Research Series 2021

A series of research-specific workshops are scheduled annually to meet the career development needs of postdoctoral trainees through senior investigators across the health sciences. Sessions are typically offered at various times and locations throughout the year, although all are currently being held via Zoom.  Select the workshops that best meet your professional goals.


Aug. 10, 2021
PIVOT Database Training: Accelerate Your Search for Funding

Presenter: Ryan Champagne, Bradley Pollock
Description: Are you looking for funding opportunities and not sure where to start? Pivot is a searchable funding opportunity and expertise database, subscribed to by the University of Pittsburgh and offered to all faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students.  The database is a comprehensive source for funding information from all disciplines and users can conduct searches for funding opportunities, save searches and receive funding alerts tailored to your scholarly profile. Join Ryan Champagne and Bradley Pollock from Pitt’s Office of Sponsored Programs to learn how to use this valuable resource. Additional resources will also be shared for identifying prestigious academic awards, fellowships available to non-US citizens, funding programs for early career faculty, and internally-coordinated competitions for limited submission and University-funded programs.

Presenter Bio: Ryan Champagne is the Assistant Director for Research Development at the University of Pittsburgh. He has a Master's Degree in Library & Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Bradley Pollock is the team's Research Development Funding Specialist. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Literary Studies from Allegheny College. The Research Development team produces and distributes funding opportunity newsletters, provides informational sessions detailing specific funding mechanisms, coordinates internal grant competitions for limited submissions, and identifies relevant funding opportunities for specific research projects. The team sits in the University’s Office of Sponsored Programs, and partners with other cross-cutting administrative units to serve faculty across the University.

Sept. 1, 2021
Swimming with Sharks: Writing Winning NIH Grant Proposals - VIEW RECORDING

Presenter: Rosemarie Hunziker, PhD
Description: Are you looking to begin the grant writing process and feeling overwhelmed? Be sure to join us for this special program as Dr. Rosemarie Hunziker, who spent three decades as a federal scientist, including 15+ years as a Program Director at NIH, walks you through the entire grant proposal process and provides invaluable advice on how to get a fundable score on review. The topics to be covered in this presentation include how to target the right home at NIH, tips and tricks for how to write a successful grant proposal, how to maximize the review, how to find and connect with helpful program staff, and how to stay informed of all of the latest opportunities at NIH.

Archived Video

Presenter Bio: Rosemarie Hunziker, PhD, is an independent Biomedical Research consultant, with key competencies in: strategic positioning for research portfolios, grant writing assistance, and proposal review, particularly in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. Rosemarie was a federal scientist for three decades—including 15+ years at NIH (Program Director at NIDCR and NIBIB), preceded by 4 years in Biotechnology and Tissue Engineering at the Advanced Technology Program (NIST). She had programmatic oversight of discovery and applied research grants. Dr. Hunziker brings a diverse background to this broad sphere of research, including experience in Microbiology, Immunogenetics and Immunochemistry, Developmental Biology, Animal Husbandry, Molecular Biology, Stem Cell Technologies, Tissue Engineering (most recently in the Tissue Chips and Cell Manufacturing programs) and Regenerative Medicine, Biomaterials, ImmunoEngineering and Technology Transfer. Rosemarie’s honors include four NIH Director’s awards and election to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Nov. 11, 2021
Know Your K: Writing a Successful Career Development Award Application for Basic Scientists and Clinical Investigators

Presenter: Mark S. Roberts, MD, MPP
Description: Mentored Career Development Awards (also known as "K Awards") are the National Institute of Health's (NIH) primary grant mechanisms for supporting new and mid-career investigators, and are a key step in any researcher's career. Mark S. Roberts, MD, MPP, will share step-by-step instructions on how to prepare an outstanding and successful K application during "Know Your K: Writing a Successful Career Development Award Application for Basic Scientists and Clinical Investigators". An overview of the application process and review criteria will be covered, and the range of K awards will be discussed. Following the formal presentation, K01, K08, K23, K24, and K99 award recipients will host breakout rooms to discuss their own experiences and to answer your questions.

