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STARS T32 Pre-Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Programs

Program Overview

The translational science lifecycle combines disciplines, resources, expertise, and techniques to improve prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics, and ultimately health. To succeed in this transdisciplinary field requires distinctive skills, including a deep appreciation of multiple domains, a team science outlook, and an aptitude for cross-discipline communication.  

Our conceptual framework organizes the translational continuum into three Spheres of Translation Across the Research Spectrum (STARS):

Discovery emphasizes: mechanism studies, improved disease characterization, gene finding, personalized treatment, disease monitoring, drug discovery, drug delivery, novel algorithm development and discovery software.

Demonstration emphasizes: clinical trials, the development of tools for clinical and population decision making, the development of best practices, and the implementation of evidence-based research into clinical settings.

Dissemination emphasizes: risk communication, visual design, comparative effectiveness research, patient-provider communication, bioethics, and translation to population health.

The T32 will create a community of scholars with commanding knowledge and experiences across all three translational spheres, and a deep commitment to transdisciplinary team science; thereby producing a new generation of scientists with strategic translational emphases whose breadth of knowledge and ability to communicate across the STARS will increase transdisciplinary cross-fertilization, accelerating healthcare advances.   

Our program faculty include leaders across each of these three areas and includes faculty from across health sciences campus.  

Trainees emerging from this program will carry with them a unique set of skills and the expertise to succeed in their chosen focus and achieve their career aspirations 

Program Details:

Each trainee will be required to have a primary and secondary mentor from two different spheres. The list of mentors is found under the Mentors tab. Mentors not included in these lists may also be eligible to participate in the program after a short application process. At application, only the primary mentor is identified. Secondary mentors will be identified in the first months of the training program.

Training will include translational science, team science, entrepreneurship, community engagement, ethics, grant and manuscript writing, communication, management, and leadership development. Additionally, trainees will receive holistic mentoring and career guidance.

Program Requirements:

  1. Dual-Mentored Research: Each Trainee is required to participate in dual-mentored research with at least one mentor from two of three spheres and should spend time in both mentors’ research space.
  2. Seminars related to primary and secondary sphereTrainees will be required to attend seminars related to their research interests in the two spheres.
  3. Seminar Attendance: Trainees will be required to attend the ‘STARS Conference’ and ‘What is?’ Seminar. The STARS conference is designed to guide participants from trainee to translational scholar in a constructive and supportive environment. The presentations from trainees and mentors will be a combination of, immersion reports/discussions, career training, and chalk talks. This course will provide trainees the opportunity to be exposed to research across all three spheres and successful demonstration of team science, and to receive feedback from leadership, faculty, and other trainees. The What is? Seminar brings together program faculty, other experts across the UU campus, and visiting scholars who will present an educational perspective of their research/expertise area. This course will provide training on diverse translational topics across the continuum. Each seminar is 1 hour per month.
  4. Translational Training Retreat and Translational Medicine Symposium: Trainees will be expected to attend and present at these CTSI-sponsored events.
  5. Mentoring Team: Trainees will be expected to organize and meet with a mentoring team consisting of 2 scientific mentors (from 2 spheres), a near-peer mentor (junior faculty aligned with their interests), and will be assigned an administrative mentor (from the training grant leadership).
  6. Individual Development Plan (IDP): Trainees are expected to complete an IDP and review the IDP with their mentoring team.
  7. Immersions (3 x 10-hour): The goal of immersions is to use experiential learning to add translational breadth. All trainees are required to undertake three immersions (10-hour minimum per immersion) in the Spring/Summer semesters. All trainees are required to do 1 immersion in diversity, equity or inclusion. Immersions opportunities include clinical (e.g., shadowing), laboratory (wet or dry), externships, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  8. Coursework: All trainees will be required to supplement their current training with additional coursework, depending on the trainee background. One course in grant writing is required. Additional courses that are not listed may also be appropriate for this program.
  9. STARS-bridge Proposal: Working with primary and secondary scientific mentors, trainees will write a three-page report articulating how their primary research project could connect to a secondary sphere in future research. The goal of this project is to provide example-based, hands-on exploration of the opportunities and specifics to bridging translational domains. This short report also provides a concrete experience in team science within the mentoring model. Required for all trainees in Summer semester year 1.
  10. Leadership and Career Development and Management I & II (1.0 CR each):This new two-semester course will help trainees identify and understand their values, strengths, and professional identity; and to apply those factors to improve their impact through their research. Leadership and career development topics include: value identification; networking and knowing one’s message; relating well to peers, leaders, and staff; and how to use skills and goals to have an impact. Career guidance and management training includes: communication skills (elevator pitches, presentations, job talks), negotiation, resilience, and project management (planning, budgeting, staffing, giving feedback).
  11. Clinical and Community Outreach: At the conclusion of their two-year training, trainees will present their research at appropriate clinical grand rounds or Science Café. The Science Café is a Utah CTSI initiative that brings scientific and clinical experts into the community to discuss strategies to promote health and addresses a topic of study facilitated by the Utah CTSI. Second Year funding is contingent upon the renewal of CTSI parent grant.
  12. Responsible Conduct of Research: All trainees are required to complete Responsible Conduct of Research Training. The following courses or training fulfill the program requirement: MDCRC 6430 Bioethical Issues in Clinical ResearchPHIL/MBIOL 7570 Case Studies and Research EthicsResponsible Conduct of Research Certificate(R.A.T.S. program), CITI Program Human Research Basic CourseCITI Program Good Clinical Practices Course
  13. Program Evaluations: Trainees will be required to fill out annual evaluation surveys.

For Application

Required Documents

  1. Curriculum vitae, including the following: a) Degree(s) earned, include month/year earned; b) Research Experience and other Positions, include month/year of start/end dates; c) Identify any prior NRSA or other grant support; d) presentations; e) publications; f) awards/honors received.
  2. Project Abstract. A lay-science summary of the intended project, including title and scientific aims. Font must be 11 pt Arial with at least .5 inch margins. Max 1 page (including Figures/Tables), excluding references.
  3. Letter of Interest. Should include: description of prior research and experience; how the project (Project Abstract) fits in the translational spectrum; career goals; rationale for interest in the T32 Program, and description of how participation in the Program would facilitate achievement of those goals; and a plan for current and/or potential contributions to diversity through teaching, professional activity, and/or service (EDI plan). 
  4. 1-2 letter/s of support from previous training supervisors. Letters should be sent directly to lyalya.sultanova@hsc.utah.edu.
  5. One letter of support from a T32 mentor (selected primary scientific mentor) that describes their commitment to mentoring you and a description of how the proposed research project would fit in with the mentor’s research program. The letter should state their commitment to you to participate fully in this program and their commitment to multidisciplinary science and working within a framework of multiple mentors. Letter should be sent directly to lyalya.sultanova@hsc.utah.edu

Contact Us

Lyalya Sultanova
Grants and Contracts Officer
Email: lyalya.sultanova@hsc.utah.edu