CATER program is enriched by special courses that are a requirement for all trainees.
Required courses for all trainees:
-Extracellular Matrix in Tissue Biology and Bioengineering course
Required courses by trainees in Bioengineering track in additon to A (select 1; required 1):
-Mechanisms of Tissue Growth and Differentiation
-Developmental mechanisms of Human Disease
Required courses by trainees in IGBP Track in addition to A (select any 2):
-Introductions to Biomechanics
-Introduction to Tissue Engineering
-Biomaterials and Biocompatibility
-Medical Product Engineering
-Medical Product Prototyping
Internships are required to be completed by all CATER trainees during the 3rd year of the CATER program in the fall semester. The internships are typically once a week for 8-12 weeks. Internships are available in 3 areas:
All incoming classes of CATER trainees are required to meet with the program director(s) at the beginning of the first year to discuss and finalize the curriculum for the academic year.
All CATER trainees are required to have a co-mentor in addition to a primary mentor. Upon admission, Dr. Monga assigns the co-mentor based on experience and field of the primary mentor from the list of primary and adjunct CATER faculty. The co-mentor is selected based on complementary and unique expertise. Examples have included a clinician co-mentor with complementary translational research; faculty from the ‘other’ discipline (if mentor is from life sciences, co-mentor is from bioengineering and vice versa). Additionally, a junior primary mentor is paired with a senior co-mentor and vice versa to provide ‘mentoring’ to the junior faculty. Thus the impetus behind having a co-mentor are many, the foremost being to provide to trainees an additional relevant resource for a broader and diverse learning base.
During the first two year’s co-mentors meet with trainees quarterly, after that twice a year.
Co-mentors meet with trainees just like the primary mentor to assess progress, discuss experiments and troubleshoot. Mentor and co-mentor formally meet with trainee every 6 months to complete trainee evaluation forms followed by a formal meeting with Dr. Monga to evaluate progress in ongoing research and coursework. Formal meetings with program leadership are held in late summer/early fall with the trainee and primary mentor and mid-winter with the trainee. At this time additional discussions is on topics such as RCR, professional development and setting specific milestones. All of these strategies have helped improve training, research, diversity, intra-programmatic collaborations and helped build a stronger CATER community.
Thesis Committee Requirements
Once a trainee is admitted to the CATER program with an approved research project, they will select a thesis committee as mandated by the IGBP and Bioengineering Programs. CATER trainees are required to have two CATER faculty on their thesis committees. One of these faculty must be from IBGP and one from Bioengineering. WE also recommend they include a clinician and/or community representative, if applicable. The basic ideology behind such a mandate is to have cross-disciplinary representation on the committee. Having representatives from the ‘other’ discipline(s) provides a resource at hand for the trainee for any relevant questions. The thesis committee meets every 6 months.
Additional Attendance Requirements for All CATER Trainees
This biweekly seminars is designed to develop an esprit de corps for the CATER graduate students. This course is directed by Dr. Monga and Dr. Andy Duncan. The seminar provides the following:
-An opportunity for CATER trainees to present original research data from their dissertation projects and obtain valuable feedback from peers. In addition, trainees get feedback on presentation styles and format. Lastly, collaborations and exchange of reagents among trainees is a natural result of this series.
-CATER faculty present their cutting edge research in this series.
-This course is a platform for professional development and at least 1-2 sessions every year are dedicated to professional and career development as well as discussions on career counseling.
-CATER seminars are also an avenue for discussions on various RCR topics.
This seminar series is sponsored by the Department of Pathology and has been in existence for over 20 years. The purpose of this seminar series is to provide a coordinated and comprehensive forum for basic and clinical research related to human development and disease. Seminar speakers consist predominately of invited extramural speakers. Attendance is required for all faculty, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, residents and clinical fellows. Lunch is generously provided for each seminar by the Department of Pathology
Required for all IBGP CATER trainees and optional for all Bioengineering CATER trainees.
Selected bioengineering-related topics are presented in a weekly one-hour lecture format by members of the Bioengineering community of both the University and other institutions. This seminar series is run jointly with the Department of Bioengineering.
Required for all Bioengineering CATER trainees and optional for all IBGP CATER trainees.
Established in 2007 these lecture series are designed to highlight the work of outstanding researchers in science & engineering areas relevant to regenerative medicine, and those who contribute through clinical studies. The lectureship has recruited speakers of mutual interest and benefit to the faculty and trainees.