Presenter Bio: Mark S. Roberts, MD, MPP, is Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management, and holds secondary appointments in Medicine, Industrial Engineering, Business Administration and Clinical and Translational Science. A practicing general internist, he has conducted research in decision analysis and the mathematical modeling of disease for over 30 years, and has expertise in cost effectiveness analysis, mathematical optimization and simulation, and the measurement and inclusion of patient preferences into decision problems. He has used decision sciences to examine clinical, costs, policy and allocation questions in liver transplantation, vaccination strategies, operative interventions, influenza, COVID-19, HIV and the use of many medications. His recent research has concentrated in the use of mathematical methods from operations research and management science, including Markov Decision Processes, Discrete Event and Agent-based Simulation. As director of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, he continues to lead the development of simulation tools for representing complex diseases and the evaluation of policies to improve health and public health. He has been a principal or co-investigator on over 40 NIH grants and has published over 170 papers in peer-reviewed journals. During his career, he has served as a primary or secondary mentor for over 20 K-type or other training grants, as well as having served as a mentor for many fellows and graduate students. In addition, for 10 years he served as the director of degree-granting programs for the Institute for Clinical Research Education, where he developed and directed the Certificate and Master’s degree programs in Clinical Research, and co-directed the PhD program in Clinical and Translational Science. He has over 6 years of service on study sections for the NIH and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and served as the Chair of the Health Care Technology and Decision Sciences Study Section at AHRQ.

Dec. 7, 2021
Mock K Award Study Section

Presenter: Michael Gold, PhD, Catherine Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, Maisa Feghali, MD, MS
Description: K awards, or the NIH’s Mentored Career Development Awards, are the NIH’s most common mechanism for supporting early career investigators. Join us as Pitt faculty with extensive study section experience will review applications as part of a mock K study section. During this session, led by Michael Gold, you will be able to not only observe what a study section is like, but to also receive inside information regarding the study section review process. If you didn't attend the Nov. 11th "Know Your K" session, view the recording on the OACD’s website in advance of this session, then attend this program to take a closer look at the workings of a study section.

Presenter Bio: Dr. Gold is presently a Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He earned his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California Los Angeles in 1994 under the mentorship of Dr. John Liebeskind and received post-doctoral training in neuropharmacology and biophysics at the Universities of California San Francisco and Los Angeles under the mentorship of Drs. Jon Levine and Anna-Maria Correa, respectively. Dr. Gold began his academic career at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 1998 under the chairmanship of Dr. Ron Dubner. In 2006 he was recruited to Pittsburgh by Dr. Jerry Gebhart, where he runs a lab focused on peripheral mechanisms of pain. His research in this field has focused on identification of factors, most commonly voltage-, Ca2+-, and ligand-gated ion channels, that enable sensory neurons to contribute to persistent pain, such as that associated with chronic inflammation or nerve injury. He serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Pain, the Journal of Pain Research, and the Neurobiology of Pain. Dr. Gold served on the scientific program committee for the Society for Neuroscience, the American Pain Society, and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). Dr. Gold was elected to the Council of the IASP in 2012 and served as the IASP liaison to the American Pain Society Board. Dr. Gold is currently President of the US Association for the Study of Pain. Dr. Gold provides ongoing service on scientific advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health (which includes close to 50 panels focused on training grants), the Department of Defense and foreign funding agencies such as the Welcome Trust.

Dr. Bender is a Professor in the School of Nursing and Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Nancy Glunt Hoffman Endowed Chair in Oncology Nursing. She leads a program of research focused in two areas; 1) changes in cognitive function associated with cancer and cancer therapy and 2) disease and treatment-related symptoms and how symptoms and other factors influence adherence to cancer therapy. She is currently leading an NCI-funded study examining the use of aerobic exercise to improve cognitive function and brain health in women with breast cancer in the Exercise Program in Cognition and Cancer Study (EPICC). She has mentored numerous pre- and postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty and previously led a T32 in cancer survivorship which trained both pre- and post-doctoral nurse trainees. She is the co-sponsor for NCI-funded F99/K00 and K99/R00 scholars and has been a sponsor for F31s, American Cancer Society Career Development Awardees, and a KL2 scholar.

