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Eleventh Annual Fellows' Training Symposium 2019

, by DCEG Staff

conference attendees standing on stairs

The Training Trio: Biostatistics/Bioinformatics, Clinical/Molecular Science, and Epidemiology

The eleventh annual DCEG Fellows’ Symposium was held on April 26, 2019, on the NIH main campus. The theme for this year was “The Training Trio: Seeking to examine the importance of developing research skills and collaborations in the population science disciplines of Biostatistics/Bioinformatics, Clinical/Molecular Science, and Epidemiology.” Speakers included Paul Albert, Ph.D., senior investigator and Chief of the Biostatistics Branch; Dr. Ellen Goode, Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic; and Dr. Jennifer Doherty, Associate Professor, Population Health Sciences, University of Utah. About 60 DCEG fellows attended the event.

The organizing committee for the symposium included Christian S. Alvarez-Privado, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Yingxi (Cimo) Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Justin Yongli Han, Ph.D., Rebecca Hennessey, Ph.D., Kathleen M. McClain, Ph.D., M.S., and Ankur Patel, M.S. The DCEG Office of Education, including Jackie Lavigne, Ph.D., M.P.H., Diane Wigfield, and Cara Murphy, supported and advised the organizing committee throughout the process.

Dr. Albert gave the opening talk, titled “Running through the institutes: a career at NIH.” He discussed his work across several institutes, illustrating the variety of research opportunities over a career in biostatistics. 

Organizers of the Fellows Training Symposium 2019

Dr. Goode presented, “Translational epidemiology as a foundation for cancer genomics.” She talked about her research in ovarian cancer and the catalytic effect that engaging across several disciplines has had in her success.

Dr. Doherty discussed, “Transdisciplinary science: trainees as an engine for collaboration.” She highlighted the value trainees add to several of her research projects, focusing on two fellows who came from different disciplines and collaborated to conduct an innovative research project.

Fellows also had an opportunity to present their research: Maria Demarco, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Clinical Genetics Branch, discussed “Automated visual evaluation for cervical cancer screening and management: promise and limitations,” and Jun Zhong, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Translational Genomics, presented “Large-scale transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) identifies novel candidate susceptibility genes for pancreatic cancer.” In addition, approximately 25 of the fellows presented posters, which gave them a platform to discuss their research findings and explore potential collaborations.

The DCEG Office of Education provided information on a range of resources from personal guidance on filing taxes, health insurance options, fitness center and wellness, to research resources at the NIH and NCI libraries to tips on building a successful mentoring relationship, self-promotion, and negotiating job offers.

Fellows present their research at poster session

The symposium ended with an interactive roundtable session. Twelve invited speakers, including many DCEG alumni, hosted tables on various career topics:

  • Medical and Graduate School – Dr. Elena Hernandez-Ramon and Dr. Philip Ryan
  • Non-NIH Federal Agencies – Dr. Terry Lee and Dr. Kamau Peters
  • Intramural Staff Scientist – Dr. Matthew Mille and Dr. Marie-Josèphe Horner
  • Earl Stadtman Intramural Investigator Program – Dr. Emily Vogtmann and Dr. Paul Albert
  • Extramural Program Offices - Dr. Joanne Elena and Dr. Gila Neta
  • Contracting Companies/Industry – Dr. Ana Maria Ortega-Villa
  • Non-Profit Organizations – Dr. Shakira Nelson and Dr. Curt Dellavalle
  • Academia – Dr. Jennifer Doherty and Dr. Ellen Goode

After the roundtable session and closing remarks, many attended a social hour to celebrate the success of the symposium. Postdoctoral fellow Jun Zhong, Ph.D., put it best: “It was a fantastic and impressive symposium where I made new friends and gained new advanced knowledge. This symposium made me proud to be a fellow in DCEG.”

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