Over the past ten years, the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh has made a concerted effort to help its PhD students compete for external fellowships, with the goal of providing a well-rounded educational experience.
These efforts have led to an overall increase in external funding, and during Academic Year 2020, there were a total of 38 external predoctoral fellowships in the Department of Bioengineering, which represents 30 percent of its PhD student population. Many of these students work in the labs of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty members.
Also, as a part of this overall effort, the Department of Bioengineering received four training grants from the National Institutes of Health, which provide an institutional award for students to advance their predoctoral research in health-related areas. This funding, along with external awards, enhances research opportunities for students in the Swanson School of Engineering.
“Being part of a training grant program has really helped me plug into the cardiovascular bioengineering community at Pitt and has introduced me to the various resources available through the NIH and other external funding sources,” said Haley Fuller, a graduate student in the Synthetic Biology and Biomimetics Laboratory. “This program, community, and opportunity has helped guide my own progress as an investigator, as well as opened the door for multidisciplinary discussion with faculty and like-minded students that otherwise would be difficult to facilitate.”
“Sharing research and communicating with members of my cohort provides me support outside of the lab,” said Abigail Allen, a graduate student in the Cell Migration Lab. “Additionally, the stipend provided by the program gives me more flexibility to conduct the research I am interested in.”
Through a competitive application process, a new cohort of students are appointed to the training grants each year. The following students were appointed as training grant fellows during the 2020 Academic Year, Sept. 1, 2019 – Aug. 31, 2020, and were mentored by McGowan Institute affiliated faculty members.
Training grants within the Department of Bioengineering
Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training Program (CBTP)
- Abigail Allen (PIs: Partha Roy and Steven Little)
- Haley Fuller (PI: Warren Ruder)
- Katelin Omecinski (PI: William Federspiel)
Biomechanics in Regenerative Medicine (BiRM)
- Sommer Anjum (PI: Lance Davidson)
Bioengineering in Psychiatry (BiP)
- Jessica Kleinbart (PI: Doug Weber)
Training grants outside of the Department of Bioengineering
Training in Transplantation
- Elizabeth Bentley (PI: Steven Little)
In addition to T32 training grants, the following bioengineering PhD students received External Fellowships in Academic Year 2020 to enhance their education and research efforts.
- Madeline Cramer (PI: Stephen Badylak)
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP)
- Drake Pedersen (PI: William Wagner)
American Heart Association Fellowship
- Ali Behrangzade (PI: Jonathan Vande Geest)
- Soroosh Sanatkhani (PIs: Sanjeev Shroff and Prahlad Menon)
- Danial Sharifi Kia (PIs: Marc Simon and Kang Kim)