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Training Grants and Initiatives

Graduate students in the Molecular Biology, Biological Chemistry, and Neuroscience Programs are not required to secure independent funding to continue their education.

All PhD students admitted to the Molecular Biology Program and Biological Chemistry Program who remain in good academic standing receive financial support throughout their graduate training.

We encourage eligible students to apply for external funding as part of  their graduate student experience. There are a number of internal National Institutes of Health (NIH) Training Grants for which students may apply in addition to external NRSAs and fellowships.

NIH Institutional Training Grants​ foster collaborations amongst departments, programs, and strategic initiatives. With this approach, we hope to cultivate a robust training environment for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees and to enrich investigator research programs.

University of Utah Health Institutional Training Grants


Professor of Neurobiology & Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics
Graduate and postdoctoral students

Application Due: Monday, November 9, 2020

All application materials should be submitted to Teresa Upton.

Applications must include the following:

1. The attached Application Summary page, completed.

2. Your curriculum vitae.

3. A short (2-4 pages) carefully thought-out summary of your research project with title. Summarize the problem (include some strategic literature references), and what you have accomplished so far. There is a limit of four pages, not including references or figures. Font must be 11 pt Arial with 1 inch margins.

4. One paragraph about your career goals.

5. Postdoctoral applicants should include copies of graduate transcripts.

Submit items 1-5 as a single pdf file no larger than 5 MB to

6. Request supporting letters from your current faculty advisor and two additional professors who are familiar with your research. We would like your references to comment on your current aptitude for science and your future promise for biological research. Rank scores are helpful (for example “top 5% of postdocs in the department who I have known”).

Letters should also be sent electronically to

Training grant policies you should be aware of are:

a) The primary criteria for selection will be: (1) scientific excellence and (2) explicitly stated relevance of the proposed research to the general field of developmental biology.

b) Postdoctoral trainees are supported for a maximum of two years.

c) Pre-doctoral trainees are supported for a maximum of three years.

d) NIH requires that all trainees be a U.S. citizen, U.S. noncitizen national or a permanent resident of the U.S.

e) Pre-doctoral students must be residents of the State of Utah and eligible for in-state tuition, and must take a Developmental Biology course during their training period.

f) Pre-doctoral trainees must have passed their Capstone exams before applying.

g) All trainees are required to participate in the Developmental Biology Discussion Group, where they will present their research, and the annual retreat. For further information, please see our website:


Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology


Kathleen Mooney
Distinguished Professor, College Of Nursing
Louis S. Peery and Janet B. Peery Presidential Endowed Chair in Nursing, College Of Nursing
Interim Senior Director of Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Co-Leader Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Huntsman Cancer Institute

4 graduate student and 4 postdoctoral slots for support

Predoctoral Training
Submit the following as a single PDF document to Lica Strasner
  • Cover Page with your name, address, email, and phone number
  • CV
  • Research statement related to cancer, caregiving, and end-of-life care. You are limited to 3 pages to
    • describe your career goals
    • identify a potential mentor(s) and provide a rationale for your selection
    • identify goals for the training period and how they match with the opportunities available
    • provide a brief summary of your research experience and plans for advancing your research program
    • discuss how your focus fits with our training model.
  • Transcripts
  • Academic writing sample
  • Brief summary (one page max) of your years of prior research
Postdoctoral Training
Application Due: January 31, 2021
Visit the position posting to upload your materials and apply.
  • Cover Page with your name, address, email, and phone number
  • CV
  • Research statement related to cancer, caregiving, and end-of-life care. You are limited to three pages to:
    • describe your career goals
    • identify a potential mentor and provide a rationale for your selection
    • identify goals for the training period and how they match with the opportunities available
    • provide a brief summary of your research experience and plans for advancing your research program
    • discuss how your focus fits with our training model
  • Summary (one page max) of your research experience
  • Two letters of reference that address your skills and potential as a nurse scientist in cancer, caregiving, and end-of-life care. If you are within five years of completing your dissertation, one reference should be from the chair of your Supervisory Committee


Professor of Biomedical Informatics 
Adjunct Associate Professor of Human Genetics


Marcus Pezzolesi
Professor of Nephrology
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Human Genetics

3 pre-doctoral slots

Application Due: September 19, 2022

Overview of the Program

The University of Utah Interdisciplinary Training T32 Program in Computational Approaches to Diabetes and Metabolism Research will cross-train a cadre of predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees in the computational and mathematical sciences and in the biological basis of diabetes and obesity. These bioinformatics scientist trainees will gain the expertise and leadership skills to apply computational and mathematical methods to complex biological questions that will ultimately impact the prevention, treatment, and outcomes of people with diabetes and related metabolic diseases. This training program will consist of a combination of mentored research and career development training, coursework, and extensive interactions with faculty and trainees across campus and beyond.

