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General Information

This training program is funded by a National Research Service Award (NRSA) sponsored by NHLBI. The NRSA program provides funding to research institutions to support pre- and post-doctoral training in areas of particular interest to the Institute and to prepare individuals for careers in biomedical and behavioral research.

Under the conditions of the NRSA that supports our program, trainees receive a 12 month stipend for each year of the program, where the amount of the stipend is very generous and equivalent to that offered by other training programs in the NCSU Department of Statistics. Trainees also receive tuition and fees. Funds are also available for trainee travel to scientific conferences that are relevant to their professional development.

Eligibility and trainee selection

As with all NRSA predoctoral training programs, trainees are required to pursue their research training full-time and must be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or legal permanent residents of the United States. Persons on temporary or student visas are not eligible. Trainees are selected from among student applicants to the Ph.D. programs in the Department of Statistics at NCSU and the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Duke and from current Ph.D. students in both programs. Qualifications for applicants to the program are identical to those for applicants to both Ph.D. programs.

Interested applicants and current students in each Department should contact the Program Co-Director.

Program of study

Most trainees will enter the program in the fall and be assigned a mentorship team consisting of Program Faculty at NCSU and Duke. Trainees who are entering Ph.D. students with a Bachelors degree will spend their first year following the "core" Departmental programs of coursework. In addition, they will spend one or two days per month at DCRI sitting in on various meetings of DCRI research project teams, which is meant to introduce them to the breadth of CVD research taking place at DCRI and to help them assimilate some of the important terminology and issues in CVD science. During the following summer, trainees will study for qualifying exams and visit DCRI once a month. In subsequent years, trainees will continue to follow their core programs of course work, rounding this out with elective biostatistics courses, courses in cardiovascular medicine fundamentals, and courses in the responsible conduct of research chosen in consultation with their mentors. Trainees will increase the time they spend at DCRI in each year. In the second year, trainees will be assigned to one or two project teams chosen by the Co-Program Directors andin accordance with their interests and will participate in design and analysis activities. In the following years they will gradually increase their responsibilities as they learn more about CVD research, evolving into full-fledged collaborators working with clinicians and lead Ph.D. biostatisticians at DCRI to conceive, design, and analyze studies. Trainees will also have the opportunity to gain valuable mentoring skills themselves through a stint either teaching an undergraduate statistics course or serving as a teaching assistant/mentor for the Summer Institute in Biostatistics (SIBS). In consultation with program faculty through working groups, trainees will ultimately identify a dissertation topic, developed from methodological challenges arising in their collaborative experiences. Most trainees transition to another source of support, such as a research grant, after two years of NRSA support.

The experience for trainees who begin the program as current students in either Department will be similar, tailored the individual trainee's situation.