interview will be reimbursed for travel to the interview, up to an amount comparable to the transcontinental domestic airfares reimbursed for other candidates. All applicants will be advised by email of their status (declined or approved for interview) by early-mid October.
All personal interview reports and applications are reviewed in context with each other at a full Scientific Advisory Committee meeting in November, and it is at this meeting that those interviewed candidates are selected to be recommended for approval by the Board of Trustees. All interviewed applicants are notified of the Committee's decisions by mid-November.
As the last step in the procedure, the Board of Trustees votes to approve the fellowship awards, in order of priority, up to the availability of funds.
Duration of Fellowship
The Whitney Fellowship is for a period of three years, contingent on performance satisfactory to the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Committee. One and two-year fellowships are not considered.
Activation of Fellowship
You may activate your fellowship anytime from April 1, through December 1, 2011.
The Foundation provides funds for travel to the fellowship location at the time of activation of the fellowship for the Fellow and his or her family. No payment is made for the transportation of household goods.
Stipend and Expense Allowance
The current stipend and expense allowance is:
| ||Stipend || Research Allowance |
|1st year || |
|2nd year || |
|3rd year || |
*NEW STIPEND LEVELS to be announced: In early May 2010, we will post online the new increased stipend levels.
There is a research allowance of $2,500 paid annually to the laboratory. It is to be used at the discretion of the Fellow with no deductions for institutional overhead, registration fees, or taxes. This money is to be used for research expenses, such as lab supplies, computers, etc. If the Fellow wishes, this money may be used, in part or entirely, to help defray the cost of the Fellow’s health insurance premiums. The Fellow determines how this research allowance will be spent. Payment of the research allowance will be made on the fellowship activation date, and annually thereafter.
There is a Dependent Child Allowance of $1,000 per annum for each child. There is no allowance for a spouse. If a fellowship is awarded and the Fellow advises us that he or she is eligible for the Dependent Child Allowance, we will then request a copy of the birth or adoption certificate(s). Payment of the child allowance will be made on the fellowship activation date, and annually thereafter.
Depending on the activation date of the fellowship, stipend payments are made semi-annually by the Foundation to the administering institution. Fellows in training abroad will receive quarterly stipend payments directly.
Supplementation of the stipend is permitted. It is not acceptable, however, to hold concurrently a full fellowship from another source. Non-research activities, such as teaching, must not occupy more than 10% of the Fellow's time.
A two-day Annual Meeting of Fellows is held in November of each year, at which each third-year Fellow presents the results of his or her research. This meeting is an important component of the Fellowship Program because of the opportunity it provides the Fellows for scientific interchange and exposure to biomedical fields other than their own. Attendance at the meeting in its entirety is expected as a condition of acceptance of the fellowship. Awardees that activate their fellowship after September 1, will attend their first of three Annual Meetings starting the following year.
Competition for the Helen Hay Whitney fellowships is intense. Less than 5% of those who apply to us receive awards. Please note that because of the volume of applications received, the Foundation is unable to provide critiques of unsuccessful proposals.
Applications are to be filled out and submitted online at www.hhwf.org. Applications must be received by The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation no later than 5:00pm EST, July 15, 2010. Late applications will not be considered.
Click Here To Apply Online
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