Program Description and Application Details

Cover Page


Simon Fisher
Professor of Internal Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry
Professor of Human Genetics

2 graduate student and 2 postdoctoral slots for support

Open to Application: July 1, 2022

Anticipated Application Due: May 1, 2022

Applications should be submitted as a single pdf file, sent electronically to Jessica Kieper

1. Cover Page
2. Your curriculum vitae
3. A short (2-4 pages), carefully thought out summary of your proposed research project. Summarize the problem (include some strategic literature references), preliminary data, and your research goals for your tenure as a Graduate Student or Postdoctoral trainee on the training grant. There is a limit of four pages, excluding references and figures. Font must be 11 pt Arial, with 1 inch margins.
4. For graduate students - Copies of your academic transcripts, both undergraduate and graduate.
5. For graduate students - Copy of the original report of your GRE scores. Please state prior degree, University and GPA.
6. Three supporting letters, one from your advisor and two from other faculty members who are familiar with your research.


  • Christopher Simeone (Human Genetics, Pezzolesi)


Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Professor and Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology


  • Erik Hughes (Microbiology & Immunology, Tantin's Lab)
  • Jacob Thompson (Microbiology & Immunology, O'Connell's Lab)


Associate Professor of Human Genetics
 June Blackburn
Multiple predoctoral 
Application Due: June 11, 2021

Before filling in the online application form, applicants should prepare the following documents as PDFs and request 3 letters of recommendation as required:

  1. Your curriculum vitae with a description of your education, research experience, publications, presentations, and any other STEM-oriented activities, including outreach.
  2. A short description of your thesis research project. The proposal must be written entirely by the student applicant and should address the following points: i) what is the "big problem" you address; ii) what is the context of your proposed work, the important open question you want to focus on, and why is it important; iii) what are the specific approaches you will take to address this question, formatted as a set of 2-3 Aims. You should emphasize connections of your project to the field of genetics. Also briefly indicate progress, if any, you have accomplished so far. Include strategic literature references. There is a limit of two pages, not including references or figures. Font must be 11pt Arial, single spaced, with 1 inch margins.
  3. Copies of your undergraduate academic transcripts and your graduate transcripts. These can be informal; you do not need to obtain official copies.
  4. The committee's report from either your departmental prelim exam or, if you have not yet completed the prelim, your 1st-year capstone exam.
  5. You will also need to provide three letters of support. One must be from your advisor. Your advisor's letter should make sure to address the level of independence with which you developed your ideas, composed, and wrote your proposal. The other two letters should be from faculty most familiar with your academic or research potential (e.g., thesis committee members, rotation advisors, capstone/qualifying exam committee, or instructors).

Submitting your application:

  1. Google form for submitting trainee’s application materials:
    1. Fill in all required fields, including statement of career goals and reasons for applying to the UGTP. Applicants are strongly encouraged to peruse the form and contact with any questions prior to the deadline.
    2. Individual application materials described above need to be saved in PDF format smaller than 10MB for upload.
    3. You should fill in the entire form and submit all application materials in one session. Please check that you have uploaded correct materials prior to hitting submit. After submitting, uploaded materials cannot be edited.
  1. Google form for submitting letters of recommendation:

    1. LORs should be submitted directly by the letter writers. The form accepts PDF and Word formats.
  • Jason Kunisaki (Human Genetics, Quinlan’s Lab)
  • Atoosa Samani (Biological Sciences, Shapiro’s Lab)
  • Ameris Aponte-Pizarro (Biological Sciences, Caron’s Lab)
  • Thomas King (Biological Sciences, Werner’s Lab)
  • Andrew Butts (Biological Sciences, Caron’s Lab)
  • Aubrey Hawks (Biological Sciences, Karasov’s Lab)
  • O'Connor Matthews (Pathology, Mulvey’s Lab)
  • Michael Stewart (Biochemistry, Miller’s Lab)
  • Paige Eberle (Human Genetics, Leffler’s Lab)
  • Gabriela Fort (Oncological Sciences, Snyder’s Lab)
  • Makenna Johnson (Biological Sciences, Golic’s Lab)
  • Dylan Klure (Biological Sciences, Dearing’s Lab)


