K12 Mentored Research Scholars Program

The Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University invites applications from all qualifying faculty for broad, multidisciplinary research initiatives focused on child health. Applications can be submitted at any point during the academic year.

The goal of this program is establishing a mentored training program for early career pediatricians possessing both the aptitude and passion to become a new generation of basic and translational physician scientists. The overarching theme for the program is elucidation of the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of childhood diseases, leading to identification of therapeutic targets for the development of new drugs, biologics and vaccines. Board certified or board eligible pediatricians, at the Fellow or Instructor or Assistant Professor rank with an appointment in the Department of Pediatrics, are strongly encouraged to serve as principal investigators for these applications.

We will focus on career development in the following areas of child health where Vanderbilt has internationally recognized programs of discovery combined with a record of sustained excellence in research mentorship. These include:

  1. Lung Disease and Development, including lung disease of prematurity
  2. Heart Disease and Development
  3. Obesity and Metabolism (including diabetes)
  4. Neurological Disorders
  5. Cancer Biology
  6. Infectious Diseases of Childhood
  7. Other areas of research are also encouraged.

The program offers an integrated pediatric department and medical school training program for four pediatric scholars to receive up to three years of support that includes intense scientific mentorship and personalized career development. The scholars will have access to a cadre of well-established faculty including 25 carefully selected basic and translational senior investigators with sustained NIH funding coupled with an extensive and successful track record of mentoring young scholars. In addition, we have carefully selected eight pediatric next generation mentors, most with R01 funding that will be well positioned for full mentorship of K12 scholars at the completion of this cycle.

Each scholar will have an individualized training program developed by the Training Directors (Drs. Mark Denison, and Erin Plosa) in collaboration with a multidisciplinary mentorship team and will be supported by a broad array of institutional and departmental resources. Each scholar will be allocated $80,000 per year towards salary plus fringe, and at least 80 percent effort allocated to research.

Activities will include peer-to-peer group meetings including monthly breakfast meetings with the training directors, weekly departmental research seminars, regular mentorship committee meetings (at a minimum every six months), and annual formal evaluations of scholars and program. Scholars will also have annual confidential face-to-face meetings with two outside advisors.

New applications should include the following four items:

1. A prior K12, K23, K08 application or equivalent, with critiques or a complete K12 application based on NIH format is required. (examples: K23 Program AnnouncementK08 Program Announcement)

2. If a prior application is used, a one page cover sheet describing interim scientific progress toward each aim since the submission of the mentored award with scientific updates. 

3. A preliminary budget of $25,000 per year for two years.

4. One-page letter from the sponsoring Division Director.

All applications must be submitted via REDCap. Please contact karen.hagan@vumc.org with a cc: to m.debaun@vumc.org to gain access to the application.