Training: METP

The Molecular Endocrinology Training Program (METP) is a combined predoctoral and postdoctoral training program that began in 1988 and is now in its 29th year of NIDDK funding. The METP was directed by Dr. Daryl Granner from 1988-2004 and has been directed by Dr. Richard O'Brien since 2004.

 

The METP has a highly successful record in achieving its stated goal, namely the training of individuals for careers in molecular endocrinology-related research. Of the 150+ predoctoral trainees that have been supported by the METP over the duration of the program, many have gone on to obtain academic positions, work in biotech/pharmaceutical industries, hold technical positions in research laboratories, pursue clinical practice, teach, go into business, or work as science writers, government researchers, university administrators, non-governmental science or health agency staff.

 


 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The METP is composed of thirty faculty members from seven basic science departments. Of this group twenty-six are tenured faculty with stable, well-funded programs and extensive training experience and four are new investigators. The preceptor group constitutes an unusually diverse and talented group of individuals whose work covers the spectrum of molecular endocrinology. These preceptors conduct research in the general areas of (1) signal transduction, (2) the hormonal regulation of gene expression, (3) metabolic regulation, and (4) beta cell development and function.

The METP funds eight predoctoral and four postdoctoral trainees each year. All METP trainees are nominated by a preceptor and then appointed upon the recommendation of the METP Steering Committee. Predoctoral trainees join the METP after one year in either the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) or Quantitative & Chemical Biology Program (QCB). Postdoctoral trainees are recruited by individual labs. METP support is initially provided for one year, but a second year of support is usually forthcoming contingent upon satisfactory progress. Rigorous in-depth research training is the focus of both the predoctoral and postdoctoral training programs.

 


 

CURRENT TRAINEES

 

 

 

Jamie Garcia, PhD

Graduate Institution: Duke University

Project Title

Preceptor: Alyssa Hasty, PhD

icon Postdoc 

 

 

 

John William Deaver, PhD

Graduate Institution: University of Arkansas

Project Title

Preceptor: David Wasserman, PhD

icon Postdoc 

 

 


 

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:

  • Through the combined efforts of the IGP, QCB and METP, predoctoral trainees receive a broad didactic education. The Office of Biomedical Research Education & Training (BRET) provides introductory laboratory and animal safety and offers extensive career development resources and programming for both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees. The BRET office also coordinates Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Symposia to supplement lab and program-based RCR.

     

    Requirements for  icon predoctoral METP trainees include:

    • Completion of the Molecular Endocrinology (MPB 8327) and Tutorials in Physiology (MPB 8324) courses; the latter provides training in grant writing as required by NIH regulations
    • Attendance and research presentation at the annual METP Day retreat and, where appropriate, the Diabetes Research Day retreat
    • Attendance at monthly trainee-run METP Data Club
    • If requested, teach a flextime session in the first year Molecular Aspects of Obesity and Diabetes (MPB 8333) Spring Elective
    • Participation in the Introduction to RCR Symposium arranged by the BRET Office every two years
    • Inclusion of a METP preceptor on the thesis committee in addition to the research mentor
    • Discussion with thesis committee the potential for the preparation and submission of successful applications for an individual fellowship or independent research project grant

     

    Requirements for  icon postdoctoral METP trainees include:

    • Completion of biosafety, animal safety, environmental safety and radiation safety training, as appropriate. Links to training modules can be found on the postdoctoral affairs website.

    • Completion of coursework in grant writing offered by the BRET Office, as required by NIH regulations
    • Attendance and research presentation at the annual METP Day retreat and, where appropriate, the Diabetes Research Day retreat
    • Attendance at monthly trainee-run METP Data Club
    • If requested, teach a flextime session in the first year Molecular Aspects of Obesity and Diabetes (MPB 8333) Spring Elective
    • Participation in the Introduction to RCR Symposium arranged by the BRET Office every two years; assistance with small group facilitation when requested by Drs. O'Brien and Gannon
    • Formation of a postdoctoral mentoring committee, composed of their preceptor, the METP Director and one other METP preceptor, to obtain additional feedback and guidance in their research; this committee meets every 6 months
    • Discussion with postdoctoral mentoring committee the potential for the preparation and submission of successful applications for an individual fellowship or independent research project grant during the first year
    • Completion of a minimum of 2 years of research training to satisfy NIH payback service requirements

     

  • Program Director

     

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    Richard O'Brien, PhD

    Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

    Director of Graduate Studies, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

     

    Program Associate Director

     

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    Maureen Gannon, PhD

    Professor of Medicine, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and Cell & Developmental Biology

    Vice Chair for Faculty Development, Medicine

     

  • A key feature of the METP, and indeed Vanderbilt as a whole, is the fact that faculty preceptors are extremely interactive such that scientific collaborations are common, often involving graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. Several weekly data clubs exist, involving multiple METP preceptors and trainees, which foster interactions between trainees and preceptors and provide trainees with a valuable opportunity to present and receive feedback on their research data.

