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Biomedical Research Training Program for Individuals
from Underrepresented Groups
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
Office of the Director
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Revised: September 2014
Training Program Description
Types of Training Assignments
Application Process (Online Application)
Websites of interest
Training Assignment and Duration
Types of Leave
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has established a
Biomedical Research Training Program for Individuals from Underrepresented
Groups (BRTPUG) that offers opportunities for underrepresented post
baccalaureate individuals to receive training in basic, translational, and
clinical research. Individuals must have a specific intention to further pursue
an advanced degree after training.
The purpose of BRTPUG is to enhance career opportunities in biomedical sciences
for post baccalaureate individuals, from health disparity groups, who are
planning to apply to graduate or professional
(medical/dental/veterinary/pharmacy) school with a career goal of becoming a
doctorally-trained scientist or physician-scientist. The NIH is particularly
interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention of the following classes
of candidates: (A) Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been
shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in
health-related sciences on a national basis. The following racial and ethnic
groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African
Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native
Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that
underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or
ethnic groups that can be convincingly demonstrated to be underrepresented by
the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program. (B)
Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or
mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
(C) Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as: (1)
Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established
low-income thresholds. (2) Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or
educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city
environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the
individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to
develop and participate in a research career. Recruitment and retention of
individuals from a disadvantaged background are most applicable to high school
and perhaps undergraduate candidates, but would be more difficult to justify for
individuals beyond that level of achievement. The Program supports individuals
that will pursue basic science, clinical, biomedical or behavioral health
research careers including clinical and laboratory medicine, epidemiology, and
biostatistics as applied to the etiology and treatment of heart, blood vessel,
lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders. Increasing diversity in the future
research workforce may contribute ultimately to the elimination of health
disparities in cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders in
The NHLBI provides leadership for a national program of research in diseases of
the heart, blood vessels, lung, and blood, and in the uses and management of
blood resources and sleep disorders. The NHLBI plans, conducts, fosters, and
supports an integrated and coordinated program of research.
Two divisions of the Institute are involved in the BRTPUG program: the Division
of Intramural Research (DIR) and the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences -
Prevention and Population Sciences Program (DCVS-PPSP). Research experiences
available to students include the following:
- basic research on normal and abnormal cellular behavior at the
- clinical research on the normal and abnormal pathophysiologic
functioning of the heart, lungs, and blood and in genetic studies of inherited
diseases of these systems,
- translational research on the development of community-based
interventions targeting social determinants of cardiovascular risk and obesity,
- training in epidemiology, clinical trials, and biostatistics
relating to the prevalence, etiology, prevention, and treatment of heart,
vascular, pulmonary, and blood diseases.
Training Program Description
The BRTPUG offers each participant the opportunity to work closely with leading
research scientists in NHLBI laboratories and offices. The program is designed
to provide trainees with hands-on training in a research environment and an
opportunity to present their scientific research at national meetings. These
research training experiences will prepare students to continue their studies
and advance their career in clinical and basic research. .
Types of Training Assignments
- The Division of Intramural Research (DIR): Research
training is offered in all of the labs and branches of the Division of
Intramural Research, and is also available in the NHLBI core facilities devoted
to proteomics, genomics, flow cytometry, stem cells, light microscopy, electron
microscopy and bioinformatics.
Clinical research training is available in the:
- Hematology Branch
- Cardio-Pulmonary Branch
Basic Science research training is available in the:
- Genetics and Developmental Biology Center,
- Immunology Center,
- Molecular Medicine Center,
- Systems Biology Center,
- Cell Biology and Physiology Center, and
- Biochemistry and Biophysics Center
Projects can encompass basic, translational, and clinical aspects of research.
The research activities for the training assignments may include:
- the mechanisms of gene regulation,
- retroviral-mediated gene transfer and gene therapy,
- molecular basis of lung diseases and design of new therapeutic
- biochemistry and biophysics of contractile proteins and
- molecular and cellular processes for the conversion of
metabolic energy into useful work,
- molecular basis of transmembrane signaling,
- pathophysiology of renal function at the cellular and
- biochemistry of trace nutrients,
- enzyme kinetics, metabolic regulation, and protein chemistry,
- computational approaches to biological and chemical questions,
- developmental biology,
- systems biology,
- molecular immunology and cytokines,
- imaging technologies for visualizing organ and cellular
- development of community-based interventions targeting social
determinants of cardiovascular risk and obesity.
