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Professional Development

Toxicology Program

The NCSU Toxicology Program curriculum includes core professional development courses in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) (TOX 820), Research Communications (TOX 821), Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility (MER) (TOX 822), Basic Scripting in “R” (TOX 823), and Grant Writing (TOX 824). Establishing this professional development series represents an optimization of our course materials that serves to ready students for today’s research and data intensive environment. This integrated professional development series is designed to provide training in scientific rigor, reasoning, experimental design and methods, and data analysis and interpretation.


RCR is offered to 1st year/Fall semester Students. This professional development course provides formal instruction in responsible conduct of research that reflects best practices of the scientific community. The goal is to teach students how to undertake scientific investigation with integrity and instill a strong foundation of ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. Multiple mentors from this NIEHS T32 TG participate as primary discussants in the curricula

Research Communications

Research Communications is offered to 1st year/Spring semester trainees. This professional development course will help students understand and acquire the skills needed to be successful in a scientific career. The curricula provides detailed instruction on how to read and write scientific publications; prepare and present posters and effectively communicate scientific research methodology and findings to a wide variety of audiences.

Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility

Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility is offered to 1st year/Spring semester trainees. MER provides instruction on methods in scientific rigor and reproducibility with a focus on experimental design and consideration of relevant biological variables, authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources, data and material sharing, record keeping, and transparency in reporting.

Basic Scripting in R

Basic Scripting in “R” is offered to 2nd year/Fall semester trainees. Increasingly, all areas of science are more data driven. This professional development course covers beginning instruction in the use of R and the Rstudio interactive development environment (IDE) to learn about data structures, basic data analysis and data visualization. Additional topics on data analysis workflows and reproducibility, data import and data export will be covered.

Grant Writing

Grant Writing is offered to 2nd year/Spring semester trainees. This professional development course is designed to familiarize graduate students with the process of writing an effective F31 NRSA application. Critical components include development of a specific aims page, research approach, personal statement, and budget. Students write and submit proposal sections for group assessment and formal review

Professional Development through NCSU Graduate School

The NC State Graduate School offers training in many skills that prepare students for life beyond graduate school. Professional development opportunities and training are available for a variety of career orientations including academia, industry and teaching. Enhancement opportunities are available in grant writing, navigating institutional grant processing, providing effective leadership, resolving conflicts, and communicating in a variety of situations. Several Toxicology graduate students have engaged in the following opportunities:

Academic Pathways Gearing up for Faculty: a professional development program geared towards late-stage graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are interested in pursuing careers in academia. This program instructs both students and postdocs about responsibilities and roles of early-career faculty and prepares them for the competitive academic job market.

Preparing the Professoriate: a professional development program geared towards graduate students interested in a teaching career. This is a one-year program where students work closely with faculty mentors to develop successful teaching practices culminating in a teaching portfolio that participants can use in future academic job searches. Students in the program receive a Teaching and Communication Certificate that denotes the accessibility, flexibility, and transferability of teaching and communication training received.

Accelerate to Industry: a program targeting students interested in a career in industry. Through this program, graduate students work with participating companies to help build business leadership and communication skills that companies seek. The mission is to help students and postdocs secure industry jobs and to prepare them for the corporate environment by demonstrating key competencies that are not usually learned through graduate training.

Advanced Writing for Empirical Research Workshop: a program offered through the English Department designed for graduate students in empirical research fields who are working on grant proposals, theses/dissertations, papers for professional journals, conference proposals, or other significant research texts. The course provides intensive practice and feedback on writing skills. On average, one to three NIEHS T32 TG trainees register for this course/year. The Graduate School additionally offers writing consultations, personalized writing support and writing retreats through its writing support program.

Postdoctoral trainees interested in academia will also be encouraged to participate in the Assistant Professor Learning Community which is an open discussion group focused on special issues of importance to assistant professors. 

The Graduate School maintains a Postdoctoral Fellow page which has information regarding job fairs, campus resources, and job benefits etc, and has recently opened the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. The training director will inform trainees of university and Research Triangle area job fairs, symposium, etc through email correspondence.