    The training experience available to METP trainees is markedly enriched by the presence of the NIDDK-funded Vanderbilt Diabetes Research Center. Many trainees also benefit from assistance by the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (MMPC), a unique resource that supports cutting edge metabolic research in mice.

    Pre- and postdoctoral trainees who are interested in coupling basic science research with clinical problems have the option to enroll in the Vanderbilt Program in Molecular Medicine. This innovative program provides a personalized approach that aims to train a new generation of biomedical researchers with the skills necessary for understanding and developing breakthroughs in clinical research fields. Postdoctoral trainees considering a career in patient-oriented research also have the option to enroll in the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation Program at Vanderbilt.

    The METP recently established the Vanderbilt Summer Diabetes Research Program (VSDRP), one of several programs integrated into the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy, to increase visibility of diabetes research and encourage more predoctoral students to pursue training in molecular endocrinology. The VSSA provides instruction in preparing for the GRE and organizes multiple enrichment sessions relating to graduate school applications and careers in the biosciences. Finally, through the Summer Science Symposium, at which trainees present their research, and the various social events it organizes, the VSSA also provides trainees with the opportunity to meet and discuss their science with individuals in other summer research programs. To foster a connection between VSDRP trainees and the METP, each undergraduate student is assigned an METP trainee to act as a mentor during their summer at Vanderbilt.

    The METP strives to recruit and train of individuals from underrepresented minorities and disabled students. As such, METP faculty members interact with the Middle Tennessee chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the College Diabetes Network to actively recruit trainees with type 1 diabetes to the VSDRP.

     

  • The METP has supported the careers of many trainees who have gone onto successful careers in science. The following examples focus on individuals who have obtained academic positions or jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, though METP trainees have had successful careers in many other areas of science including science writing, government service, medicine or health charity administration.

     

    Sam Pfaff
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1988-1991
    Current Position: Professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gene Expression Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA

    Charles Davis
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1988-1989
    Current Position: Associate Professor, Penn State Hershey Bone and Joint Institute, Hershey, PA

    C. Michael Jones
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1988-1990
    Current Position: Chief Science Officer, Aluminaid, Republic of Singapore

    Lincoln Potter
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1988-1990
    Current Position: Professor, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

    Stephanie Schroeder 
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1989-1991
    Current Position: Chair & Associate Professor, Webster University, St. Louis, MO

    Edouard Noisin
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1989-1990
    Current Position: President Executive, Universite Roi Henri Christophe, Haiti

    Sabina Kupershmidt
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1990-1992
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Nursing, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD

    Robin Reed
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1990-1993
    Current Position: Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN

    Jon Jackson
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1991-1992
    Current Position: Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND

    Tom Jetton
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1991-1993
    Current Position: Professor of Medicine-Endocrinology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

    Mark Alexandrow
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1991-1993
    Current Position: Assistant Member, Program in Molecular Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL

    Bart Lutterbach
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1991-1995
    Current Position: Associate Principal Scientist, Merck Research Laboratories, Boston, MA

    Peter Lucas
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1992-1994
    Current Position: Associate Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Dana Sindelar
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1992-1995
    Current Position: Principal Research Scientist, Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, IN

    DeAnne Cravaritis
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1993-1994
    Current Position: Staff Scientist, Research Science Center, NCBI, Bethesda, MD

    Blair McNeill
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1993-1995
    Current Position: Principal Process Development Scientist, Alkermes, Wilmington, OH

    Li Yang
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1994-1996
    Current Position: Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Head, Tumor Microenvironment Section, NCI, NIH, Bethesda, MD

    Matthew Pete
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1994-1996
    Current Position: Senior Scientist, Alkermes Inc., Lebanon OH

    Kevin Gerrish
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1994-1996
    Current Position: Scientist, Microarray Group, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIEHS, Triangle Park, NC

    Claes Bavik
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1995-1997
    Current Position: Associate Director, Biology, Acucela, Seattle, WA

    Amy Halseth
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1995-1997
    Current Position: Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Orexigen Therapeutics San Diego, CA

    Jon Partridge
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1995-1997
    Current Position: Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

    Christine Donmoyer
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1996-1998
    Current Position: Assistant Professor of Biology, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA

    Steven Sanders
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1996-1998
    Current Position: Director of Molecular Biology, Cibus US LLC, San Diego CA

    Ryan Streeper
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1996-1998
    Current Position: Research Investigator, Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research Boston, MA

    Mary Waltner Law
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1997-1999
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, University of Florida, FL

    Erin Eaton
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1997-1999
    Current Position: Associate Professor of Biology, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC

    Dale Edgerton
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1997-1999
    Current Position: Research Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt  University, Nashville, TN

