BU-XTNC Fellowship Applications

Next application deadline will be in May 2014, for fellowship support beginning September 2014. Applicants will be notified in June 2014.

Boston University’s Cross-Disciplinary Training in Nanotechnology for Cancer (XTNC) provides stipends and interdisciplinary training to graduate students and postdocs whose interdisciplinary research uses nanotechnology to understand the properties of cancer cells and to discover and develop research tools, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic agents that will reduce suffering and death due to cancer.

Most applicants for graduate student fellowships (5 positions) will have successfully completed one or two years of graduate study in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Graduate Medical Sciences, MD-PhD, or a closely related graduate program (typically Mathematics and Statistics, Computer Sciences, Electrical and Computer Engineering or Mechanical Engineering, and the MED campus programs). They will have identified a research project, possibly leading to a dissertation, that integrates their primary physical/engineering discipline with biomedical research or vice versa. They will name co-advisors, one from cancer biology or clinical research on the Medical Campus and one from a physical sciences or engineering discipline on the Charles River Campus. Fellowship support is for one year, renewable for a second year based on exceptional progress. Tuition (4 credits per semester), fees and health insurance will be paid in addition to the stipend.

Postdoctoral fellows (2 positions) will be members of interdisciplinary teams that apply nano/micro technologies to understand, prevent and ultimately treat cancer. Fellowship support is for one year, renewable for a second year subject to exceptional progress. The XTNC program will provide 0.5 FTE postdoc salary support on the NIH scale; the balance must come from other funds available to the co-mentors. 50% support for fees and health insurance will be paid in addition to the stipend. 

The main focus for XTNC fellows will be co-mentored research training. In addition, there is an introductory course on nanomedicine, BE745, taught in the spring semester, which graduate students are required to take and post docs to attend and contribute to discussions. Fellows will also participate in seminars, a Nanomedicine retreat, hands-on summer workshops, and outreach opportunities with high school students in the community. For full details, see http://nano-cancer.bu.edu/ and the XTNC trainee and faculty expectations page appended at the end of this document.

Applications, to be prepared by the student in consultation with his or her co-mentors, should include (in a single pdf document):

Letter from the applicant (1-2 pages max), describing their overall scientific background and interests, especially their nanoscience and cancer research experience and interests, and indicating their goals for the future.

Biosketch or cv for the applicant, that includes prior institution, degree and year of graduation with prior GPA. Also include a BU transcript for any applicants that are currently BU students. For MD/PhD students, please also include MCAS results, and for graduate students, GRE scores where applicable.

Cover page that lists the project title, the fellow’s name and contact information plus the names and contact information for CRC and MED mentors.

Project description (2-3 pages max; single-spaced, 1” margins; Arial 11 or equivalent) with the following sections:

Abstract
Specific Aims
Background
Research Plan
Relevance to Cancer
Citations

Letter of support (1-2 pages), co-written and signed by the two mentors, describing the applicant’s academic qualifications and scientific promise, outlining the co-mentored research training plan including the balance of cancer and nanoscience training, the value of the project to the applicant as well as to the goals of the co-mentor’s research directions, and, in the case of postdocs, assurance that matching defunds are available to support the salary.

Please also submit brief biographical sketches, preferably in NIH or NSF format, for the co-advisors. These can be from any recent grant submission, and do not need to be specially created. Please also include a summary of active grant support generally in the targeted area for the co-advisors.

Completed applications in the form of a single pdf document should be submitted electronically for review by the XTNC leadership committee. Support will be allocated based on the academic qualifications of the student and his/her co-advisors, the scientific merit of the project, the likelihood that the fellowship will work as “glue” to enhance interactions between MED cancer biologists and clinicians and CRC physical scientists and engineers, and the potential of the project to launch a successful research career at the nano/micro/onco interface. Applications from minorities and women are strongly encouraged, as they could be supported with additional funds from NIH. Postdocs and students who are NOT US citizens or resident aliens MAY apply for these fellowships, but we are limited to 1-2 positions out of the 7-8 total.

Applicants seeking renewed fellowship support will need to provide an additional half-page description of how they will use their first year experience to enhance the XTNC program, including their potential leadership roles in activities such as the nanomedicine course, social activities, the XTNC journal club, outreach initiatives, and summer workshops.

The application deadline is Friday, May 30, 2014, for students seeking fellowship support beginning September 1, 2014. Please email your application to Brenda Hugot (bhugot@bu.edu).  Applicants will be notified by June 14, 2014.

Fellowships will be offered each year through 2015.  Details of XTNC scientific goals and names, contact information and interests of its faculty-level members are available at http://nano-cancer.bu.edu/

For more information on scientific aspects of the XTNC, contact the faculty on the executive committee, Bennett Goldberg (goldberg@bu.edu); Douglas Faller (dfaller@bu.edu), Katya Ravid (ravid@bu.edu) or Mario Cabodi (cabodi@bu.edu).

 

TRAINEE EXPECTATIONS

Coursework: Trainees will complete the 4-credit Introduction to Nanomedicine course (BE 700/GMS MM720) as part of the program curriculum.  Trainees will also participate in one or more Advanced Skills Workshops each year.  Our 3-day workshops are hands on, 2-3 days in duration, in the early or late summer. Past workshops include Advanced Microarrays, Nanoparticle Fabrication and Characterization, and Advanced Imaging.

Research: Trainees will conduct Mentored Research as part of a pre-existing interdisciplinary group. This is the proposed research component of the XTNC application. Trainees will present their research during the annual Trainee Research Seminar (or Nanomedicine Retreat) each spring. The one-day retreat will highlight trainee research activities. Trainees are also strongly encouraged to attend and present at professional meetings.

Mentoring: Trainees will regularly meet with both advisors during monthly Co-Advising Sessions. Post-doctoral trainees will work with their advisors and mentors to develop a Career Development Plan.  Subsequent meetings will refine this plan.  Mentors will introduce post-doc trainees to professionals in trainee’s field of expertise.

Social Gatherings and Student-led Journal Club: Trainees organize and participate in monthly Journal Club to discuss contemporary research related to the training program.  The Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology will provide food and beverages for journal club meetings. If trainees decide to self-organize a monthly or periodic social, CNN will provide food and appropriate beverages. CNN can also provide transportation and support for attending meetings of the MIT/MGH-Harvard Nanomedicine group.

Outreach and Teaching: Trainees will work with BU-CityLab to Develop High School Curriculum Supplements in conjunction with CityLab. Trainees will participate in teaching the material in a semi-annual High School Nanoscience Night; the curriculum will be available to public school science programs. Post-doctoral trainees, with guidance from CityLab Director Don DeRosa, will strengthen teaching skills by delivering lectures and develop curriculum units in Introduction to Nanomedicine, and will assist in instruction during the Advanced Skills Workshops.

Ethics: Graduate trainees and post-docs are required to attend and complete the Responsible Conduct of Research Program organized by the Provost’s Office. This seminar is composed of four sessions throughout the year, lasting three hours each.  Ethics Seminars: Trainees will attend seminars on Ethics and Emerging Medical Nanotechnologies. Dr. Roche of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights will lead two session lasting two hours each.

Post-doctoral trainees and advanced graduate trainees will participate in Grant Writing instruction led by Dr. Mario Cabodi.

FACULTY EXPECTATIONS

Faculty affiliated with XTNC will participate in Leadership Team activities on a rotating basis.
Faculty will contribute to trainee instruction through availability as a Research Mentor or Advisor.
Faculty will be encouraged to teach during the spring Nanomedicine course.
Faculty will be encouraged to involve themselves in XTNC activities such as Journal Club or Networking Events.