- The Division of Cardiovascular Sciences - Prevention and
Population Sciences Program (DCVS-PPSP) will provide training in the
basic principles of design, implementation, and analysis of epidemiology studies
and clinical trials.
The training will include concepts of epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral
sciences, and prevention and outcome cardiovascular research as well as the
practical application of these methods to population research.
The Division conducts the major cardiovascular epidemiology studies in the U.S.
the Hispanic Community
Health Study/Study of Latinos
conducts critical large randomized clinical trials in both treatment and
prevention of heart, lung, and blood diseases.
The trainee will have the opportunity to work with the Institute staff directing
these studies, and to assist in evaluation of research questions posed by these
Illustrative areas of research activities addressed by these studies are
extensive and include, for example:
- role of genetics in the development of coronary heart disease,
- prevention and treatment of obesity,
- development and evaluation of culturally valid psychosocial
test instruments of examining the relationship between health and behavior in
- evaluation of medication use for blood pressure and the
variability of use in populations,
- prevalence of and risk factors for coronary disease in
- identification of key socioeconomic factors related to risk
factors for cardiovascular diseases.
Students must meet the following criteria:
have recently completed or will complete a bachelor's
degree by the summer of selection,
must have completed academic training in course work
relevant to biomedical, behavioral or statistical research,
have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or
better on a 4.0 scale, or 4.3 or better on a 5.0 scale, and
be U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
An official transcript will be required if individual is selected for an
Applicants will not be excluded from consideration or evaluation on the basis of
race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, national origin, sexual
orientation, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor.
The complete application package must be submitted online through the
portal including three letters of reference by January 15. The
NHLBI strongly encourages early submission of applications.
The Online Application Package requires the following for submission:
- curriculum vitae or resume
- a list of coursework and grades
- applicant's research experience, career goals, and interests
- a list of honors, awards, and other special recognition
- the names and contact information for three references at
least one must be from a research mentor
- transcript may be requested at a later date
For Post-Baccalaureate individuals, research internships begin in June-September
of the selection year.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the following office:
Dr. Helena O. Mishoe
Associate Director for Research Training and Diversity
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive, Suite 9180, MSC 7913
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7913
Websites of interest
Cardiovascular Sciences - Prevention and Population Sciences Program:
NHLBI Training and Career Development:
Application packages will be reviewed by NHLBI scientists. Candidates will be
selected for interviews based on their academic achievement, training, research
goals and interests, and letters of recommendation.
The number of trainees selected for any one training period may vary due to the
availability of funds and mentors.
Individuals who have been selected to be interviewed will be invited to
Bethesda, Maryland to visit the NHLBI at the National Institutes of Health. The
applicant will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance into the program in a
Training Assignment and Duration
One to two year Post Baccalaureate opportunities are available. Post
Baccalaureate opportunities begin from June through September of the selection
year. The mentor and trainee will agree upon an acceptable start date. All
training sites are located in Bethesda, Maryland.
Regarding the trainee's appointment, a one to a two year period beginning the
summer of selection is encouraged for a post baccalaureate individual. To
satisfy the appointment, individuals are required to complete their training
assignments during consecutive years. A second summer or year of funding may be
available with both mentor and trainee concurrence.
An NHLBI mentor will be appointed for each trainee. The mentor is responsible
for designing a training program plan tailored to the current scientific
research of the program area and the needs of the trainee. The training plan
must be approved by the assigned Laboratory/Branch Chief.
Trainees will receive a stipend that is prorated according to the time period
the trainee is actually on-site. Stipends are based on student's academic
classification beginning the next semester.
The initial stipend check will be issued at the beginning of the first month of
training for the time period worked in the previous month. To ensure timely
receipt of stipends, trainees must participate in the direct deposit program.
