National Eye Institute Clinician Scientist Development Program

Thank you for your interest in this program. For information on other positions available through the NEI, please visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/jobs/.

Overview

A New Program Announcement from the Intramural Program of the National Eye Institute

The National Eye Institute (NEI) Division of Intramural Research announces a Clinician Scientist Career Development Program (CSCDP) designed for board eligible/certified clinicians who seek additional training to develop an independent research program that integrates the field of vision research with clinical study of patients with ocular disease or disorders. The participants will be given support to develop their own integrated, clinical laboratory science research program that could then serve as the basis for an independent research career. The goal of the program is to train investigators who will be competitive for independent investigator positions at the NEI, other NIH Institutes, or other top medical research centers.

The clinician scientist, with the assistance of a mentor, will design a project that will integrate bench research with the direct study and/or treatment of human subjects. The NEI will provide a competitive salary and an infrastructure to support the project, including laboratory space and supplies, clinical research resources, and support staff. The program is renewable, annually, for up to five years.

The program is open to clinicians who have completed their training within the past five years. Applicants are not required to have substantial laboratory research experience but must demonstrate an aptitude for, and commitment to, research. For additional details see program information.

The NIH is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from women and minorities.

Contact
Applications and questions regarding the Clinician Scientist Career Development Program should be addressed to:

Sarah Sohraby, M.D, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Division of Intramural Research
National Eye Institute
31 Center Drive
Building 31, Room 6A22
Bethesda, MD 20892

Phone: (301) 451-6763
Fax: (301) 451-6764
Email: sohrabys@nei.nih.gov

Program Information

Introduction

The Clinician Scientist Career Development Program (CSCDP) is a mentored clinical research position. The program lasts for three to five years during which time the incumbent designs and implements an integrated translational research program. The key elements of support for the program are that it is prospectively and stably funded, that defined mentorship is provided, and that the program takes advantage of the intramural research environment of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the NIH Clinical Center. The participant, with the assistance of a mentor, will design a translational research project that is of interest to the candidate and takes advantage of the research strengths of the intramural NIH environment.

Goals

The mission of the NEI is to conduct and support research that helps prevent and treat eye diseases and other vision disorders. Because we believe that the clinician scientist plays a crucial role in accomplishing this mission, we seek to promote career development opportunities for clinicians committed to pursuing translational research. Our goal is to assist in the development of a cadre of researchers who can compete for independent investigator positions at the best institutions in the world and produce a body of work that substantially advances the understanding of vision diseases and improves public health.

Definitions

The program is not a fellowship, and it is anticipated that most participants will have already completed a clinical fellowship. We recognize that tenure track research faculty positions are very competitive and that the typical sub-specialty fellowship often does not provide the necessary research experience upon which to build an independent research career, particularly when clinical research with human patients is involved. The purpose of the CSCDP is to provide the necessary additional career development opportunity, with formal mentorship and strong research support. The NEI CSCDP serves as a bridge to an independent investigator position and enables the participant to focus on the creation of a viable research program.

Funding

Intramural research at the NIH provides important advantages. The applicant does not have to write grant applications, and there is no teaching requirement. Automatic funding is provided once the participant is appointed. Annual demonstration of appropriate progress will ensure continued funding throughout the training period.

The NIH/NEI Environment

The intramural research program of the NIH is unique. The NIH Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center is an enormous research center, the largest in the world. The Center has 267 inpatient beds and 15 outpatient clinics, manages 7,000 inpatient admissions yearly, and provides state-of-the-art diagnostic, treatment, surgical, and research facilities to 1,200 credentialed clinicians, dentists and Ph.D. researchers and clinical experts across many disciplines. The Clinical Center provides care only for patients participating in research protocols; non-research patients are not admitted to the Center. This creates an environment that is completely oriented toward clinical research and the development of translational research skills.

