Category Archives: Science Research

Translational Research
Malgorzata Kasztan, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham

What is Translational Research?

The Power of Translational Research:

How can you become a part of a big Translational Research Family?

Do I need Translational Research Training?

“From Bench to Bedside” Award:

Dr. Malgorzata Kasztan is an instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her research focuses on how endothelin system alters renal structure and function in chronic kidney disease.

How to effectively communicate your science
Mindy Engevik, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine

Post #1: Science–graphic art partnerships to increase research impact

Post #2: Improving your science figures

Post #3: Online drawing tools for effective research diagrams

Post #4: How to design an informative lab website

Post #5: Tips for communicating to non-scientists

Post #6: Designing power point slides for a scientific presentation

Post #7: How to deliver a great presentation

Mindy Engevik, Ph.D. is an Instructor at Baylor College of Medicine. Her research focuses on microbe-mucus interactions in the gastrointestinal tract.

June 2019 Social Media Collection: Conflict Resolution

Lila Wollman, PT, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate, University of Arizona

Post #1
“Lab conflict and how to address it”

Post #2
“Conflict Resolution: Definition, Process, Skills, Examples”

Post #3
“Why Scientists Need to be Better Communicators”

Post #4
“Managing Conflict with Emotional Intelligence”

Post #5
“10 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence”

Dr. Wollman is a postdoctoral associate at the University of Arizona. Her work focuses on development and plasticity of the neurorespiratory system.

Navigating the Grant Writing Process: Insight into NIH-style Grants for Trainees

One of the most important skills for a trainee to develop is the ability to write a clear and effective research grant proposal. With the current funding climate, writing a competitive grant is all the more crucial in transitioning to the next step in your career. APS member Dr. Ann Schreihofer from the Medical College of Georgia discussed not only the key components of a NIH-style grant but also provides valuable insight into the grant writing process.

Also, make sure to check out the All About Grants Podcasts hosted by the NIH to stay up to date on NIH funding


Down the Road to Funding: Getting That First Grant


All About Grants Podcast:


Lauren Stein, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the neuroendocrine control of energy balance using rodent models of obesity.
January 2019 Social Media Collection: Grant Writing

In scientific research, we strive to develop groundbreaking hypotheses that push the edges of our understanding. However, groundbreaking ideas are just the beginning. Equally important are the skills needed to effectively communicate your grant proposal, so you can secure the funding necessary to complete a thorough investigation.

Below are links that break down the components of preparing an effective proposal to make your brilliant ideas standout in a sea of others.


Post #1: Before putting pen to paper, it is important to know the basics of a NIH-style grant. The following link provides a general information for writing a successful proposal.


Post #2: First things first, you have to have a plan! Check out the six-part series titled “How Not to Kill a Grant Proposal.”


Post #3: Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your grant. Avoid procrastination and give yourself the time needed to review and edit your proposal before hitting submit.


Post #4: For early investigators, fellowships require a little something extra. This article focuses on the importance of a well-crafted training plan and research goals in your proposal.


Post #5: Here are some of the best kept secrets to writing a winning grant proposal.




Lauren Stein, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the neuroendocrine control of energy balance using rodent models of obesity.
Setting Your Sites on an Industry Career

Love for research is one thing, but knowing the right research environment that suits your personality and research goals may be the factor that makes you successful in securing an industry position and accomplishing your goals as a successful scientist. Dr. Bryan Clay touched on major differences between research in industry and academia in his 2017 Mentoring Symposium talk entitled, “Selecting a Good Lab for Postdoctoral or Research Experience in Industry.” Unlike academia, the main research goal in industry is to bring a product to market; as a result, the timeline is critical and usually quick, research is conducted in teams, and teams are more specialized and diverse in order to achieve that goal. How can you find positions in industry? There are various platforms that trainees can utilize in searching for industry positions. Platforms like company websites, Biospace, Medzilla, Indeed, LinkedIn, networking events, industry postdocs, and internships are  all useful resources for securing an industry position. When applying for industry positions, it is important to start early, typically 6 months or more before your desired start date. Also, you should be open to relocating, tailor your resume, and highlight research experiences that fit the position that you are applying for. Finally, network, network, and network! In addition, before applying for that industry position it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages between small biotech and big pharmaceutical companies. Small biotech companies usually have less resources, but you may have more influence and gain more experience working in biotech companies. Because resources are limited, research teams may not be as diverse as in big pharmaceutical companies, hence scientists in small biotech companies may participate in all aspects of the project. Overall, own your career and do what fulfills you. To listen to the presentation in its entirety, click on the link below:

