Core T32 Program Activities


Trainees participating in the T32 Research Training Program in Cardiovascular Research and Drug Development will perform mentored research in their faculty preceptor’s lab. In addition, they will participate in various didactic courses and mentored training activities designed to develop a depth and breadth of knowledge in three main areas: mentorship skills, professional development, and research excellence.


Mentorship Skills:

Faculty preceptors are expected to complete mentorship training offered by the NIH initiated National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) mentor-mentee training modules. Trainees are also encouraged to receive formal training in mentorship.

Trainees may be given opportunities to tutor, lecture, and/or mentor other students while they participate in the T32 program.

Professional Development:

All trainees will develop an individual development plan (IDP) with the assistance of the Curriculum and Career Development Committee of the T32 program. The committee will help trainees select members of their advisory committee. When a trainee is nearing completion of their training, the committee will help improve their CV and cover letters and conduct mock interviews to prepare graduates for the job market. The committee will also help identify contacts in academia, industry, or government to secure their employment after graduation.

The CRDD program organizes a mentored Cardiovascular Research & Drug Development Journal Club, which is held monthly and hosted by one of the mentor’s labs.

All CRDD trainees will be required to attend biweekly CVRI seminars and quarterly CDD seminars that feature nationally renowned speakers as well as local speakers from TMC institutions. The trainees will be invited to luncheons with the visit speakers to discuss their science and career development.

The CVRI organizes an annual symposium featuring a keynote speaker, 10 faculty speakers, and 70-100 poster presentations. All CRDD trainees are encouraged to present a poster at the annual CVRI symposium. One member of the External Advisor Committee will be invited each year to give a lecture at the symposium, to interact with trainees to get their feedback on the program, and to provide additional opportunities for mentorship and networking.

Research Excellence:

The CRDD Director’s Course is specifically designed for our trainees to meet their unique training needs. Given the unique and complex nature of cardiovascular physiology and drug development research, this biweekly course will include several sessions with the T32 trainees to discuss responsible conduct of research topics. In addition, several meetings will focus on methods for enhancing reproducibility based on examples from our field. Finally, the trainees will be required to take the grant writing module of the Director’s course (during the first year of T32 support), taught by Drs. Larina and Poché. The proposal will undergo NIH-style Mock Study Section review formed by program faculty, with detailed feedback given to the trainees and their mentors.

The CRDD program organizes three graduate courses: ‘Cardiovascular Diseases’ (term 2; director: Dr. Wehrens), ‘Advanced Topics in Cardiac Pathophysiology’ (term 3; directors: Drs. Na Li and Wehrens), and ‘Advanced Topics in Vascular Pathophysiology’ (term 4; directors: Drs. Durgan and Wehrens). Trainees receiving a CRDD T32 stipend will be required to take at least one of these courses. The CRDD program sponsors two other graduate courses, ‘Drug Discovery: From Bench to Bedside’ (offered by the Chemical, Physical & Structural Biology PhD program) and ‘Gene and Cell Therapy’ (offered by the Genetics & Genomics PhD program). Trainees receiving a CRDD T32 stipend will be required to take at least one of these courses. Several CRDD mentors lecture in these courses.

One of the pillars of the CRDD program is to provide students with rigorous exposure to modern therapeutic development. Within our proposed CRDD, students will participate in a multi-faceted therapeutics module that includes formal drug discovery coursework, student research presentations, and Fireside Discussions with academic and industrial leaders in drug discovery and development.