The NEI supports a number of clinically-oriented research programs at the Clinical Center/NIH campus facilities. Scientists perform research in numerous areas including angiogenesis; genetic, genomic, and proteomic expression; sensory/motor coordination; and immunology and infectious diseases. A complete description of NEI’s intramural scientific portfolio can be found at http://www.nei.nih.gov/intramural/. Specific NEI clinical trials being conducted at the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland can be found at http://clinicalstudies.info.nih.gov/cgi/protinstitute.cgi?NEI.0.html and include among others: imaging/diagnostic studies on corneal dry eye, diabetic macular edema, cataract, and vision motor disorders; nutritional, pharmacologic, and/or gene therapies for retinal vascular and genetically-inherited ocular diseases; and laser approaches and supplemental methodologies for neovascularization in age-related macular degeneration.

The clinical program is centrally managed by the Office of the Clinical Director http://www.nei.nih.gov/intramural/cbranch which consists of a state-of-the-art outpatient facility and a multidisciplinary team of ophthalmic imagers, technicians, and research coordinators, all highly skilled and trained to support clinical research. The outpatient facility sees over 9000 outpatient-study visits annually, with over half being inter-institute consultations that provide opportunities for collaboration with investigators from high profile clinical programs throughout NIH. These consultations provide an interesting mix of rare pathologies such as: neurocysticercosis (NIAID), metastatic melanoma-a disease with autoimmune ocular inflammation (NCI), graft versus host disease with ocular involvement (NHLBI), and Wegener’s granulomatosis (NIAID).

The Office of the Clinical Director also offers assistance and advice on protocol development, regulatory compliance issues, data management, and quality assurance to ensure that clinical studies are conducted safely and within regulatory requirements.

Candidates Eligible for CSCDP

Candidates should be able to demonstrate outstanding credentials, though it is not necessary to demonstrate specific prior research skills. We seek talented and insightful clinicians who have a strong interest in research and can identify a relevant research topic. The goal of the program is to provide participants with the tools to succeed in the design and execution of the research project. We expect that the applicants will be board certified or board eligible in a specialty or subspecialty. It is anticipated that most participants will have already completed a clinical fellowship. We seek individuals from all specialties who can present a case that the field of vision research is relevant to clinical questions in that specialty.

NIH Tenure Track Eligibility

Tenure track positions in the intramural NIH program are filled following a national search and with the concurrence of the Scientific Director of the Institute and the Deputy Director of Intramural Research. Successful completion of the CSCDP is not a guarantee of a tenure track appointment at the NEI or another NIH institute. However, any participant who completes the CSCDP should be extremely competitive for these positions, either within the NIH intramural program or at other academic medical research institutions eager to hire talented clinician scientists.

Resources

The program provides a generous set of resources for 3-5 years that maximizes the participant’s chances of success. This support includes: a competitive salary; support for a full-time laboratory technician and a part-time clinical research coordinator; office and laboratory space; and funding for laboratory reagents, supplies, and clinical research costs. Reasonable travel funds for attendance at scientific meetings are also provided.

Application Process

Applicants should submit a curriculum vita, a brief letter of interest, and a letter of recommendation from the director of their most recent clinical training program (usually the fellowship program director) to the coordinator of the CSCDP program. A candidate selection committee will review the applications, and suitable applicants will be invited to NIH in Bethesda, Maryland to meet with the committee and other faculty of the institute to further discuss the program. Tentative acceptance to the program will be offered to qualified applicants at which point they will identify a mentor and begin to design a research project. Final acceptance into the program will be offered by the NEI Director of Intramural Research after receipt and final approval of a written proposal prepared by the applicant with the assistance and concurrence of the mentor.

The NIH is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from women and minorities.

Contact
Applications and questions regarding the Clinician Scientist Career Development Program should be addressed to:

Sarah Sohraby, M.D, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
Division of Intramural Research
National Eye Institute
31 Center Drive
Building 31, Room 6A22
Bethesda, MD 20892

Phone: (301) 451-6763
Fax: (301) 451-6764
Email: sohrabys@nei.nih.gov

DHHS, NIH and NEI are Equal Opportunity Employers.

Last Reviewed: January 2012