Reproductive health is the window to overall health and offers enormous opportunities and challenges for high- quality interdisciplinary research and careers. The goal of the Career Training in Reproductive Biology (CTRB) Program is to train exceptional predoctoral students for diverse scientific careers in the reproductive sciences. Funds are requested to train five predoctoral students per year in a dual program consisting two main parts. First, to prepare for a research career, students will engage in rigorous, hypothesis-based scientific laboratory work in reproductive biology. Second, to prepare students for varied career paths, they will complete a University of Michigan-sponsored Certificate program to hone skills in teaching, translational research, public policy, or entrepreneurship. These Certificate programs were specifically designed to dovetail with graduate work to prepare students with the qualitative and quantitative skills needed for careers in specific disciplines. This innovative program addresses the needs of reproductive biology trainees in a way that no other program at the University of Michigan does. Thirteen select faculty mentors, who are highly recognized scientists with a passion for and extensive combined experience in predoctoral education, enthusiastically comprise the CTRB Program faculty. Trainees are drawn from exceptionally strong graduate programs in biomedical sciences, biomedical engineering and environmental health sciences. Specific training activities include formal courses in Mammalian Reproductive Physiology, Scientific Communication and Responsible Conduct of Research, monthly mentored trainee research presentations, group discussions of laboratory management, job interview practice, two annual symposia in reproductive sciences and twice-yearly mentoring meeting. Trainee input will actively shape the training program. Trainees and mentors submit formal competitive applications that are reviewed and required for appointment to the CTRB Program. The CTRB Program is monitored by several internal mechanisms and external advisors will be established to ensure its responsiveness to demands of a continuously evolving research environment and changing trainee needs.
Central goals of the Career Training in Reproductive Biology are to provide intellectual and technical research training in the field of reproductive biology, to promote interdisciplinary thinking, and to pair trainee passion for science with employment opportunities by exposing trainees to diverse scientific career opportunities that cross boundaries between the academic and non-academic.