The University of Michigan Older Americans Independence Center (UM OAIC; directed by Dr. Raymond Yung), in collaboration with the Michigan Alzheimer Disease Core Center (MADCC; directed by Dr. Henry Paulson), will be hosting our annual research retreat on the topic of “Aging and Disease: The Biogerontology Interface”, in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan May 30-May 31, 2019. As Director of the UM OAIC Research Education Core (REC), I am the retreat coordinator. Roger Albin, MADCC Research Education Component Core Director, will be assisting with the research retreat.
The goal of the research retreat is to assist talented junior faculty members to learn more about current problems and progress in this area, and to provide these scientists with candid feedback about their own research ideas. Based on the needs and interests of the junior faculty participants, we will invite external reviewers and speakers, to complement our local UM experts. The retreat will feature research seminars presented by our two external Keynote Speakers, as well as presentations by UM senior faculty on topics related to research career development. We will provide at least partial travel support for external junior faculty attendees.
Much of the workshop will be devoted to “mock” study sections at which junior faculty members will have the opportunity to have their own grant proposals reviewed by their colleagues and by experienced senior faculty scholars. By reviewing projects of their peers, and hearing the critiques of experienced reviewers, participants gain valuable insights into the peer review process that may improve their own grant-writing skills. This is also an outstanding opportunity to network with both leading senior and “up-and-coming” junior researchers. Note that we frequently hear later how much the feedback and insight from these sessions helped lead to successful grant funding.
Relevant proposals could address (but are not limited to) important topics such as aging and oxidative stress, T-cell immunology, mitochondrial function, atherogenesis, and fatty acid metabolism. Disease mechanism research related to dementias is welcome, as is preclinical-translational work using dementia disease models. Both invertebrate and vertebrate (especially rodent) models are relevant, as is research using clinical materials and bioinformatics approaches.
Each junior faculty member selected for this workshop will be expected to provide us by mid-April a copy of a grant proposal on which he or she wishes to receive advice. Participants usually submit an application that is currently under review or in the late stages of preparation. The form of the application is flexible (e.g. NIH, NSF, VA, foundation), but must contain at least five pages of scientific narrative describing the background, preliminary data, and research goals of the scientific program proposed. An abstract and explanation of the type of proposal submitted are also required.
Each junior faculty participant will also receive from us, by early May, 2 – 3 applications submitted by his or her colleagues, and will be asked to prepare a short written critique that is intended to help the applicant, pointing out strengths and possible weaknesses of the research plan and its presentation. These critiques will then form the basis for the mock study sections at the retreat itself. Each participant will thus receive comments from at least two of the other participants, plus one or more senior faculty members who play a role in the study section process.
Funds are available to defray costs of participation in this retreat.
We would be grateful if you could have junior faculty colleagues who want to participate in this program contact either of us. They should describe how participation would benefit their research, indicate the type of grant to be submitted, and submit a copy of their CV to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neil Alexander MD
Ivan Duff Collegiate Professor
Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine Research Professor
Institute of Gerontology Director
VA Ann Arbor Health Care System GRECC
Roger L. Albin, MD
Anne B. Young Collegiate Professor of Neurology
Associate Director for Research
VA Ann Arbor Health Care System GRECC