A $3.3 million National Institutes of Health grant enables Stony Brook University School of Medicine to train 36 postdoctoral fellows to develop careers centered on research and education.
STONY BROOK, N.Y., August 9, 2012 – Stony Brook University School of Medicine through the SUNY Research Foundation has received a five-year $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to launch a training program that prepares postdoctoral fellows to develop careers centered on research and education. The NIGMS Institutional Research and Career Development Award (IRACDA) supports the development of the New York Consortium for the Advancement of Postdoctoral Scholars (NY-CAPS). Under NY-CAPS, Stony Brook will train 36 postdoctoral fellows and provide them with teaching opportunities at one of three partnering colleges in the region.
According to the NIGMS, the purpose of the IRACDA program is to develop a diverse group of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists to address the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. The program promotes consortia between research-intensive institutions and partner institutions that have a history of proving training and encouragement to students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of the United States.
NY-CAPS is administered at Stony Brook’s Center for Inclusive Education, under the direction of Nina Maung-Gaona, and in collaboration with the Graduate School, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and University programs in the biomedical and biological sciences. Built upon a 15-year collaboration between Stony Brook University and underrepresented student-serving partner institutions CUNY Brooklyn College, SUNY Old Westbury, and Suffolk County Community College, IRACDA NY-CAPS postdoctoral fellows will bring cutting-edge innovation and research focused models of undergraduate education into the classrooms of these colleges.
“Stony Brook University is pleased to partner with these educational institutions under the NIH’s IRACDA program to enhance the careers of our postdoctoral fellows and broaden higher education opportunities for underrepresented populations pursing research careers in the biomedical sciences,” says Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
“We are developing a comprehensive and inclusive program to train and mentor the next generation of research scientists and educators,” says Jorge L. Benach, PhD, Distinguished University Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Director, Center for Infectious Diseases, Stony Brook University. Dr. Benach and Dr. David Ferguson, Associate Provost, are Co-Principal Investigators of IRACDA NY-CAPS. “The program broadens our mentored research training and Stony Brook’s mission to educate and foster teaching careers in the biomedical arena.”
Typically each postdoctoral fellow will train under a faculty mentor and conduct research for three years. During the third year, they will gain teaching experience at the undergraduate level at one of three IRACDA NY-CAPS partnering colleges.
“The program is also geared to help our talented young scientists go well beyond the bench and develop teaching skills that will serve them well and increase their skills within the biomedical science and higher education fields,” explains Dr. Benach. “They will be required to develop their own courses and curriculum, which will add to the scope of undergraduate biomedical education at the partnering institutions.”
The grant will cover the training postdoctoral fellows within Stony Brook University Departments such as Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolution, Microbiology, Pathology, Pharmacological Sciences, and Physiology. Postdoctoral fellows will develop mentored research programs, which will include basic and translational investigations that impact areas of medicine such as infectious diseases, cancer, and neurological disorders.
While Stony Brook Medicine incorporates a number of mentor-guided research training programs to faculty, Dr. Benach says that NY-CAPS is unique because the program potentially includes faculty from all Stony Brook University Departments involved in biomedical research and features the partnership with area colleges to ensure practical teaching experience.
Dr. Benach emphasizes that fellows who wish to work in the laboratory of any faculty member within Stony Brook’s biomedical science departments can apply for the NY-CAPS postdoctoral fellowship. NY-CAPS postdoctoral fellows receive a three-year appointment, an individualized development plan, salary and annual increases per NIH guidelines, and additional services and activities to enhance career success. Individuals can apply online by way of the IRACDA NY-CAPS Postdoctoral Program website.