Ijeoma Obi is a PhD Candidate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Section of Cardio-Renal Physiology and Medicine. Her research project focuses on the effects of early life stress on renal inflammation and blood pressure regulation.
Training the next generation of scientists to be transparent

Scientific rigor and reproducibility have become new buzzwords, often being floated in discussions in labs, department meetings, and scientific conferences. As public confidence in science has fallen in the United States, the need for increased transparency has risen. The majority of scientists now see this issue as a significant concern, if not an outright crisis. (1) The causes for both the fall in public opinion and some of the high-profile examples that have precipitated the current situation are well beyond this article. This post will focus on three parts: first, to state what rigor and reproducibility is and what it means for trainees; second, to identify several resources that trainees will find useful; and third, to highlight the upcoming 3-part Trainee Symposium on Rigor and Reproducibility at the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, CA (2). Links and resources that trainees may find helpful will also be shared through the APS Trainee social media Facebook and Twitter throughout the month of March.


The NIH has made increasing transparency and rigor in science one of its top priorities. They define scientific rigor as, “the strict application of the scientific method to ensure robust and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results. This includes full transparency in reporting experimental details so that others may reproduce and extend the findings. Investigators should apply the elements of rigor that are appropriate for their science.” (2) Simply put, this means that science should be written and presented in a way that is clear and unambiguous so that others may find similar results should they repeat the study themselves. However, the NIH definition is less than helpful in making recommendations to scientists and trainees as to what steps would make their science more transparent. Luckily, there are resources available.


In results reported in a 2016 survey, poor experimental design and flawed statistical analysis were the leading causes of irreproducibility. (1) Fortunately, most academic institutions now offer courses and seminars on these topics at no-cost or low-cost to science trainees. Many institutions also have resources such as statisticians that are available for consultation. Additionally, there are many resources available online and in-person, some of which are detailed in this Nature article (4) and an associated Nature blog article (5). There are also many resources available from societies such as the American Physiological Society, including slides and videos from past seminars and symposiums on improving scientific rigor. You can visit their toolbox for reproducibility here (6).


Finally, the APS Trainee Advisory Committee will be hosting a 3-session symposium at the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, CA. These three sessions, each held from 7:00-8:00 am in Room 25A of the San Diego Convention Center across 3 consecutive days (21-23 April) will feature 4 speakers who will speak directly to the trainees needs and roles in developing rigorous and reproducible science. The speakers will be discussing the role of trainees in scientific rigor, obtaining research funding, experimental design, publishing results, and much more. For more information about the symposium, you can visit the APS website here or on the EB app prior to the meeting. Here are the speakers that you can look forward to listening to during the 3 sessions:


Sunday, 21 April

  • Enhancing the Value of Research Findings: Ongoing Activities at NIH and Beyond
    Shai Silberberg, Ph.D.,NINDS/NIH


Monday, 22 April

  • Building Bridges: Learning to Work Effectively with Regulatory Committees
    Bill Yates, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine 
  • Practical Applications of Rigor and Reproducibility in the Laboratory
    Sean Stocker, Ph.D.,University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


Tuesday, 23 April

  • Publishing Reproducible Research: Ensuring that Editors, Reviewers, and Readers Have Confidence in your Findings
    Kim Barrett, Ph.D.,University of California San Diego School of Medicine


The need to have rigorous and reproducible research is only going to increase. Trainees have the potential to play an important role in the way we publicly discuss science. While trainees may have to seek out and maybe even create some of the resources they need to develop the next generation of transparent science, resources are already available at their institutions and from sources like the APS. Hopefully we’ll see you at the Trainee Symposium at EB in San Diego this April!