CATER trainees are required to attend.
Department of Pathology Retreat
This annual event is held in late spring/early summer and is attended by faculty, students, residents and fellows in the Department of Pathology and collaborating faculty and students from other departments. The graduate students are required to submit an abstract and present their data at this retreat, with the majority as poster presentations. However 6 are invited to give oral presentations (selected from the abstracts submitted). Each oral and poster presentation is evaluated by a panel of judges, and awards are presented to the top three presentations.
Required for all CATER trainees
McGowan Institute Annual Retreat
This annual event is organized by the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at an off-campus location to give faculty members and their research group members an opportunity to participate in the networking sessions amongst faculty and nationally recognized guests. Graduate students are required to represent a poster (with abstract) as part of their retreat participation. Each trainee will be evaluated and judged on their poster presentation by a panel of faculty judges. Outside experts in the field of regenerative medicine are invited to provide presentations at this retreat, offering an opportunity for CATER trainees to network and potentially identify post-doctoral training opportunities. The retreat is held during the (late) winter, usually during the week of spring break at the university.
Required for all CATER trainees.
Professional Scientific Meetings
An integral part of the CATER Training Program is attendance and presentation of original research data at relevant regional, national and international conferences. All CATER pre-doctoral trainees are expected to attend and present at least one national/international scientific conferences. The selection of the national/international conference is made by the trainee and mentor. Attendance at these meetings may be supported by the training grant and individual faculty research grants. Trainees are encouraged to apply for travel funds when available for scientific conferences.
Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to describe generally accepted practices and ethical principles associated with authorship and publication, generation and use of data, mentoring, research misconduct, and other investigator responsibilities.
Radiation safety training is required for all personnel using radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment at the University of Pittsburgh and affiliated institutions. Training for radiation workers includes instruction in the basic principles of radiation protection and the applicable policies, procedures and regulatory requirements.
*All trainees are required to comply with university polices and guidelines before being in laboratory.
At least 8 hours of RCR workshops are required during the 4 years pf CATER training. We prefer attending 1-2 workshops every semester. Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to describe generally accepted practices and ethical principles associated with authorship and publications, generation and use of data, mentoring, research misconduct, and other investigator responsibilities. The RCR training is offered for CATER trainees by the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical Translational Science Institute. The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Center was created to support and enhance RCR education provided to all researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and to meet the NIH training grant requirements. The RCR training Center not only offers CTSI RCR training opportunities but also provides information about RCR educational programming throughout the University and resources for education and training other investigators. For information about any of the training center resources listed below, please go to the RCR home page.
RCR Training Center resources:
-An overview workshop of the fundamentals of RCR
-Workshops for individual RCR training topics, many addressing issues specifically for bench, pre-clinical or subject participant research.
-Events calendar of CTSI RCR workshops and other RCR programs University-wide.
-Repository of RCR resources, including textbooks and case studies.
-Guides to assist in the creation RCR plans for K award and T32 training grants
-Face-to-face assistance with creating a successful RCR plan and reporting RCR activities in annual reports
The following topics must be discussed in face-to-face didactic and/or small group discussions with trainees and participation of research training faculty members:
-Conflict of interest (personal, professional, financial)
-Policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
-Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
-Collaborative research including collaborations with industry
-Data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership
-Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
-Responsible authorship and publication
-The scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research
Additional Requirements for All CATER Trainees
All CATER trainees will be evaluated by program director. The meetings occur six monthly and trainees meet with the director after completing the required evaluation forms. In addition, the trainees meet with their mentors and co-mentors. At the end of first year, the trainees are promoted to year 2 based on the first annual assessment. All annual evaluations are in the form of individualized development plans (myIDP), which not only document the progress made by the trainee over the past year, but also lay out goals for the next year and progress towards the goals is assessed annually. Finally, the assigned dual mentor(co-mentor) meets with trainee every 6 months to address compatibility and suitability of trainee and mentor and provides an alternate scientific resource. At the year of year 2 CATER training, the role of dual mentor is scientific advice, career counseling and advising on professional development.
Grant Writing and Submission
All CATER trainees will be required to write an F30/F31 grant application by the end of their second year of CATER training. In lieu of F30/F31, trainees can write other grants including NSF, AHA, and others. A prior approval from the program director will be required.