General Information

The Mentoring Workshop for New Faculty in Organic and Biological Chemistry has been held annually and sponsored by NIGMS since 2005. Currently the workshop has trained around 330 new investigators. The workshop aims to mentor assistant professors at the early stage of their careers in NIH proposal preparation, establishment of unique and productive research programs, and development of skills for success in other academic and professional activities other than classroom teaching. Specifically, the workshop:

• Introduces junior faculty to NIH procedures and NIH staff
• Stresses skills of salesmanship of research ideas to peer reviewers
• Stresses the value of mentoring and being mentored
• Promotes networking among young scientists and with senior role models
• Promotes diversity representation in academic chemical research and in the chemical workforce

Around 30-36 junior faculty are selected from Department Chairs’ nominations to participate in the workshop. Six to eight faculty mentors are chosen based on their stature in the scientific community, their excellent abilities as communicators, their strong funding records, and their research interests in organic or biological chemistry. A diverse representation of women and underrepresented minorities among the mentors is actively sought. NIGMS program staff also participates in the workshop. The 2016 mentors include Drs.
Mark Distefano (University of Minnesota), Alison Frontier (University of Rochester), Marc Greenberg (Johns Hopkins), Jennifer Kohler (UT Southwestern), Tristan Lambert (Columbia), John Montgomery (University of Michigan); several members of the Steering Committee (See below) will also participate.  Department Chairs' and prospective trainees' inquiries should be directed to Dr. Bob Lees and Dr. Paul Hanson not to the mentors.

The workshop includes 3 days of discussions, presentations and networking. Highlight training sessions are the model study section, the participant research presentations and the break-out sessions.

In the model study section real NIH R01 applications (with the PIs' permission) are reviewed. Trainees write the critiques prior to the workshop. At the workshop both trainees and mentors play peer reviewers and NIH staff plays the Scientific Review Officer (SRO). Applications funded at the second submissions are also discussed as examples on how to address the reviewers critique and submit a successful revised proposal.

Each trainee will give a research presentation of 15-20 minutes in front of all the participants. The talk should be limited to one project and stress/sell the high impact and significance of the research. All presenters will receive critiques on their performance and on the research project.

Trainees will be divided in small groups to discuss submitted case studies. Example of topics discussed in the break-out groups are managing/motivating research groups, collaborations, laboratory safety, professional ethics, diversity, project selection and mentoring.

Steering Committee:
Paul Hanson (University of Kansas), Barbara Imperiali (MIT), Brent Iverson (University of Texas at Austin), Bob Lees (NIGMS), Lisa McElwee-White (University of Florida), Erik Sorensen (Princeton) and Keith Woerpel (NYU).


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