CMaT Graduate Student International Research Experience

Synopsis

The CMaT international research experience (IRE) sponsors international travel for U.S. based graduate students to engage in research with partner universities. Students apply individually to the program and must propose a location, host PI/Lab, and a research project appropriate for the host site and duration of the international visit.

An IRE travel award provides U.S. based graduate students: 1) First-hand research experience in Ireland, Canada or Japan; 2) Exposure to the research culture, socio-political background, inter-cultural teamwork and research infrastructure at the respective location; 3) Exposure to international culture, society and language. It is expected that IRE travel awards will promote future collaborations between the host lab and the student’s home lab.

The IRE travel award includes roundtrip airplane ticket plus ground transportation to host location, housing and an allowance for living expenses. Applicants may also request supplemental funding for their PI to visit the host lab for one week.

Eligibility

All applicants must:

  • Be enrolled in a research-based MS or PhD program under the direct supervision of a CMaT funded faculty advisor and be in good academic standing. If the student is enrolled in a joint Bachelor’s/Master’s program (e.g. Double Dawgs), the student must have completed the undergraduate portion of the program.
  • Propose a research project that aligns with the goals of CMaT
  • Non-U.S. citizens must be eligible for travel to the host country.
  • Be 18 years of age or older.

Number of Awards and Funding

CMaT intends to make 3-4 IRE awards in 2019.  Funding is primarily intended for travel and living expenses while abroad.  Average awards should be in the $8K-$12K range.  Travel support of faculty advisor to make a short visit to international partner institution while graduate student is in residence is allowed and encouraged, based on availability of funds to do so.  Other sources of support are encouraged should proposals exceed $12K budget threshold. 

Approximate Timeline

January 31: Applications due

February: CMaT merit review of applications

March 15: Acceptance notices issued to students

Spring: Students prepare for travel and make all necessary arrangements with host institution and attend pre-departure orientation

Summer & Fall: International research experience, expected to last 4-8 weeks. Dates are flexible based on student’s academic program and host lab availability.

August: Students present poster at CMaT annual retreat, if applicable

Applications

Students wishing to apply to the program must:

  • Complete the online application form: https://gatech.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1779914
  • All information must be entered completely and correctly
  • Submit a research proposal (not to exceed three (3) pages, single spaced). The proposal should be a brief description of the proposed research and should include the following elements:
    • Project synopsis and timeline. The proposed research should be achievable in 4-8 weeks.
    • Research plan including a short background section, research objectives and methodologies.
    • Justification for conducting the research at the host location
    • Explanation of how the proposed research fits with the student’s current research/thesis
    • Describe any unique qualifications you possess to conduct research in an international setting.
  • Submit a budget
  • Provide a support letter from their faculty advisor
  • Submit an invitation letter from the host PI. Applicants initiate contact with potential host researchers, establish communication, and if mutual commitment is established, obtain letter of invitation or acceptance from the host.

International Partner Institutions

The 2019 IRE program is focused on working with CMaT’s three international partner institutions in Japan, Ireland, and Canada.  More information about each partner can be found below.

National University of Ireland-Galway (NUIG)

Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM)

Abhay Pandit, Frank Barry, & Steven Griffin

Thrust 1: Omics for Cell Characterization

Thrust 3: Systems Optimization for Scalable Manufacturing

Testbed 1: Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Innovation: Translational research, industry-university collaboration, commercialization, and EU regulatory processes

CÚRAM has significant industry-academic partnership experience and a world class program in cell-based regenerative medicine. Researchers have a long-term history with several CMaT faculty and are committed to pursue C2C opportunities to build new collaborative research projects, specifically around Thrusts 1 and 3, and Testbed 1.

University of Toronto

The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCMR) and Medicine by Design (MbD)

Michael Sefton and Peter Zandstra

Thrust 1: Omics for Cell Characterization

Thrust 2: Monitoring Cell Potency-Safety

Thrust 3: Systems Optimization for Scalable Manufacturing

Testbed 2: Engineered T Cells

Testbed 3: Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes

Innovation: Translational research, commercialization, business of regenerative medicine course, and Canadian regulatory processes

CCRM/MbD have established a strong infrastructure and R&D program in cell therapies, especially focusing on bioprocess development and translation.  CMaT faculty have many longstanding relationships with their researchers that includes an annual “business of regenerative medicine” course and multiple graduates have gone on for further training at CCRM labs. Furthermore, significant opportunities exist for C2C research collaborations across all three CMaT thrusts and two of the three testbeds.  Exposure of CMaT students to CCRM/MbD infrastructure, best practices, and participating in the business course to learn how to translate research to industry practice would be a huge benefit for their careers.

Osaka University

BioProcess Systems Engineering Lab

Masahiro Kino-Oka

Thrust 2: Monitoring Cell Potency-Safety

Testbed 3: Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes

Innovation: Japanese regulatory processes and manufacturing automation infrastructure

Professor Masahiro Kino-Oka is a global expert in robotics and automation for cell therapy manufacturing is critical for developing a robust cell manufacturing industry.  Reciprocal student and faculty exposure to Osaka-CMaT automation infrastructure and collaborative C2C manufacturing research has tremendous mutual benefits.  The regulatory approval process for cell therapies in Japan has recently changed and an international discussion is underway about the possibility of the U.S. FDA emulating that structure.

Contact

For questions about the IRE travel awards, please contact:

Erin Bryant – erin.bryant@ibb.gatech.edu

James Warnock – james.warnock@uga.edu