T32 Doctoral Training

New Call for Applications: Submission Deadline: Friday January 6, 2023

Application Open for T32 Doctoral Training Proposal in Regenerative Engineering under New Administrative Supplements to Recognize Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA)

 

The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering will be applying for a Supplement under the Notice of Special Interest: Administrative Supplements to Recognize Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Mentorship (NOT-OD-23-002). If awarded, this funding would supplement the existing T32 training grant Regenerative Engineering of Musculoskeletal Tissues - A Convergence Doctoral Training Program (AR 079114).

 

The application will propose support for 1-year of graduate training to 3 PhD students at the University of Connecticut who meet the criteria set forth by the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031). The students and their background will be featured as a critical component of the UConn proposal, thereby enhancing its competitiveness. The students selected thus are joining forces with the University in pursuit of this funding.

 

OVERVIEW

The T32 Doctoral Training Program aims to educate, support and enhance the training of individuals dedicated to careers as independent translational and basic scientists in the field of regenerative engineering. The program offers inter-disciplinary research training at UConn Health and UConn Storrs combining the fields of biomedical science and engineering. Trainees will be selected from current UConn graduate students at UConn Health and UConn Storrs who have completed their first or second year of PhD training. Trainees will become experts in regenerative engineering and its foundations to work towards the alleviation of human disease and musculoskeletal injuries by means of tissue regeneration.

 

ELIGIBILITY

  1. All applicants must identify as a member of at least one of the following groups as defined by the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031)
    1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders; individuals from racial or ethnic groups. (For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see the OMB Revisions to the Standards for Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity).
    2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
    3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the following criteria: Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act; were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families; were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years; have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (First-Generation and Continuing-Generation College Students); were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants; received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child; grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer or b) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas; students from low socioeconomic (SES) status backgrounds.
    4. Women from the above backgrounds (categories 1a, 1b, 1c) who face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields as described in Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering.

 

 

 

 

  1. All applicants should also
  1. Be a Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States.
  2. Be current UConn Health or UConn Storrs graduate student who has completed their first or second year of PhD training.
  3. Demonstrate high motivation and potential to become a basic, clinical, or translational scientist with an interest in the field of Regeneration.
  4. Have a high probability of fulfilling the educational goals of this program.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

Submission Deadline:

January 6, 2023

Applicants will submit their application package directly by email to Ms. Jolene Monahan Wilding, Program Manager, Connecticut Convergence Institute, at monahanwilding@uchc.edu.

 

Application Documents:

  1. NIH Fellowship Biosketch. Use the most current Fellowship Biosketch format (Rev. 10/2021, approved through 09/30/2024). Follow the ‘Instructions for a Biographical Sketch’. This is the key document to be used for this application. Failure to complete all sections of the Biosketch will result in disqualification.

 

  1. Letter of Recommendation. A Letter of Recommendation is required from the current UConn faculty member with whom the applicant has worked closely during doctoral program research. (A recommendation from a lab rotation mentor, major advisor, or advisory committee member is suggested but not required.)

 

  1. Regenerative Engineering Essay. Write a one-page personal statement citing previous or ongoing regenerative engineering research experience, expressing interest in pursuing career as scientist in the field of regeneration, and elaborating on how this program will assist in achievement of career goals. (The essay is not to exceed one page, single spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, no attachments.)

 

Important Note:

Acceptance to be included in the cohort proposed by the Convergence Institute does not guarantee funding. NIH ultimately selects the institutions to be awarded the Supplement.

 

Current T32 Scholars

Godwin Dzidotor

Godwin is a graduate student at the University of Connecticut – Department of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering. His research study focuses on regeneration of articular cartilage in treating osteoarthritis. Since 2018, he has been part of the Connecticut Convergence Institute of Translation in Regenerative Engineering.

His work seeks a convergence approach to the treatment of osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases by employing multi-disciplinary approach the foster mechanistic regenerative applications. This mechanistic regenerative perspective is evident in applications of bioengineering approaches involving cells and developmental control. Revealing that, mechanical stresses induces cytoskeletal tension-dependent changes that alter the extracellular matrix compliance and function.

