Training Grants

Columbia University has several institutional training grants that fund predoctoral candidates in research training with the goal of preparing trainees to have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the country. Many of our prestigious biomedical training programs have been sponsored by Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Awards (T32) for decades. Each of the training grants has a thematic area of research focus and is designed to ensure rigorous training in the biomedical sciences.

Advanced Graduate Training Program in Neurobiology and Behavior (T32NS064928)

The impetus for initiating and continuing this training program is the desire to provide the best possible preparation of our students to fulfill productive careers that draw on their scientific training. In particular, we will support a cadre of students carrying out cross-disciplinary research that has translational significance and relevance to neurological diseases. We will further favor and encourage such research that is directed by co-mentors with different experimental expertise. In addition, we will provide out-of-laboratory training of these and other students in the program via a continuing course in "Professional Skills" and a course in Biology of Neurologic and Psychiatric Disorders". We will also add several new "added value" components to the program via an association with the newly inaugurated Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative (CTNI). The CTNI is dedicated to serving as an umbrella organization to coordinate and enhance basic and translational neuroscience research at Columbia. Aside from the benefits conferred by its overall mission, the CTNI will specifically organize and run a mentored data presentation forum that our supported students will participate in along with other doctoral and post-doctoral trainees. It will also offer our students presentations by clinical faculty of patiens with neurological disorders. These training opportunities are designed to be leveraged so that they benefit our supported trainees as well as other neuroscience-oriented students at Columbia. Oversight will be provided by the directors of the overall Neurobiology and Behavior program, by an outside committee and by feedback from current and past students supported by the program. 

Advanced Graduate Training Program in Theoretical Neuroscience (T32NS064929)

Training occurs at the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University. The Theory Center provides an exceptional environment in which pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and faculty researchers interact and collaborate extensively. Most trainees with be members of the Columbia graduate program in Neurobiology and Behavior (with a small number drawn from other graduate programs) and will take the courses and satisfy the requirements of that program. This will be augmented with both required and a large selection of elective courses in theoretical neuroscience. A distinctive feature of the training program is extensive collaborations with outstanding experimental laboratories both at Columbia and elsewhere that allows our trainees access to the data they need and also, importantly, permits them to learn, first-hand, the techniques and approaches of experimental neuroscience. Our aim is to produce outstanding neuroscientists capable of applying sophisticated methods of data analysis and insightful modeling approaches to experimental data.

Columbia University Graduate Training Program in Microbiology and Immunology (T32AI106711)

The predoctoral Columbia University Graduate Training Program in Microbiology and Immunology provides predoctoral trainees with a unique opportunity to obtain individualized training across a broad spectrum of microbiology and immunology research. This research converges on themes of immune cell and tissue development and homeostasis, pathogen biology, mechanisms of DNA replication and repair, and microbial and immune cell proliferation. These cross-disciplinary interests are being pursued in a highly collaborative and interactive framework that links our 19 training faculty, who are all appointed to the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Our graduate program, built on many decades of successful graduate training, has proven that we can recruit and retain an outstanding cohort of training grant eligible (TGE) applicants. Trainees take courses in microbiology and immunology, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, genetics, quantitative biology, and responsible conduct in research, and are enrolled in workshops on scientific writing and grantsmanship. Students must also pass a qualifying examination that tests their ability to formulate and defend a hypothesis-driven project unrelated to their thesis research. Our programmatic framework includes a Steering Committee that regularly evaluates student and trainer performance, the curriculum, and new applicants; a process to identify the best trainees and mentor them successfully throughout their graduate studies; a mentoring plan for junior trainers, and an External Review Board with Program Directors who provide regular feedback to help optimize program effectiveness. We are confident that our dynamic, rigorous and scientifically innovative training program will mold future academic leaders in microbiology and immunology research who will have acquired the skills to be able to tackle critical topics in infectious diseases and immune regulation.

Graduate Training in Nutrition (T32DK007647)

The overall goal of the predoctoral training program in Nutritional and Metabolic Biology is to train individuals to become leading investigators in the field of nutritional sciences who will contribut substantially to modern biomedical research. The program consists of a highly structured didactic component and a mentored research component. This training program is broadly focused on the nutritional and metabolic sciences. The required didactic training consists of graduate level basic science and nutrition courses and all PhD students participate in the Doctoral Seminar and Reviews in Nutrition course throughout their residence in the training program. All the training faculty have laboratory-based basic science research programs focused on nutrients or nutrition- related diseases such as diabetes, obesity, or cardiovascular disease. Although training focused on basic nutritional research, the program also provides a broad education in clinical and public health nutrition. The initial stages of the program provide comprehensive, structured training in modern biomedical research with a focus on nutrition and nutrition-related questions. Next, trainees are provided with rigorous mentored research training. This research training takes place in the research groups of one of the productive and well- funded independent scientists who comprise the training faculty. The data and narrative provided within this application demonstrate that we are very successfully training individuals committed to careers in research, teaching, and related professions with the fundamental knowledge, skills, and experience that are needed for developing successful, independent nutritional sciences research careers in the 21st Century.

Hormones: Biochemsitry and Molecular Biology (T32DK007328)

The long standing goals of this training grant are to provide support and training to highly motivated predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers in the field of endocrinology and related subjects dealing with all aspects of hormone biology at the physiological, cellular and molecular levels. We endeavor to provide our trainees with a broad intellectual background that includes coursework, experimental expertise, seminars and career advice. The program is aided by our outstanding training faculty and the rich research infrastructure at Columbia University. The training faculty are highly collaborative and have considerable research experience exploring the mechanisms of steroid, retinoid, thyroid and polypeptide hormones as well as the paracrine interactions associated with growth factors, cytokines and important signaling transduction pathways in diverse experimental systems. We continually update our training faculty to reflect the evolving trends in research and the changing Columbia faculty base. Overall, the training program emphasizes excellence in scholarship and research. We have also added a component of career advising. In addition, participation in the program exposes trainees from diverse disciplines to practical applications in endocrinology and highlights translational aspects of their research. We continue to work with our fellows to help them achieve success in their current and future research careers.