Dr. Maisa Feghali is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology who focuses on caring for pregnant women with diabetes. She earned her BS/MD at the American University of Beirut and subsequently completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at MedStar Georgetown Washington Hospital Center and a fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where she later joined the faculty. Dr. Feghali is now the Director or the Diabetes in Pregnancy Program at Magee Womens Hospital of UPMC, which cares for over 1,000 pregnant women with diabetes in Southwestern Pennsylvania every year. Dr. Feghali is committed to transforming the treatment of diabetes in pregnancy by tailoring therapy to personal preferences and individual physiology.

Feb. 2, 2022
Developing a Successful Fellowship Application: A Primer for Postdocs & Graduate Students

Time: 3-4:30pm
Location: Zoom
Presenter: Nick Giannoukakis, PhD
Description: Attend this session to learn how to write a successful fellowship (F30, F31, and F32) applications! The purpose of the NIH F-type training grant is to provide support to promising graduate and post-doctoral applicants who have the potential to become productive, independent investigators in health-related research fields relevant to the missions of participating NIH institutes. This session will start with an overview of the F-award and then illuminate the grant submission/review process, outline how to prepare a successful grant, describe a mock study section, and cover scoring and funding. It will be presented by Nick Giannoukakis, PhD, a member of the Division of Experimental Pathology and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program, who has a successful track record mentoring graduate students and postdocs who have forged independent research careers.

Presenter Bio: Nick Giannoukakis, PhD, began his scientific studies at McGill University (Montreal, Canada), receiving his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in 1992 and 1997, respectively. He then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the fields of gene and cell therapy for autoimmune disease and transplantation tolerance. He held the position of Associate Professor of Pathology and Immunology and he was also a member of the Division of Experimental Pathology and the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In the summer of 2014, he joined the Allegheny Health Network as part of the newly-created Institute of Cellular Therapeutics where he continues his translational medicine research endeavors in the following major areas: i) Immunomodulation approaches for the treatment of autoimmune disease and transplantation tolerance; ii) Regulatory immune cells; iii) Immunomodulation-based clinical trials for diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2). As an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he teaches topics on pancreas and thyroid development and pathology, cell and gene therapy approaches in diabetes mellitus, and immunobiotherapeutics in courses offered by the Department of Pathology and the Department of Immunology. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, where he directs and teaches the Molecular and Cellular Immunology course. He has mentored graduate, MD/PhD students, as well as clinical fellows who have evolved into outstanding clinicians, research scientists and academic faculty in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Giannoukakis is considered a pioneer in the field of tolerogenic dendritic cell therapy for autoimmunity as he was the first to demonstrate the safety and potential efficacy of these cells in preserving the function of the residual insulin-producing cells of the pancreas in type 1 diabetic patients. He is a primary inventor on a number of patents related to gene, cell, and nanoparticle vaccine therapy for autoimmunity and he is one of the founders of RezQ Bio, a biotechnology entity leveraging dendritic cell and nanoparticle vaccine therapy for autoimmunity. He is a regular member of the NIH NIDDK NRSA Fellowship panel and the NSF Drug Delivery and Drug Development SBIR panel.

Apr. 13, 2022
The Pros and Cons of Collaboration in the Era of Team Science - VIEW RECORDING

Time: 3-4:30pm
Location: Zoom
Presenter: Marie Norman, PhD (moderator), Kaleab Abebe, PhD, Jessica Merlin, MD, PhD, MBA, Elizabeth Miller MD, PhD, and Ora Weisz, PhD
Description: This session will draw upon the experiences of accomplished investigators to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with research collaboration. Moderated by Marie Norman, PhD, who will provide a brief overview of Team Science, panelists will talk about what precipitated their first collaborations, what challenges or obstacles have been encountered, and implications of collaboration upon tenure, what advantages and opportunities have resulted from collaborations, and they will share advice for those new to collaborations.   