    Jeremy Richman
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1998-2000
    Previous Position: Associate Director, Arena Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, CA
    Current Position: Founder, Director the Avielle Foundation, Newtown, CT

    Julio Ayala
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1998-2000
    Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

    Jennifer Busch
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1998-2000
    Current Position: Associate Professor of Biology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

    Anthony Couvillon
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1998-2000
    Current Position: Development Scientist, Cell Signaling Technology, Danvers, MA

    Stephanie Sherck Gustavson
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1998-2001
    Current Position: Director, CVMD Global Medicines Development AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg, MD

    Renee Ireton
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 1999-2001
    Current Position: Assistant Director of Research, Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease, Dept. of Immunology, Seattle, WA

    Maureen Gannon
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 1999-2001
    Current Position: Professor, METP Associate Director, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

    John LeLay
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2000-2002
    Current Position: Scientist at MedImmune, Gaithersburg, MD

    Richard Pencek
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2000-2002
    Current Position: Senior Director, Clinical Research at Intercept Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, CA

    Alfred Robison
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2000-2002
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

    Leigh Carmody
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2001-2003
    Current Position: Research Project Manager at The Jackson Laboratory of Genomic Medicine, Farmington, CT

    J. Chris Cooper
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2001-2003
    Current Position: Research Scientist, Glycosensors and Diagnostics LLC, Athens, GA

    Christopher Williams
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2001-2002
    Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

    Ren Jin
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2001-2003
    Current Position: Research Assistant Professor, Urologic Surgery Department, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

    Rajnish Gupta
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2001-2002
    Current Position: Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

    Peter Wiebe
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2002-2004
    Current Position: Manager Data Analytics, Abbott Diagnostics, Chicago, IL

    Michael Bowen
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2003-2004
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Dept of Clinical Science, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

    Brian Linggi
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2003-2005
    Current Position: Systems Pharmacology and Biomarkers, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, San Diego, CA

    Kathryn Stettler Johnson
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2003-2005
    Current Position: Assistant Professor of Biology, Beloit College, Beloit, WI

    Michael Blaha
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2004-2005
    Current Position: Director of Clinical Research, Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, Assistant Prof. of Medicine, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD

    Latsavongsak Sethaphong
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2004-2006
    Current Position: Lieutenant, Department of Chemistry, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

    Keely Gilroy
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2004-2006
    Current Position: Executive Clinical Science Liaison, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Atlanta, GA

    Susanne Tranguch
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2005-2007
    Current Position: Assistant Dean for Biomedical Science, Research Assistant Professor, Dept. of Cell Biology, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY

    Ryan Burnette
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2005-2007
    Current Position: Director, Alliance Biosciences, Richmond, VA

    Eric Berglund
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2006-2008
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

    Corey Fowler
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2006-2007
    Current Position: Clinical Program Manager at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies, New York, NY

    Lara Nyman
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2006-2008
    Current Position: Associate Principal Scientist, R & D Manager, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Barrington, IL

    Jason Winnick
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2007-2008
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

    Elizabeth Tweedie-Ables
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2007-2009
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

    Katie Colbert Coate
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2008-2009
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Samford University, Samford, AL

    Dario Gutierrez
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2008-2009
    Current Position: Immunobiology Leader, Merck Research Labs, Cambridge Exploratory Science Center, Cambridge, MA

    Kimberly Mulligan
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 2008-2009
    Current Position: COSAM Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Auburn University, Auburn, AL

    David DeGraff
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2008-2009
    Current Position: Assistant Professor of Pathology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA

    Joan Garrett
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2008-2010
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

    Tara Schwetz
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2009-2011
    Current Position: Senior Advisor to the Principal Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

    Julien Sebag
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2010-2012
    Current Position: Assistant Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

    Emily Stanley
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2011-2012
    Current Position: Scientist, Catalent Pharma Solutions, Kansas City, MO

    Travis Cyphert
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 2013-2015
    Current Position: Assistant Professor, Marshall  University, Huntington, WV 

    Jamal Bryant
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G4)

    Matthew Cottam
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G4)

    Slavina Goleva
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G4)

    Sarah Milian
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G5)

    Andrea Perreault
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G5)

    Corey Seacrist
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G5)

    Kayla Shumate
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G5)

    Shannon Townsend
    Predoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Student (Rising G4)

    Molly Altman
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Adjunct Faculty, College of Pharmacy, Belmont University

    Anel Jaramillo
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Postdoc (Danny Winder lab)

    P. Mason McClatchey
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Scientist, Sigilon Therapeutics, Inc. 

    Joshua Neuman
    Postdoctoral METP Trainee 
    Current Position: Medical Liaison, Pediatric Endocrinology, Novo Nordisk

     

The Molecular Endocrinology Training Program (METP) is supported by NIH grant T32 DK07563 and by the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research Center (NIH grant DK20593).