  • Paige Wheatley (Biological Sciences, Blair’s Lab)
  • Katie Owings (Human Genetics, Chow’s Lab)
  • Macaulie Casey (Human Genetics, Kwan’s Lab)
  • Daniel Lathen (Psych/Neuro, Rothenfluh’s Lab)
  • Shelley Reich (Biological Sciences, Werner’s Lab)
  • Diane Hernandez (Human Genetics, Murtaugh & Round’s Lab)
  • David Almanzar (Biological Sciences, Rog’s Lab)
  • Hunter Hill (Biological Sciences, Golic’s Lab)
  • Pablo Maldonado-Catala (Biological Sciences /Neurobiology, Maricq’s Lab)
  • Bradley Weaver (Oncological Sciences, Cairns’s Lab)
  • Tom Sasani (Human Genetics, Quinlan’s Lab)
  • Alyssa English (Biochemistry, Adam Hughes’s Lab)
  • Dara Niketic (Biological Sciences, Kelly Hughes’s Lab)
  • Eric Bogenschutz (Human Genetics, Kardon’s Lab)


Professor of Biochemistry
Director of the Biological Chemistry Program

Application Due: February 4, 2022 at 12:00 PM Email application to Amity Mower

  1. Informational Cover Sheet
  2. Your curriculum vitae with description of education and training
  3. A summary of your proposed thesis research project, consisting of the following sections (with recommended lengths, overall 2-page limit):

-abstract: state your central problem or hypothesis and its big picture significance (1 paragraph)

-background and significance: provide enough background information to understand the context of your work and why it is important (include relevant literature references) (<1 page)

-experimental approach: list specific aims (typically 2-3) and the methods you will employ to accomplish them (including your current progress, if any, and alternate approaches) (<1 page)

-overall impact: how will successful completion of your Aims impact the field? (1 paragraph)

Your proposal is limited to two pages, including figures and figure legends. This page limit does not include references.

Use standard NIH formatting: 11-point Arial font, single-spaced, and 0.5-inch margins.

Although the proposal must be written entirely by the applicant, you are strongly encouraged to incorporate critical feedback from your thesis mentor and other colleagues.

  1. A 1-page summary of your current career goals, explanation of co-mentor choice, and your interest in participating in PITCH (same formatting). Feel free to include any information that you feel would be useful to the selection committee (e.g., any special challenges you have encountered).
  2. Unofficial copies of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

Submit Items 1-5 above as a single pdf file to

  1. Two letters of support - one from your thesis advisor and the other from another faculty member who knows you well (can be your co-mentor). Letters should address the following points:

-How the letter writer knows the applicant

-Depth of knowledge

-Skill level in the laboratory

-Originality and creativity

-Interpersonal communication

-Critical thinking and problem solving

-Written and oral communication

-Initiative, motivation, and perseverance

Students with two thesis mentors should designate one as their primary thesis advisor and may choose the other as their PITCH co-mentor (if their chemistry/biology expertise is complementary).

  1. Signed co-mentor acceptance form (sent from your co-mentor).

Faculty letters/forms are due by noon 2/4 e-mailed directly


    • Deirdre Mack (Biochemistry, Shen's Lab) 
    • Paul Spaltenstein (Biochemistry, Kay's Lab)
    • Emily Tippetts (Pharmacology and Toxicology, Peterson's Lab)


    • Jaime Sepulveda (Biochemistry, Sigala/Hill's Lab) 


    • Helen Donelick (Biochemistry, Bass/Shen's Lab) 
    • Judah Evangelista (Biochemistry, Kay's Lab)


    Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
    Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
    Director of the Molecular Biology Program

    2018 - 2020

    • Amanda Richards (Pathology, Mulvey's Lab) 
    • Steven Denham (Pathology, Brown's Lab) 

    2016 - 2018 

    • Clay Carey (Human Genetics, Elde's Lab) 
    • Sarah Whiteside (Pathology, Weis's Lab) 
    • Erin Larragoite (Pathology, Planelles's Lab) 


    Professor of Opthalmology & Visual Sciences
    Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy and biology 


    Lynn B. Jorde
    Professor & Chair Department of Human Genetics 
    Ashley Kapron
    Associate Director 
    Senior Vice President of Health Sciences Research Unit 


    Angela Fagerlin
    Professor of Population Health Sciences

    Application Due: April 4, 2023 at 11:59PM

    Link to the online application

    Required Documents:

    1. Curriculum vitae, including the following: a) Degree(s) earned, include month/year earned; b) Research Experience and other Positions, include month/year of start/end dates; c) Identify any prior NRSA or other grant support; d) presentations; e) publications; f) awards/honors received.
    2. Project Abstract. A lay-science summary of the intended project, including title and scientific aims. Font must be 11 pt Arial with at least .5 inch margins. Max 1 page (including Figures/Tables), excluding references.
    3. Letter of Interest. Should include: description of prior research and experience; how the project (Project Abstract) fits in the translational spectrum; career goals; rationale for interest in the T32 Program, and description of how participation in the Program would facilitate achievement of those goals; and a plan for current and/or potential contributions to diversity through teaching, professional activity, and/or service (EDI plan). 
    4. 1-2 letter/s of support from previous training supervisors. Letters should be sent directly to
    5. One letter of support from a T32 mentor (selected primary scientific mentor) that describes their commitment to mentoring you and a description of how the proposed research project would fit in with the mentor’s research program. The letter should state their commitment to you to participate in this program and their commitment to multidisciplinary science and working within a framework of multiple mentors. Letter should be sent directly to

    Additional Training Grant Policies that you should be aware of:

    1. The primary criteria for selection will be a) scientific excellence; b) relevance of the proposed research to clinical and/or translational science and its impact on future career; c) good alignment with a primary mentor; and d) potential for future success (publications, grants, etc).
    2. We strongly encourage applications from a) underrepresented minorities, b) disabled individuals, c) individuals from a disadvantaged background, and d) women.
    3. Successful predoctoral candidates must have completed their required coursework. We particularly encourage applications from postdoctoral trainees in year 1 or 2 of training.
    4. Support is provided for a maximum of 2 years. Second year support is subject to evaluation by the training grant steering committee and availability of grant funds. In certain circumstances, only one year of support may be available.
    5. NIH requires that trainees be US citizens, US noncitizen national or permanent residents of the US. Trainees cannot have previously received an NSRA grant.

    For additional information, please contact LYALYA SULTANOVA at


    NINDS Training Grant - Training in the Development of Novel Interventions for the Treatment of Neurological and Neurobehavioral Disorders (T-32)
    Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology

    1 Predoctoral and 1 postdoctoral/clinical fellow

    Application Due: Monday, May 31, 2021 

    Call for Application .pdf

    Required Documents:

    • Cover letter expressing interest in participating in the program, and description of the applicant’s career goals, and description of how participation on the T32 Training Grant will support the applicant in their pursuit of those career goals.

    • List of three mentors (one basic scientist, one clinician/clinician-scientist, and one scientist/clinician with translational experience; see attached list of training faculty; applicants should contact the PD, Dr. Keefe ( prior to submitting the application, if they would like to have other faculty fulfilling these roles).

    • Letters of support from each of the three proposed mentors with stated commitment to train the student and participate actively in the program activities.

    • CV/resume

    • Copy of undergraduate and graduate transcripts and GRE scores (predoctoral applicants only; GRE scores if available)

    • Research proposal for the applicant’s research project (NRSA-format; i.e., 1-page Specific Aims page, 6-page Research Strategy)

    Please send all required application materials in a single PDF file in the order provided above, with the exception of the letters of support, to Ms. Melaney Mckellar ( Letters of support should be sent directly to Ms. Mckellar by the individual writing the letter. All materials must be received by close of business, May 31, 2021




    We are pleased to announce the launch of the Human Genetics Scholars Initiative, a new program to advance diversity and inclusion in the genetics and genomics workforce. The program will: 
    Identify, mentor and help prepare a select group of high-potential, diverse early-career individuals for professional success. 
    Develop and sustain a community of researchers across generations commited  to diversity and inclusion, who are willing to foster sustained attention to these issues in their research institutions and training programs. 

    Applications for the 2021-23 program will open in May 2021. 

    For more information please click here.



    Grants of up to $40,000 (direct costs) for one year will be awarded.


    • New faculty members involved in diabetes-related research who have not yet obtained independent funding. Applications from these individuals are most likely to be supported by this mechanism.
    • Established investigators not involved in diabetes-related research who propose feasibility studies related to diabetes.
    • Established investigators involved in diabetes-related research who propose feasibility studies clearly not related to previously supported research.

    If you are interested in applying, please reach out to Dr. Simon Fisher at





    Last Updated: 3/22/23