Archived Video

Presenter Bios:

Marie Norman, PhD, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Institute for Clinical Research Education at the University of Pittsburgh, where she directs the Innovative Design for Education and Assessment (IDEA) Lab and leads online and technology-enhanced educational initiatives. Before coming to the ICRE, Dr. Norman served as Senior Director for Educational Excellence at Acatar, a Carnegie Mellon-based educational technology start-up and Director of Intercultural Education at iCarnegie, which developed educational programs for universities around the globe. Dr. Norman has been part of numerous successful scholarly collaborations, including co-authoring (with four colleagues) How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, which distills learning research into practical strategies for classroom teaching.

Kaleab Abebe, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Biostatistics, and Clinical & Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He directs the Center for Research on Health Care Data Center as well as the Center for Clinical Trials & Data Coordination. Dr. Abebe joined the faculty in 2009 after receiving his PhD in Statistics from the University of Pittsburgh. His collaborative research focuses on design, conduct, coordination, and analysis of multicenter randomized controlled trials (RCTs). He is the PI of two, large NIH-funded consortiums: the COPE-AKI Consortium Scientific & Data Research Center, which is developing and testing interventions to reduce morbidity and mortality in AKI survivors; and the Data Coordinating Center (DCC) for the REBIRTH Study, which will assess the effect of bromocriptine on left ventricular ejection fraction in women with peripartum cardiomyopathy. He is the Co-PI for the CaRISMA study, which is a pragmatic trial examining the effectiveness of computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (vs pain education) on pain intensity in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). Dr. Abebe leads the DCC for the STERIO-SCD study, a phase II trial evaluating safety and tolerability of riociguat in SCD. Most recently, he led the DCC for the TAME-PKD study, which was a phase II RCT assessing safety and tolerability of metformin in polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Additionally, Dr. Abebe collaborates with the Adolescent Medicine Division on the design and analysis of cluster randomized trials in sexual violence prevention. In addition to his research collaborations, Dr. Abebe is the director of the Clinical Trials Track for the MS in Clinical Research at the Institute for Clinical Research Education. He is a standing member of the Kidney, Nutrition, Obesity, and Diabetes (KNOD) Study Section, and he is a member of the Board of Directors and chair of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee for the Society for Clinical Trials.

Jessica Merlin, MD, PhD, MBA, is an Associate Professor in the division of General Internal Medicine and section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). She is a physician and is board certified in internal medicine, infectious disease, palliative care, and addiction medicine. She is also a PhD-trained behavioral scientist and NIH-funded clinician-investigator. Her program of research focuses on the intersection of chronic pain and opioid misuse/use disorder across populations and settings, especially in individuals with serious illnesses like advanced cancer. To that end, she is the MPI of the NIH-funded Tailored Retention and Engagement for Equitable Treatment of Opioid use disorder and Pain (TREETOP) clinical research center, one of four NIH-funded centers focusing on the intersection of pain and opioid use disorder in the US, and the MPI of an R01 to investigate opioid benefits, risks, and decision making in individuals with advanced cancer. Her work in this area is widely published, and she serves as a scientific mentor to many PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty with similar interests. Her commitment to mentoring goes beyond her own scientific mentees: she is the Director of Mentoring for the Institute for Clinical Research Education, Director of the General Internal Medicine clinical research fellowship, and Associate Program Director for research for UPMC’s internal medicine residency program. She has been recognized nationally with a Sojourn Scholars Leadership Award from the Cambia Health Foundation, and with research awards American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, American Pain Society, and Association for Multidisciplinary Education and Research in Substance use and Addiction.