Predoctoral Training Grant in Genetics and Development (T32GM007088)

The objectives of the Predoctoral Training Program in Genetics and Development are: to provide a solid and broad education in genetics, including molecular genetics, developmental genetics, and human genetics, to provide rigorous training in scientific research, and to develop a scholarly, ethical and professional attitude in the trainees. The program emphasizes experimental skills and critical thinking, as well as written and oral presentation of ideas and research findings. We teach our students a rigorous scientific approach in the design of experiments and evaluation of data, and provide them with the tools to maintain the highest ethical standards in their work. We encourage students to give and receive constructive criticism and challenge them to be self-critical in order to become capable, independent scholars. 

The TRANSFORM TL1 Training Program for Doctroal Students

The TRANSFORM TL1 Training Program for Doctoral Students in the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research provides doctoral students with one to two years of research training, which run simultaneously with students’ ongoing doctoral training. The program allows doctoral students to gain knowledge and skill-sets that may be outside of their primary academic or clinical discipline. The interdisciplinary education gained as a TL1 trainee will serve as an invaluable asset in conducting future research and collaborating with scientists and investigators from other clinical and academic fields of knowledge. Participation in this program will not necessitate extending an individual’s doctoral training program. Initially awarded for one year and renewed for a second year with satisfactory progress.

Training in Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University (T15LM007079)

Columbia University's Biomedical Informatics Training Program seeks to advance the discipline of biomedical informatics by providing a broad and rigorous formal course exposure paired with intense research training in a strong health-focused environment. Our program is run by Columbia’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, and it offers an exceptionally rich environment as it is closely tied to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Columbia Data Science Institute, the Department of Systems Biology, and departments and schools throughout the university. We have a large, internationally recognized faculty with consistent involvement in national biomedical informatics projects. In addition, our clinical information systems service responsibilities offer trainees opportunities to get first-hand exposure to, and training on, state- of-the-art clinical and research information systems. Our curriculum includes a biomedical informatics core, additional courses in quantitative (including data science) methodology, qualitative methodology, information technology methodology, courses in the application domains, extensive research experience throughout the training period, teaching experience, and instruction on ethics. 

Training in Cardiovascular Translational Research (T32HL120826)

The goal is to train future cardiovascular scientists who have expertise in bringing basic discoveries from the laboratory into clinical practice through development of novel therapeutics. Faculty mentors direct research training in four primary areas: 1) Structural Biology of Cardiovascular Signaling Molecules, including solving structures of ion channels and G-protein coupled receptors; 2) Biophysics of Cardiovascular Cell Signaling, including ion channels, cardiac and smooth muscle signaling; 3) Animal Models of Cardiovascular Diseases, including mice models of heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, and diabetes; and 4) Clinical-Translational Cardiovascular Sciences, including integrated use of human stem cells, genetics of cardiovascular diseases, biomaterial scaffolds and bioreactors, clinical electrophysiology, and heart failure. Pre-doctoral candidates are selected from a large and diverse pool of outstanding applicants to several graduate programs at Columbia University Irving Medical Center: Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Pathobiology and Mechanisms of Disease, the Integrated Program, Nutritional and Metabolic Biology, Pharmacology and Molecular Signaling. The training program provides cardiovascular seminar series, journal clubs, joint laboratory meetings and retreats that foster collaborations and interdisciplinary research. The program takes advantage of the many existing strengths of Columbia University, including the Irving Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CTSA), Mailman School of Public Health, Genome Center, Bioinformatics, and Tissue and Biomedical Engineering.

Training in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies (T32GM008224)

The Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies (CMBS) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center is a PhD granting interdisciplinary program that combines faculty from all the basic science departments. The CMBS Program is an umbrella program that presents students with a unique opportunity to obtain individualized training in basic cell and molecular biology, microbiology, structural biology, biophysics, genetics, immunology, neurobiology, structural biology, systems biology and computational biology, as well as translational biomedical disease-related research, such as cancer biology and neurodegenerative disease research. Our hope is to train the next leaders in biomedical research and also to provide training for future leaders in other areas where a biomedical research background will be of great benefit. The CMBS program has a distinguished, well-funded faculty, whose research expertise represents nearly all the areas of modern cellular and molecular biology, neurobiology and computational biology. Our graduates have gone on to postdoctoral positions in outstanding laboratories, careers in academia, the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry, or careers where they use their biomedical training to provide other societal benefits. 

Vision Sciences Training Grant (T32EY013933)

Training focuses on analysis of the visual pathways from eye to brain, and cellular, molecular and genetic aspects of the normal and diseased eye, in both basic science and disease-oriented research. Twenty-seven training faculty who are members of biomedical doctoral programs are distributed on three campuses of Columbia University. The research carried out by the mentors and trainees matches the goals in NEI's promotion of eye and vision research, including the Audacious Goals Initiative. Trainees are recruited from selective graduate programs such as the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior, and the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, both of which host MD-PhD students, and by advertisement. Through activities such as courses, thesis committees, symposia, seminars, and the Greater New York Vision Club (VisioNYC), it is expected that faculty and trainees will interact, collaborate, and produce a new generation of vision scientists who will elucidate information processing, development, and disease in the visual system.