On hand at the PRAT symposium were (seated, from l) Megan Wyeth, Nadine Samara,
Carrie Lucas. Standing are (from l) Katrina Kelner, Chad Brocker, Evgeny Kiselev, Leslie
Leinwand, Jessica Faupel-Badger.
Photo: Bill Branson
Postdoctoral fellows, their mentors and other intramural and extramural scientists
filled balcony A in the Natcher Bldg. on June 10 for the 47th annual NIGMS
Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) program symposium. The event featured
remarks about issues in scientific publishing from Science Translational
Medicine editor—and PRAT alumna—Dr. Katrina Kelner, a research talk by Dr.
Leslie Leinwand of the University of Colorado and presentations by the program’s
five third-year fellows.
When NIGMS established the program in 1965, the letter P in PRAT stood for
“pharmacology,” but in 2012 it was changed to “postdoctoral” to reflect the
broadening of the scientific areas that the program supports.
As the first cohort of fellows that entered under the new name, the “graduating”
class of 2015 is representative of the expanding scope of the program. The fellows
worked in five different NIH institutes in the fields of chemistry, neurobiology,
immunology, molecular biophysics and molecular toxicology.
“The PRAT program brings together fellows from a diverse array of scientific disciplines
to learn from each other,” said program director Dr. Jessica Faupel-Badger.
“It’s truly a multi-disciplinary activity.”
The program aims to give postdoctoral fellows networking and career development
opportunities in addition to formal research training.
“The focus of PRAT is on our growth beyond the bench through mentorship,
leadership and professional development,” said Dr. Nadine Samara, a third-year
PRAT fellow and one of the event’s speakers. “This kind of support is essential
since research careers are often marked by a series of failures and very few, but
highly rewarding, successes.”
The PRAT program is currently accepting applications for the next class of fellows.
The due date for applications is Oct. 2.—Ruchi Shah