Training Grant Activities

Annual Summer Initial Meeting

The Directors will meet at the beginning of each summer with the newly appointed Trainees as well as re-appointed Trainees and describe the requirements and expectations of the training program.  At this time, the Trainees will also have the opportunity to discuss any additional training grant activities that they would like to see included in the training program.

Annual Trainee Organized Invited Lectures

Trainees are responsible for identifying and inviting during the course of the year a prominent scientist whose research will be of broad interest to the Penn and Philadelphia research community.  The invited lecturer presents a seminar to the Penn research community, but more importantly spends most of his/her day with the Trainees, having meals with them, as well as visiting with them in their thesis laboratories. Trainees organize and implement this activity.  The Executive Committee offers advice and ensures that budgetary constraints are not surpassed, and the administrative staff handles the travel and scheduling arrangements.

Annual Retreat

All Trainees are required to attend the annual daylong scientific retreat that is organized by the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group.  The retreat features a keynote speaker, student and faculty talks, and poster sessions.  All former Trainees who are currently doing their thesis research are required to present a poster of their thesis research at the retreat.

Trainee Short Research Talks

In the Spring semester, each Trainee will present a talk. The 3rd year students will present a 12-min talk on their thesis research with 3 min allocated for discussion. In a separate session, prior to prelims, each student preparing for prelims will have a 20-minute session--15 minutes for presenting aims and 5 minutes for questions (longer if necessary). Trainers of Trainees who are presenting are required to attend.  All Trainers and former Trainees are notified by email and are encouraged to attend.

Current and Former Trainee Lunch

Each Fall and Spring, the Training grant advisory committee selects and invites 1 or 2 former Trainees who are nearing the end of their thesis research to present a 25 min talk on their thesis research over lunch. This activity exposes current Trainees to the research activities of former Trainees, and also serves as an additional mechanism for the training grant leadership to monitor the progress of Trainees.  All Trainers and former Trainees are notified by email and are encouraged to attend; attendance is mandatory for current Trainees.

Individual Fellowships

Trainees are encouraged to submit individual fellowships in the second year of the program. To facilitate this process, 3rd year students will be connected with former trainees who successfully obtained an independent fellowship. They will work together on experimental design and preparing documents.

Alumni Day

In an effort to afford Trainees information regarding alternative career paths that will use their training, each year, a former CMBTG Trainee, who has completed their PhD and left Penn, Penn faculty (or former faculty) or other person pursuing an interesting career path is invited to discuss such non-traditional career paths.  Both current and former Trainees are notified by email and are encouraged to attend. Previous career topics have included faculty positions at predominantly undergraduate institutions, Pharma, journal editors, scientific writing and specialized fellowships (i.e. AAAS).

Professionalism Activities

The training grant will occasionally participate in other activities related to skill development. For example, a meeting with Pennovation will enable Trainees to learn more about intellectual property and setting up companies.

Annual Report

Trainees are required to submit an annual report for the noncompetitive training grant. Trainees will be contacted in October to submit this report.

Annual Advising for Former Trainees

The Directors and an advisory committee member will meet with each former Trainee each year for a formal advising meeting until the Trainee graduates.  These meetings afford the TG executive committee an additional mechanism to monitor a Trainee’s research progress, but also an opportunity to discuss with the Trainee their career plans and provide advice.  If concerns arise regarding a former Trainee’s research progress, the Directors communicate their concerns to the appropriate Graduate Group Chair or the Chair of the Trainee’s Thesis Advising Committee.