Jacob Quint

Jacob Quint is a Ph.D. student and graduate research trainee in biomedical engineering at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He received his MS and BS in mechanical engineering at the University of Nebraska. He is a recipient of the T32 Regenerative Engineering of Musculoskeletal Tissues fellowship to generate solutions to alleviate human disease and musculoskeletal injuries by means of tissue engineering. His research focuses on creating translational technologies and techniques for regenerating skeletal muscle and other soft tissues. He has developed novel scaffolds for the treatment of skeletal muscle injuries using nanoparticles to control the biological and mechanical environment of the wound. He has also engineered a handheld device for the in vivo delivery of biomimetic scaffolds to leverage the power of the human body as a bioreactor and streamline regulatory hurdles. He works under the guidance of Dr. Ali Tamayol in his Laboratory for Innovative Microtechnologies & Biomechanics (LIMB). Jacob has participated in several entrepreneurial activities and incubator programs at both the University of Nebraska and the University of Connecticut. He has been awarded over $21,000 in prizes and awards from these programs and pitch competitions. He is active in developing a portfolio of intellectual property in the form of patents from his research in the hopes of generating commercially viable medical solutions and treatment modalities that will be utilized in improving real patient care.

Rachel Marchini

Rachel Marchini is a PhD student in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Connecticut.  She joined the Connecticut Convergence Institute of Translation in Regenerative Engineering in 2021 after completing her BS in chemical engineering at the Storrs campus. Her research focuses on the regeneration of articular cartilage in treating osteoarthritis and to continue into osteochondral defects with a focus on the regeneration of the bone/cartilage interface. Her work aims to expand the concept behind the synthetic artificial stem cell (SASC) and develop it for use in additional disease models.

Heather Wanczyk

Heather Wanczyk is a PhD student in Biomedical Science at the University of Connecticut Health Center- Department of Cell Biology. She has extensive training and experience in developing regenerative therapies to treat congenital defects of the lung, trachea and esophagus. She has a Bachelors degree in Animal Science as well as a Masters degree in Immunology from the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on using advanced 3D bioprinting technology in combination with stem cells to develop pediatric-sized airways that will help reduce transplant shortages in individuals suffering from chronic respiratory diseases. She is also interested in developing novel biomaterials to repair congenital defects of the esophagus and trachea. Her ultimate goal is to pursue a career in regenerative engineering where she can harness her skills and experience to develop improved therapies and treatments for diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system.

Andreia Cadar

Andreia Cadar is a PhD candidate in the UConn Center on Aging and Department of Immunology in the lab of Dr. Jenna Bartley. Andreia’s research focuses on developing translationally relevant interventions to improve regenerative capacity of aged muscle after an insult. Her work in the lab focuses on unveiling mechanism related to flu-associated muscle degradation and atrophy using an aged mouse model. Currently, her experiments are focused specifically on characterizing immune cell populations that contribute to muscle degradation and prolonged inflammation in response to flu infection. She also works on a multi-site clinical trial, Starting a Testosterone and Exercise Program after Hip Injury (Step-HI, NCT02938923), to gain clinical perspective on the challenges older adults face in regaining function following a traumatic fall. Overall, her multifaceted research focuses on novel treatments to improve muscle regeneration in older adults and allow them to maintain their independence following any stressor that causes disability, such as flu, falls, or other age-related conditions.

Keaven Caro

Keaven Caro, is an M.D./Ph.D. student in the Martinelli lab in the neuroscience department at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He was awarded a T32 Institutional Training Grant in Regenerative Engineering of Musculoskeletal Tissues (NIAMS, AR079114). Keaven is investigating C1QL proteins and their receptor, ADGRB3, which are implicated in synapse formation/maintenance, and myoblast adhesion and fusion during muscle development. Keaven aims to test the hypothesis that these proteins function in a cell-cell adhesion complex by resolving their subcellular localization and testing their function at synapses using molecular genetics. He is also investigating how proteolytic regulators modulate these cell adhesion molecules to promote or inhibit cell-cell adhesion critical for synapse and muscle development, in hopes that these modulators will provide novel targets for future therapeutic interventions across multiple fields.

Steven Toro

Steven Toro is a first-generation high school graduate and second-year Biomedical Science Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC), studying Skeletal Biology and Regeneration. He works under the mentorship of Dr. Ali Tamayol in his Laboratory for Innovative Microtechnologies & Biomechanics (LIMB). Steven’s research focuses on in situ engineering of microneedles for various clinical uses, including drug delivery to improve chronic wound management, muscle regeneration, treatment of dental defects, and more. By studying the underlying mechanisms of these techniques and working on translating them into clinical applications, he aims to advance the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Before joining UCHC, Steven obtained his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico - Humacao. After graduation, he spent a year researching at UConn School of Pharmacy, gaining experience in toxicology research and liver histopathology. Additionally, he completed a two-year postgraduate program at Yale Medical School's Department of Neurology, where he focused on studying Multiple Sclerosis (MS).