Ryan Downey, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Georgetown University. As part of those duties, he is the Associate Program Director for the Master of Science in Physiology and a Team Leader for the Special Master’s Program in Physiology. He teaches cardiovascular and neural physiology across several graduate level courses. He received his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from UT Southwestern Medical Center. His research interests are in the sympathetic control of cardiovascular function during exercise and in improving science pedagogy. When he’s not working, he is a certified scuba instructor and participates in triathlons.
  1. Baker, M. (2016). 1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility. Nature, 533, 452–454.
  2. 2018 Trainee Symposium — “Do it Again: How to Achieve Rigorously Reproducible Research”. American Physiological Society. Accessed 26 February 2018.
  3. Frequently asked questions — Rigor and Transparency. National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research. Last revised: 1 February 2016. Accessed 26 February 2018.
  4. Baker, M. (2016). Reproducibility: Seek out stronger science. Nature, 537, 703–704.
  5. Seeking out stronger science: An incomplete, non-systematic list of resources. Naturejobs — Naturejobs blog. Last revised: 28 September 2016. Accessed 26 February 2018.
  6. Reproducibility in Research. American Physiological Society. Accessed 26 February 2018.
Revisit the EB 2013 TAC symposium “Translational Research: From Bench to Bedside”

The concept of “translational science” or “translational research” is everywhere.  When you submit or review a manuscript or an abstract you may be asked if the research is translational.  When you write a grant application you will likely try to convince reviewers of the translational aspects or potential of your project.  Translational research or translational science has been a hot topic for a few years now and it will undoubtedly continue to be a hot topic for years to come.  In 2013, the Trainee Advisory Committee symposium at Experimental Biology was dedicated to providing a definition of translational science and hearing different perspectives on translational science from both a physician and a basic researcher.  The information presented in that symposium is as relevant today as it was in 2013 – so it seems appropriate to “re-visit” it here and now.


Defining “Translational Science”:

Annie Whitaker, Ph.D. (Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center)

Jessica Bradley (Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center)

For: Joni Rutter, Ph.D. (National Institutes of Health)


MD’s Perspective on Translational Science Career:

Michael Joyner, M.D. (Mayo Clinic)


Basic Science Researcher’s Perspective on Translational Science Career:

Babette LaMarca, Ph.D. (University of Mississippi Medical Center)


Steven Copp, PhD works in the Department of Kinesiology at Kansas State University. He  teaches courses related to neuroendocrinology and the autonomic control of the circulation during exercise.  His research interest is the exercise pressor reflex-mediated control of the circulation in health and disease.
January 2018 TAC Social Media Collection: Translational science/research

My task for the month of January was put together the social media posts for January 2018.  The topic was translational research.  Should be easy – right?  “Translational research/science” is a big buzzword in the scientific community and my thought process going into the task was that a few quick Google searches for interesting and relevant articles would be all that was required.  I started by looking for a simple definition of “translational research”.  I realized pretty quickly that I was in for a bigger challenge than initially thought.  The complexity of this topic begins with the fact that there really isn’t a universally agreed upon definition of translational science or research.  The collection of posts below are selected resources, articles, and blogs that will provide a good foundation for you to begin to understand the issues, complexities, and importance of translational research.


Post #1: The concept of translational science can be confusing.  The best place to start diving into this topic is undoubtedly with the recently established NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).  Learn about the “translational science spectrum” here:


Post #2: Read a graduate student’s take on trying to understand the similarities and differences between basic science and translational research:


Post #3:  One way of thinking about translational research is that it “bridges the gap” between basic and clinical research.


Post #4: There are many options for alternative careers in translational research that will allow you to step away from the bench.  Read about what skills you need and other related topics.


Post #5: What does it take to carve out a career in translational research? Trainees need to understand the risks and opportunities.


Post #6: Learn about the mission and scientific focuses of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the NIH:


Post #7: Are you a current doctoral student and interested in receiving formal training in translational research? Consider applying for the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Research Course for Ph.D. Students.  Find more information here:


Post #8: Are knowledge translation and translational research the same thing?

Steven Copp, PhD works in the Department of Kinesiology at Kansas State University. He  teaches courses related to neuroendocrinology and the autonomic control of the circulation during exercise.  His research interest is the exercise pressor reflex-mediated control of the circulation in health and disease.