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August 2020               Newsletter               Vol 1 Issue 8
Empowering physician-scientists to launch successful research careers

Research Careers Ahead!
Fall Grant Writing Series

You asked, and we heard you! Join us for the Fall RCA! Professional Development Series as we focus on  grant writing.  Sessions include developing your proposal, budgeting and managing finances, the grant review process, and how to find funding at Duke.  What's that? You missed the first session, Best Practices in Research Project and Proposal Development? Don't worry, we've got you covered.  View it here along with other RCA! sessions. Just choose the Research Careers Ahead! tab.  And be sure to check out our RCA Recap! Blog, for resources discussed during the session. 

Research Careers Ahead! Professional Development Series occurs the 4th Wednesday of each month.  Register here for the Zoom URL.

Latest NIH and Internal funding opportunities...

*Remember to check your eligibility for career development award and training grant submission extensions like this one.


The NIH Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program provides 5+ years of full-time, funded research in the NIH intramural program for tenure-track level clinical investigators, followed by 3 years of NIH funds at an extramural medical center/research institute or by continuation in the NIH intramural program. Apply by August 28, 2020.  For more information, visit or email.

OPSD Scholars: Working from home but still working for you
Are you a resident, fellow, or junior faculty member in need of career development guidance?
We are still hosting Master Mentor meetings via zoom. Get virtually connected

NIH-funded research to bolster diversity in the biomedical workforce: The PROMISE Study 
Discuss professional development and skill building with your peers in small groups facilitated by underrepresented minority senior investigators. 

Duke School of Medicine Anti-Racism Resources: here.

Duke Coronavirus Research-Related Updates: here.

More Resources:  here.


We Want to Hear From You:
Take this 3 question survey
and tell us how we can serve you better!

Worthwhile Reads:
Read Dr. Kafui Dzirasa's commentary on being a black scientist: here. 

Learn how the pandemic is affecting OPSD Scholars:  here.

In Case You Missed It:
Watch last month's Research Careers Ahead! virtual seminar: "
Best Practices in Research Project Proposal and Development"

Catch up on the highlights: here.

Do you have a worthwhile read or notable award to share? Send it in: here.

Research Careers Ahead! Professional Development Series
"How to Budget and Manage Grant Finances"
Wednesday, August 26, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Deborah Martin, MA
Grants and Contracts Manager, RASR
Register Here

Research Integrity Roundtable: Perverse Incentives in Academic Research Journal Article Discussion

August 13, 2020, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

Register Here

Virtual Research Town Hall: The Impact of COVID 19 on Research at Duke
September 3, 2:00 - 3:30pm

Register Here

Did you know OPSD offers concept reviews to physician-scientists trainees and junior faculty?  For more information on this program, visit OPSD Resources or email us!
Tell us about your research.
My research with Dr. Allan Kirk focusses on the utilization of costimulation blockade in kidney transplantation. Costimulation blockade works by arresting T cell activation while still allowing stimulation of the T cell receptor by specific antigen. For the past 25 years, Dr. Kirk has worked to understand how costimulation blockade can be used to promote tolerance of transplanted organs by “educating” the immune system. This occurs, conceptually, because cells that have their T cell T cell receptor ligated but are not provided costimulation (i.e. it is blocked) leading to either anergy (nonfunction) or activation induced cell death. This work has increasingly focused on specific cell subsets that are known to be costimulation resistant as well as their specificity. My work seeks to understand the requirements of costimulation blockade resistant cells to expand and proliferate. Additionally, we are examining the specific T cell clones that are costimulation resistant. Finally, we are working to understand the relationship between overall T cell receptor diversity and sensitivity to costimulation blockade.  

Why is your science important?
End stage organ disease, especially end stage kidney disease, is incredibly morbid. And, though dialysis is an amazing stopgap for those with end stage kidney disease, studies have estimated that mortality on dialysis is equivalent to breast cancer with regional spread. Transplantation is far superior to dialysis but is currently hindered by imperfect immunosuppressive regimens that are both a) toxic to kidneys themselves and b) complicated by high degrees of malignancies. Additionally, long term graft outcomes are poor with many grafts failing before 10 years. Costimulation blockade allows for the minimization of immunosuppression, improved function of transplanted kidneys, and ultimately the extension of lives of a vulnerable patient population.

What's your favorite sandwich, and why?
Hands down,  meatball marinara. As a surgery resident and future transplant surgeon, there is nothing that can get you through those hours of 1-4am in the hospital better than a meatball sandwich from the 24 hour Subway.

If you would like research career mentoring from outside of your department sign up here.
If you have what it takes to be a great master mentor email us here.
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