Fellowship Program

A critical component of the UCDC is to provide research training for the next generation of investigators and increase the number of research trained physicians, nutritionists, and neuropsychologists who are qualified in the study of patients with urea cycle disorders (UCD), other inborn errors of metabolism and rare diseases.

Through NIH and philanthropic funding, the UCDC will provide fellowships to promising young investigators who are dedicated to the study of urea cycle disorders. The fellowships support investigators at the level of postdoctoral or clinical fellows, or junior faculty for a period of 1-2 years. The goal is to provide the research fellowships at critical junctures of the investigators’ careers, in order to allow them to have protected time to pursue a career in academic medicine.

Scope of the Program

The primary missionof the CEC is to train and attract new investigators who will conduct research in urea cycle disorders (UCDs) that contribute to a better understanding of UCDs and help improvethetreatment and quality of lifefor individuals with UCDs. The secondary goals areto: 1) increase the number of well-trained physicians and other health care providers to optimally manage patients with UCDs,2) contribute to the successful implementation of Urea Cycle Disorders Consortium (UCDC) site projects; and 3) to attract junior investigators to the field of rare diseases research.

Annual funding of up to$50,000direct costs is available. Indirectcosts are capped at $19,625 (39.2%) for Institutions within theU.S.Foreign institutions are capped at 8% ($4,000) for indirectcosts. Applications from sites that will not accept the lower indirect rate may adjust their direct costs accordingly as long as the total requested does not exceed $69,625. During each year, the UCDC will fund one or two applicants. Individuals who have already received one year of funding through this mechanism may apply for a second year of support; funding decision for second year of support will be made based on the progress during year 1 and the continued scientific merits of the proposal.If you are applying for a second year of funding, please contact Jennifer Seminara and/or Sandesh Nagamani regarding indirect rates for a second year of funding.

The budgetsection of the application does not need to be approved and signed off by the applicant’s Institutionat the time of the initial submission of the application by February 22, 2021. Theapplicant that is selected to receive funding will be requested to submit an official budgetsigned off by the Institution after the funding decision has been made in March.Applicants and mentors who are not part of the UCDC are eligible to apply.Applicants from non-UCDC sites, or from a UCDC site but with a mentor who is not part of the UCDC, should identify a co-mentor from a UCDC site.Dr. Nagamani can help facilitate identification of an appropriate co-mentor, if needed.Collaboration with other RDCRN consortia are desirable, again with co-mentors identified from both consortia.

Trainees are expected to participate in the RDCRN Rare Disease Research Training Program and to attend the annual Conference on Clinical Research for Rare Diseases (CCRRD). Travel to the annual conference ($1,500) should be included in the budget.

Graduate and postgraduate trainees, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty within 10 years from the completion of their degree/residency/clinical training are eligible. The application should use the attached template and include:

  • Project summary (page limit, half page)
  • Project relevance to the overall mission of the UCDC explaining how trainee activities will be integrated not only into the training mission but also the scientific and clinical mission of the UCDC (page limit, one page)
  • Detailed Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • Career goals and objectives (limit, halfpage)
  • Career development plan (limit, one page) Describe how this opportunity will help develop your career and support your development in becoming an independent investigator. Applicants are encouraged to specifically describe as to how this opportunity will retain your involvement in rare disease research.
  • Statement by Mentor (Primary Mentor to sign a standard form in the application)
  • Letter of support from the mentor outlining the mentoring plan and the facilities and training environment at the parent institution that will be available to the trainee (limit, three pages). Please note that the primary mentor does not necessarily have to be the PI of a RDCRN site. Cross-mentorship between RDCRN consortia is acceptable and encouraged with the approval of the mentor from each consortium.
  • NIH bio sketch of the applicant (please format according to the standard format https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm)
  • Applicant’s other support.
  • NIH bio sketch of the mentor.

Research strategy with the following sections

  • Specific aims(limit, one page)
  • Background, Significance, Innovation, and Approach (limit,six pages)
  • Protection of Human subjects (if applicable)
  • Data Safety monitoring plan (if applicable)
  • Inclusion of women and minorities (if applicable)
  • Inclusion of children (if applicable)
  • References cited

The reviewpanel for the applications will consist of thePIs from 3-5participating UCDC sites.External Ad Hoc reviewers may be called as needed.Applications will be scored using the NIH review criteria. The Chair of the review committee (Sandesh Nagamani, MD) will forward averaged scores and recommendationsfor funding to the PI of the UCDC. Each applicant will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. Quality of the applicant
  • Previous and current training.
  • Potential to contribute to the UCDC mission.
  • Commitment to UCD research and patient cared.
  • Commitment to rare disease research

     2. Quality of research

  • Relevance to the overall mission of the UCDC(applicants are encouraged to participate/expand an existing UCDC project)
  • Rare disease relevance.
  • The use of animal models is not permitted by the parent RFA and will not be funded using NIH funds. Outstanding projects using animal models may be funded with philanthropic funding if funds are available.

     3. Quality of the training environment and potential to become independent clinical investigator.

Trainees are expected to publish results of data analysis projects/original projects and to present results to the UCDC at an in-person meeting or conference within a year of the grant funding period.

Deadline for submission is February 22, 2021.Awards will be announced by March 15, 2021. Funding will begin August1, 2021.

The complete application should be submitted as a single PDF document and transmitted via email to chair of the fellowshipselection committee, Sandesh Nagamaninagamani@bcm.edu, and UCDC program manager, Jennifer Seminara jseminar@childrensnational.org.Please contact Dr. Nagamani or Ms. Seminara with any questions you may have about the application process.

Sandesh Nagamani, MD
Email: nagamani@bcm.edu

Jennifer Seminara
Phone: (202) 306-6489
Email: jseminar@childrensnational.org