As a recently graduated student at the NIH, in partnership with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I felt so privileged to be a member of this amazing community of scientists, and I want to create awareness that there are opportunities for graduate students to do research in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP). The NIH IRP provides training to scientists at every level of experience.
The Ebola vaccine developed by Dr. Nancy Sullivan at NIAID is a Women’s History Month highlight: women developed the vaccine and coordinated and led the clinical trial, and a woman was the first volunteer to receive the vaccine. “That wasn’t planned, but it’s kind of remarkable,” said Sullivan. She explained her work to President Barack Obama in person.
The brain’s complexity and how its coordinated actions of billions of neurons shape our behavior and cognition have always fascinated me. So, I decided to go into neuroscience as a career and contribute to biomedical science.
Each day, hundreds of thousands of biomedical researchers around the world design and execute studies, with diverse trajectories and outcomes and where success is based largely on reproducibility. However, a large percentage of experiments using cell culture techniques have been labelled as irreproducible, with around 25 percent of all cell-line research described as either contaminated with other cells or mischaracterized in some way. In other words, if your kidney cancer cell isn’t really a kidney cancer line, then how will anyone else be able to reproduce your work?
We are all given a name by our parents, nicknames by friends, roles and titles in school and at work. In my life, I have been known as “Goose,” “that blonde girl over there,” and, most commonly, “Lucy.” Here at the NIH, my most important title is that of “postbac,” or, more endearingly, “fledgling scientist.” Although this title does not necessarily command awestruck wonder, it does indicate recent graduates’ integral roles in labs at the NIH. The road to success is long, yet well worn, and we all have our own starting points.
Jill Koshiol, Ph.D., is an epidemiologist and one of eight Stadtman Investigators who joined the NIH IRP in 2009-2010, the search's inaugural recruitment year. As a tenure-track principal investigator within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), Dr. Koshiol and her team study the epidemiology of infectious agents and cancer, and they are increasingly interested in the role of immune stimulation and inflammation in carcinogenesis.
In the following Q&A, Dr. Koshiol shares some thoughts on how she became a scientist and what's its like to conduct biomedical research at the NIH IRP.
February 19, 2015 kicked off one of the largest celebrations on Earth, the Chinese New Year. For the next 15 days, people around the world ushered in good luck and prosperity by gathering with friends and loved ones to celebrate the Year of the Goat—or Sheep, depending on translation—which is the eighth animal of 12 within the Chinese zodiac. Looking back 24 trips-around-the-sun, to the year of the Goat/Sheep in 1991, it was a particularly busy and successful time for the NIH IRP.
“Know your enemy” describes the work of Dr. Sarah Branham (1888-1962). She dedicated much of her career to understanding meningitis, identifying different strains, and developing the effective tests and treatments for the disease in anti-serum and sulfa drugs.
In this September 1937 photo, Branham and technician Robert Forkish inoculate a mouse with meningococcus antiserum to determine whether it will protect against meningitis:
Academic job applications typically include a cover letter, CV, research statement, summary of previous research, and a teaching statement. My number one recommendation on how to prepare your packet is to get several examples from your colleagues, such as a previous postdoc from your lab who recently started his or her own lab, or a new assistant professor/investigator in your current department...