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Graduate Training at NHLBI

Research Training

Graduate Training in the NHLBI intramural program is designed to train the next generation of leaders in Biomedical Science.  Ph.D. research at NHLBI laboratories spans the entire spectrum from basic biochemistry and molecular, cellular, developmental and structural biology to translational research.  A complete list of NHLBI investigators with links to their recent publications is available at Areas of study include developmental biology, cell biology, molecular biology, computational biology, immunology, neuroscience, virology, and biological imaging. Graduate students use NHLBI are state-of-the-art core facilities devoted to proteomics, light microscopy, flow cytometry, bioinformatics and transgenic animal production and characterization. 

Ph.D. programs at NIH are administered through the Graduate Partnerships Program.  Prospective students in these Partnerships apply as they would for normal graduate education.  Once admitted, students are supported by NIH (stipend and tuition) for their entire graduate career at NIH. They spend their first year taking courses at the home University and then move to NIH for their thesis research.  Several of these are International Partnerships that allow students to do their first year overseas.

NHLBI participates in an M.D./Ph.D. program through the Graduate Program Partnerships.  Students who are admitted or enrolled to one of the GPP programs are eligible for  this program.  Once admitted to any U.S. Medical School with a Medical Scientist Training Program, NHLBI provides funds to the MSTP for that student.  An additional mechanism open to NHLBI graduate students is the NHLBI F30 NRSA Award for MD/PhD students.

Advanced graduate students who wish to do their research at NIH are also welcome at NHLBI.  Students can be enrolled in an American or Foreign University.  Interested students should contact the appropriate investigator at NHLBI who will then determine the suitability of the student for their laboratory. 

Career Development Activities

Training at NHLBI is not just designed to provide the essentials of research, but recognizes that fellows need to acquire all the skills necessary for success, including skills in writing and presentation of research data, grant writing, and how to find the best position. The NHLBI has an Office of Education specifically devoted to the career progress of graduate students. An annual NHLBI Fellows Retreat allows fellows to present their research data and meet other fellows and also highlights career development issues. The Office also sponsors a monthly seminar series on career development. The DIR Office of Education Fellows Advisory Committee assists the Office of Education in planning these programs. Graduate students also gain mentoring and teaching experience by helping supervise the research of summer fellows  in NHLBI laboratories. Graduate students are encouraged to take courses at the NIH  where appropriate. Courses available include computer courses and basic, advanced, and technical science courses in molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry, biostatistics, microbiology and clinical investigation. These are offered for credit by the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES).   In addition, there are special programs and courses which provide skills for fellows in scientific leadership and career development. Support is provided for graduate students to attend national and international meetings. A monthly newsletter keeps fellows informed of the activities within NHLBI. Please download a copy.

Stipends and Support

Predoctoral trainees at the NHLBI may be funded for up to 5 years, including a competitive stipend and medical benefits. US Citizens and Permanent Residents are paid through the Intramural Research and Training Act ("IRTA Fellows") while foreign fellows are considered "Visiting Fellows".  Through the Division of International Services, NIH offers visa assistance for foreign-trained applicants. The stipend levels are the same and are subject to yearly adjustment. Fellows with their own financial support from outside organizations are also welcome to apply. The Office of Education staff is available to assist applicants seeking outside or additional support.

Success Stories

Trainees in the NHLBI DIR have found positions at Academic and Industrial Laboratories, and have gone on to careers in many different areas. Information about some recent fellows is available on Recent Fellows at NHLBI page.

How to Apply

Information about specific Graduate Program Partnerships is available on the GPP Web Site.   Advanced graduate students should contact individual investigators.  Questions can be directed to the Office of Education, Division of Intramural Research, NHLBI, Building 10, Room 2N242, MSC 1754, Bethesda, MD 20892-1754, Tel: 301-451-9440, Fax: 301-594-8133 or e-mail:

Last modified: April 7, 2006

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