Training Program

"We are committed to a mentoring environment that will provide both challenge and support across domains."

To effectively train young scientists in an integrative developmental science, one cannot merely select topnotch applicants and put them each in one outstanding laboratory and train them to be expert in one specific domain. Trainees are expected to become expert in specific domains but to also be skilled in integrating across domains and levels, to think about complexity and why it matters, to have the skills and interest to collaborate with other researchers with different expertise, to be brave in designing new kinds of experiments that address fundamental but hard to answer questions, to produce and take advantage of the large data sets that may allow us to integrate and understand the multiple forces on developmental process. To reach these goals, the training program uses a portfolio approach to documenting progress and competencies. Progress must be documented each semester the trainee is affiliated with the program (except for the dissertation year for predoctoral trainees).

  1. Crossing-levels of analysis. Students are expected to show progress in using multiple methods that assess the same phenomenon at different levels of analysis or across different times scales. They are expected to fulfill this requirement in ways directly relevant to their own research program. Students early in their research career often fulfill these requirements with a course; or summer training program. Later they may do so through research collaborations. All the trainees during their time in the program must be associated with two laboratories for research training.
  2. Translation. This is a training grant in basic science research. Basic research scientists, however, must have an understanding of their role in basic-to-translation-to-clinical continuum. The faculty will offer workshops, lectures, and seminars on the role of basic science on the continuum and the key importance of understanding that complex process that is developmental process to understanding atypical patterns of development and to developing effective interventions.
  3. Data-data. Science is changing. Advances in data sharing, data repositories, analytics and machine learning are providing new tools to understanding the complexity - multi-causal, multi-looped - pathways that are developmental process. Trainees may document their semester-by-semester progress through a variety of courses (from machine learning, to time sampling, to hierarchical analyses, to graph theory), workshops (local and national), MOOCs (e.g., in Matlab and Python), participation in Network seminar, and through their own research analyses.
  4. Professional skills. The faculty will offer workshops, groups meetings, and seminars that support the development of skills in grant writing, paper submission and revision, applying for jobs, and team and collaborative research. All trainees are required to submit a grant application (NSF graduate fellowship grants in their first or second year of graduate training, NRSA applications for advanced graduate students and post-doctoral researchers). Grant writing courses and workshops are offered to support these submissions.
  5. Ethical Training. Ethics in research is taught continuously by example within the research laboratories and discussion groups. Topics include informed consent, issues in research integrity and how to set up a lab that supports transparency and data integrity, data sharing, and collaboration.
  6. Developmental Seminar. All training faculty and pre- and postdoctoral trainees are expected to attend this once- a week 60 min meeting. Student talks on research, invited speakers, faculty discussions on ethics, translation, professional are offered in this forum.
  7. Invited Speakers. The DTG invites 4 speakers a year for extended visits in which the speaker presents a major colloquium, a workshop (on professionalism or a method), and post-doc panel (on topical science events). If there is someone you would like the training grant to invite please inform Charlotte Wozniak,, the administrator of the training program.

The training faculty belong to 4 participating PhD programs, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Vision Science, Cognitive Science and Program in Neuroscience.

The program supports 3 postdoctoral and 5 predoctoral trainees in a broader community of 17 research laboratories. We welcome inquiries and invite students who have a strong desire to pursue integrative research in human development to apply.

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