R&R REDEFINED?
Training Retreat Offers Model for Teaching Research Skills

At CC Grand Rounds, longtime NIH grantee Dr. Keith Sullivan makes the case for a retreatstyle training module.
At CC Grand Rounds, longtime NIH grantee Dr. Keith Sullivan makes the case for a retreatstyle training module.

Usually when someone mentions getting a little “R&R,” thoughts of vacation come to mind. Now, though, rest and relaxation have a good reason to make room for “retreat and research.” That’s because a novel model for training early-career scientists has gained international attention—and applause—both from newbies as well as veterans in the research community.

At a recent Clinical Center Grand Rounds, Duke University’s Dr. Keith Sullivan presented “Academic Research Skills for the Physician-Scientist: From the Outer Banks to the Singapore Straits.”

The James B. Wyngaarden professor of medicine in the division of cellular therapy at Duke University Medical Center, Sullivan, who is also an NIH grantee supported by NCI, NHLBI and NIAID for more than 40 years, described a different kind of educational venue he and colleagues developed almost two decades ago to address gaps in traditional instruction.

“It’s not part of the repertoire of research institutions,” he explained, “to train individuals in those skill sets—writing, grants and protocol development—but more importantly, is this what you want to do in life? Is this what your family wants to do in life? And how can you be successful in that endeavor?”

Read more
Citizen Scientists Are Advancing NIH’s Mission

Amy Sterling, executive director of EyeWire
Amy Sterling, executive director of EyeWire

Engaging the public directly in the scientific research process, also known as “citizen science,” can yield better data and new insights. That was the take-home message at the “Engaging Citizen Scientists to Advance Biomedical Research” symposium held in Bldg. 45 recently.

The symposium, sponsored by NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology, showcased citizen scientist success stories in the biomedical world. The NIH citizen science working group put on the event.

“We get data we wouldn’t have otherwise and we get the insights and context that come along with that data,” said Dr. Jennifer Couch, chief of the Structural Biology and Molecular Applications Branch in NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology and co-chair of the working group, during opening remarks. “We also benefit from the creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills of the public.”

First, Amy Sterling spoke about her experience as executive director of EyeWire, an online game that challenges players to map the 3-D structure of neurons in the retina of a mouse. Melissa Martin, an EyeWire gamer, spoke about why she plays.

Read more