T32 Predoctoral Cardiovascular Fellowship

The purpose of the predoctoral training component of the Cardiovascular Training Grant is to provide graduate students with varied backgrounds and interests with a knowledge-base and understanding of the cardiovascular system and current trends and opportunities in cardiovascular research. In applying to the program, the student and mentor should provide a rationale for how the development of the student in their chosen field will provide future research opportunities to impact cardiovascular health.

Students who emerge from this training will have acquired sufficient background to address cardiovascular problems of significant importance using the tools and expertise gained from their mentor and graduate program. It is equally important to foster development of those students who pursue problems in laboratories with an existing emphasis on cardiovascular science, and to recruit students from laboratories without this emphasis, but with expertise applicable to solving problems related to cardiovascular health in the future.

A fundamental premise of this training program, including the selection of its faculty, postdoctoral students and predoctoral students, is to bring together individuals of varying backgrounds and levels of training to discuss and learn about cardiovascular-related problems.

An important objective is to foster the participation of individuals at all levels from the graduate programs participating in the predoctoral component of the training grant. All members of the Cardiovascular Training Grant are members of these graduate programs and, in general, it will be a goal to maintain a balanced participation between the cardiovascular tracks of the different graduate programs.

Predoctoral Fellowships - NIH Guidelines

The predoctoral positions supported on this training grant are subject to NIH rules and guidelines. Candidates for these positions must be U.S. citizens or have already established non-citizen national (permanent residence) status. The stipend for these positions is $20,772 and is paid as non-employment compensation.

No tax, social security or medicare/medicaid payments are withheld from these stipends, and awardees are responsible for any tax liability associated with receiving the award. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring laboratory to supplement this stipend to the university-wide level when and if it exceeds the approved NIH stipend.

College of Graduate Studies stipend levels will be $21,000/year as of September 2004. This supplementation must come from non-federal funds. The training grant pays tuition only for the trainee. The trainee has full access to all resources and benefits of being a student of MUSC. Trainees are also awarded $1,400/year to support travel to a national meeting.

Predoctoral Fellowships Application Procedure

To be eligible for support, a student must be prepared to make a commitment to training in cardiovascular biology. In many cases this would be coincident with the student having already made many of the key choices concerning their graduate career.

These would include selecting a graduate program, the cardiovascular track of the program, a mentor who is a member of the cardiovascular training program, and a preliminary project that would serve as a basis for discussing how the proposed training will lead to research impacting cardiovascular biology.

In general, students would be beginning their third year of graduate training to have made all of these choices. However, students earlier in their graduate career will also be considered based upon their interest and commitment to cardiovascular biology as an area of research interest.

Ultimately, both the student applicant and their mentor should be members of the Cardiovascular Track of one of the participating graduate programs. Students must be US citizens or permanent residents.

Download Application Form (PDF)

The application should include the following materials:

  • Completed application form.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Letter from the mentor sponsoring the student for the program and including their evaluation of the student’s potential. If the student has not yet selected a mentor, they should submit a letter from their program director or the Dean of College of Graduate Studies.
  • Letters of recommendation from two additional faculty members.
  • Two page (maximum) synopsis of a preliminary research proposal with a rationale of how the proposed project and/or training of the applicant will impact cardiovascular research. If the student has not yet selected a mentor, explain career goals and interests in cardiovascular biology sufficient to evaluate their early consideration for support by the program.
  • Bio sketch from mentor.

Return completed package to:

Donald R. Menick, Ph.D.
Department of Medicine/Cardiology
Gazes Cardiac Research Institute, Rm 326C
Medical University of South Carolina
114 Doughty Street
MSC 773
Charleston, SC 29425

Predoctoral Fellowships - Criteria

The committee examines the following criteria for each of the candidates who apply for this fellowship:

  1. Academic record of the candidate. The committee examines the courses taken and grades received for both the graduate and undergraduate records for the students. Has the student received any academic honors or awards? Has the student received any recognition for research that has been conducted during or before the students’ graduate career? This includes MUSC Student Research Day awards, travel awards for national or international meetings, and awards for presentation of research at national/international meetings. Has the student published any papers or abstracts or made presentations at national or international meetings?
  2. Letter of recommendations. The letters prepared by MUSC faculty members who are familiar with the student's course work and/or research are very important in the selection process. The committee also looks at the letters of recommendation submitted with the student's application to the graduate program at MUSC.
  3. Research proposal. The proposed research should address an important area of cardiovascular research. Is the hypothesis clearly stated and the research design and methodology appropriate? Is the research innovative? Do the potential findings have an impact on our understanding of cardiovascular science? Is the proposal well written? Was the proposal written by the student?
  4. Training environment. The training, funding and publication record of the mentor is an important part of the criteria in the selection process. The laboaratory must be supported by extramural funding for the duration of the fellowship.
  5. Commitment of the student and the mentor to the cardiovascular training program of either the MCBP or Pharmacology graduate program. Do the student and mentor regularly participate in the cardiovascular journal club? Has the student taken any of the advanced course work offered by the cardiovascular division of the MCBP and the Pharmacology graduate programs?