Liz Miller, MD, PhD, FSAHM, is Professor of Pediatrics, Public Health, and Clinical and Translational Science and holds the Edmund R. McCluskey Chair in Pediatric Medical Education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and the Medical Director of Community and Population Health at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She serves as the Academic Co-Director of Community PARTners (the community engagement core) for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.  Trained in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and medical anthropology, she has over 15 years of practice and community-partnered research experience in addressing interpersonal violence prevention among adolescents and young adults in clinical and community settings. She is involved in developing and testing primary violence prevention programs, including one titled “Coaching Boys into Men” which involves training coaches to talk to their male athletes about stopping violence against women, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also co-directs with Ms. Felicia Savage Friedman a landmark collective impact, community-partnered intervention study called The Pittsburgh Study that seeks to identify and evaluate best practices to support child and adolescent health and thriving.

Ora A. Weisz, PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Cell Biology, and Clinical and Translational Science, and Associate Director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh Center for Kidney Research. She also serves as Vice Chair of Faculty Development in the Department of Medicine, Associate Dean for Faculty Development in the School of Medicine, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Faculty Excellence in the Schools of the Health Sciences. Her research program seeks to understand at the molecular level how the kidney proximal tubule recovers filtered proteins in normal and diseased states. Dr. Weisz is a member of the Academy of Master Educators and is the recipient of the Distinguished Mentor Award in the School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association Advocate Award. She is an elected member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and a fellow of the American Physiological Society and the American Society of Cell Biology. Dr. Weisz has participated on numerous NIH study sections and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Function, and the American Journal of Physiology- Cell Physiology and -Renal Physiology, as well as on the American Physiological Society Publications Committee. She recently completed terms as an elected Council member for the American Society of Cell Biology and on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. In her administrative roles, Dr. Weisz directs orientation and mentoring programs for new tenure stream faculty members in the Health Sciences, promotes initiatives to recruit, promote, and retain a diverse faculty, and oversees the School of Medicine Faculty Advancement Awards, which provide competitive funding for faculty investigators challenged by significant extraprofessional responsibilities.

June 1-2, 2022
Write Winning Grant Proposals Seminar - NSF Focus
Time: 8:30am-Noon June 1-2, 2022
Location: Zoom
Presenter: Lauren Broyles, PhD, Associate Member, Grant Writers' Seminars & Workshops

Read the full description for the workshop here

Brief description: This two, 1/2 day virtual seminar comprehensively addresses the practical, conceptual, and rhetorical aspects of writing competitive NSF grant proposals. Emphasis is placed on doing the extra things that can make a proposal successful. This workshop is free to University of Pittsburgh faculty but all participants are required to purchase a copy of the NSF-focused edition of the Grant Application Writer's Workbook. The total cost of the book is $89.99, which includes individual shipping fees to your specified address. The workbook facilitates application of what is learned in the seminar using a step-by-step approach, and participants will also receive an extensive pdf handout during the seminar.
June 9-10, 2022
Write Winning NIH Grant Proposals Workshop / June 13, 2022   Optional Career Development Award Proposals Seminar
Time: 8:30am-Noon June 9-10, 2022, for the NIH Grant Proposal Workshop and 8:30-Noon June 13, 2022, for the optional Career Development Award Proposals Seminar
Location: Zoom
Presenter: Lauren Broyles, PhD, Associate Member, Grant Writers' Seminars & Workshops

Read the full description for the workshop and additional seminar here

Brief description: *Back by popular demand!* The Write Winning NIH Grant Proposals workshop, a widely acclaimed, two-part program developed by academic researchers, comprehensively addresses both pragmatic and conceptual aspects of the R-series proposal-writing process and provides strategies for both. Emphasis is placed on doing the extra things that can make a proposal successful. This workshop is free to University of Pittsburgh faculty but all participants are required to purchase a copy of the Grant Application Writer's Workbook - NIH Version. The total cost of the book is $89.99, which includes individual shipping fees to your specified address. The supplemental, Write Winning NIH Career Development Award Proposals seminar is new this year and emphasizes the required partnership between applicant, mentor, and institution that makes these proposals successful.