Current Stipend Scale
Post Baccalaureate: See
"PostBaccalaureate IRTA Stipend Levels"
Since the NHLBI BRTPUG stipends are considered awards for training, the
following restrictions are applied to the stipends:
- Social Security and Medicare payments are not deducted.
- Federal, state and local income taxes are not withheld.
However, the stipends are subject to Federal and State taxes as well as local
taxes, where applicable. Trainees should consult with the Internal Revenue
Service and/or their tax representatives for instructions and additional
- Federal retirement is not applicable.
Health insurance is required for all BRTPUG trainees. The NIH will pay for
low-option individual or family coverage available through the Foundation for
Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES). If you wish to subscribe to an FAES
policy with more extensive coverage than that provided by the NIH, you will be
required to pay the difference in cost. If you are already insured on another
policy, you will be allowed to remain on that policy if you provide evidence of
coverage. If the policy is in your name, and you can demonstrate that you are
the individual who makes the premium payments, you will be reimbursed by the
amount the NIH would have paid for FAES coverage.
Types of Leave
The BRTPUG trainees are not employees of the NHLBI, therefore, they do not earn
annual and sick leave, but are excused on all Federal holidays. Mentors may, at
their discretion, excuse trainees from their training assignments for reasonable
causes such as ill health, emergencies, and personal business. Mentors may grant
excused absences for a reasonable period, not to exceed 13 days per training
During training assignments, trainees will be eligible for the following
specific travel allowances:
- Interview Process: Travel and lodging will be arranged and
paid by the NHLBI BRTPUG Program for candidates invited for interviews.
- Training Period: NHLBI will pay for two round-trip fares (at
the beginning of the fellowship and end) per year to Bethesda, Maryland, from
the trainee's actual residence.
- Scientific Meetings: The request for BRTPUG program support to
attend a scientific meeting(s) will be made by the mentor and Laboratory/Branch
Chief to the Extramural BRTPUG Director. If approved, the NHLBI DIR will submit
travel requests in accordance with the established Laboratory/Branch procedures.
All scientific meetings must be related to the mission of the NHLBI and/or
directly related to the BRTPUG training program in order to be sponsored by the
During on-site training assignments and at the discretion of the Director,
BRTPUG, mentor and Laboratory/Branch Chief, trainees may generally receive up to
$850 per year for training courses. The training generally takes place at the
Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences
at the NIH or
local academic institutions. Support for special training opportunities may be
considered on an as needed basis.
Training opportunities supported by the BRTPUG Program should be:
1. directly related to the purpose of the BRTPUG, and
2. approved by the Extramural BRTPUG Director, trainee’s
mentor and Administrative Officer well in advance of the date of the training
The government-sponsored training assistance is available only to those trainees
who have activated their fellowship and are currently working on-site at NIH.
The Biomedical Research Training Program for Individuals from Underrepresented
Groups (BRTPUG) is authorized by the Public Health Service Act as amended by the
1993 NIH Revitalization Act, which authorizes the National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute to conduct appropriate intramural training and education
programs, including continuing education, and laboratory and clinical research
training programs. The BRTPUG is implemented by 42 CFR, Part 61, Subpart A, for
fellowships at the National Institutes of Health for training in the prevention,
diagnosis and treatment of diseases of public health significance, including
heart, lung, and blood diseases. The primary use of the information provided in
this application will be to determine your eligibility for this program and for
statistical tracking purposes. Disclosures will be made to Institute intramural
and extramural staff who have a need to know in order to determine your
eligibility to participate in the program. Completing this application is
voluntary, however, failure to do so may result in not being considered for
Discrimination Prohibited: Under provisions of applicable public laws enacted by
Congress since 1964, no person in the United States shall, on the grounds of
race, color, national origin, handicap, or age, be excluded from participation
in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any
program or activity (or, on the basis of sex, with respect to any education
program or activity) receiving Federal financial assistance. In addition,
Executive Order 11141 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age by
contractors and subcontractors in the performance of Federal contracts,
Executive Order 11246 states that no federally funded contractor may
discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race,
color, religion, sex, or national origin and Executive Order 13087 prohibits
discrimination based on sexual orientation. Therefore, the National Heart, Lung,
and Blood Institute must be operated in compliance with these laws and Executive
Last Updated September 2014