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Biosocial Predoctoral Training Program


Predoctoral trainees in the Biosocial Training Program join a vibrant community of faculty, research staff, and postdoctoral scholars engaged in research at the nexus of social and health sciences. The structure of the program is designed to allow trainees the flexibility to develop expertise in specific areas of interest, while still ensuring a common grounding in integrative theory, methods, and measures.

Directors and Participating Faculty

Program Directors

Robert Hummer

Robert Hummer

Sociology

Allison Aiello

Allison Aiello

Epidemiology


Participating Faculty

Full NameEmail AddressDepartment
Allison Aielloaaiello@email.unc.eduEpidemiology
Amanda Thompsonalthomps@email.unc.eduAnthropology
Andrew Olshanandy_olshan@unc.eduEpidemiology
Audrey Pettiforapettif@email.unc.eduEpidemiology
Barbara Entwisleentwisle@unc.eduSociology
Barry Popkinpopkin@unc.eduNutrition
Carolyn Halperncarolyn_halpern@unc.eduMaternal & Child Health
Chantel Martinmartchan@email.unc.eduEpidemiology
Chirayath Suchindransuchi@bios.unc.eduBiostatistics
Christy Averychristy_avery@unc.eduEpidemiology
Claire Yangyangy@unc.eduSociology
Clare Barringtoncbarring@email.unc.eduHealth Behavior
Dan Belskydaniel.belsky@duke.eduPopulation Health Sciences
Donna Gilleskiedonna_gilleskie@unc.eduEconomics
Duncan Thomasdthomas@econ.duke.eduEconomics and Public Policy
Elizabeth Frankenbergelizf@email.unc.eduSociology
Eric Whitseleric_whitsel@med.unc.eduEpidemiology
Guang Guoguang_guo@unc.eduSociology
James Moodyjmoody77@soc.duke.eduSociology
Jenny Tungjenny.tung@duke.eduEvolutionary Anthropology
Joanna Maselkojmaselko@email.unc.eduEpidemiology
Jon Husseyjon_hussey@unc.eduMaternal & Child Health
Karen Mohlkekaren_mohlke@med.unc.eduGenetics
Kari Northkari_north@unc.eduEpidemiology
Katherine Weisshaarweisshaar@unc.eduSociology
Kathleen Mullan Harriskathie_harris@unc.eduSociology
Kenneth Bollenbollen@unc.eduPsychology & Neuroscience; Sociology
Krista Perreirakrista_perreira@med.unc.eduSocial Medicine
Liana Richardsonliana_richardson@unc.eduSociology
Linda Adairlinda_adair@unc.eduNutrition
Lisa Keisterlkeister@soc.duke.eduSociology
Michael Emchemch@unc.eduGeography
Penny Gordon-Larsenpglarsen@unc.eduNutrition
Rebecca Fryrfry@unc.eduEnvironmental Sciences & Engineering
Robert Hummerrhummer@email.unc.eduSociology
S. Philip Morganpmorgan@unc.eduSociology
Stephanie EngelStephanie.Engel@unc.eduEpidemiology
Steven Meshnickmeshnick@email.unc.eduEpidemiology and Microbiology & Immunology
Whitney Robinsonwhitney_robinson@unc.eduEpidemiology

Program Requirements

Mentorship and Research Practicum

Incoming pre-doctoral trainees assemble a team of two co-mentors. At least one of the mentors must be from a discipline that is different from the pre-doctoral home department. The team meets regularly to review the trainee’s progress in meeting goals, offer recommendations about new activities and opportunities, and provide professional guidance as the trainee prepares grant and job applications.

Trainees also work with their mentoring team to develop a research practicum that utilizes on integrative theory, methods, and measures. Generally, the research practicum is based on the funded research project of one of our training faculty; ideally, the project includes faculty from both the health and social sciences and is producing manuscripts that lead to presentation and publication in diverse scientific disciplines, while also maintaining work that can be published in the trainee’s home disciplinary area. Trainees are expected to devote 10 hours per week to their practicum.

Coursework

Predoctoral trainees are required to complete a total of 15 hours of coursework. These courses fall into four categories:

  • Introductory Integration Course: This course, taught by the Program Directors, provides an initial exposure to integrated health science.
  • Gap area courses: We require trainees to take two substantive courses in their gap area (health sciences for students entering from the social sciences; social sciences for students entering from the health sciences)
  • Professionalization seminar: This weekly seminar provides a context and forum to advance trainees’ understanding of the ethical, professional, and scientific issues associated with the integration of the social and biological/health sciences.
  • Advanced Integration Course: This “capstone” course that provides in-depth training on the integration of theory and methods that support integrative approaches.
Model Course Sequence for Pre-doctoral Trainees

Year 1

FALL – YEAR 1 SPRING – YEAR 1 SUMMER – YEAR 1
Introductory Integration Course (3 credits) Gap Area Course II (3 credits) Dissertation Proposal Writing
Gap Area Course I (3 credits) Advanced Integration Course (3 credits) Annual Integration Symposium
Professionalization Seminar (1 credit) Research Practicum (10 hours/week) Research Practicum (10 hours/week)
Research Practicum (10 hours/week)

Year 2

FALL – YEAR 2 SPRING – YEAR 2 SUMMER – YEAR 2
Dissertation Proposal Writing Dissertation Writing Dissertation Writing
Professionalization Seminar (1 credit)  Research Practicum (10 hours/week) Annual Training Program Symposium
Research Practicum (10 hours/week) Research Practicum (10 hours/week)
Dissertation Proposal Defended

Year 3

FALL – YEAR 3 SPRING – YEAR 3 SUMMER – YEAR 3
Dissertation Writing Dissertation Writing Dissertation Completion
Professionalization Seminar (1 credit) Research Practicum (10 hours/week) Publications
Research Practicum (10 hours/week) Grant Writing Grant Writing

Conference Attendance

All predoctoral trainees are required to submit abstracts to interdisciplinary and gap discipline national conferences or to present interdisciplinary research within their home discipline conferences. As part of this requirement, Biosocial predoctoral trainees must attend the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Sciences (IAPHS), a annual meeting for researchers using integrative approaches in population health. Trainees are required to submit an abstract and present their work at the annual UNC Symposium on Biosocial Approaches to Population Health Across the Life Course. This symposium includes oral and poster presentations, and a lunch presentation by a leading junior researcher.

Training in Research Ethics and Reproducibility

In addition to completing online trainings on these topics during their initial appointment year, trainees are required to attend a minimum of four different approved sessions on research ethics and two different sessions on scientific rigor and reproducibility each appointment year.

Eligibility, Stipend/Benefits, and Application Process

We welcome applications from UNC-Chapel Hill predoctoral students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Applicants must be nearing completion of coursework in their home discipline and be ready to significantly enhance their training with interdisciplinary coursework, seminars, and a research apprenticeship. Students from any academic program are eligible to apply.

Trainees selected for funding will be supported by a T32 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Funded trainees receive a monthly stipend, in-state tuition, travel support, mandatory fees and insurance premiums, and office space, equipment use, and support services from CPC. Traineeship awards are made on a 12-month basis.

Trainees not selected for funding may be invited to join the program as non-stipended trainees. Non-stipended trainees receive travels support, office space, equipment use, and access to CPC support service.

All trainees, whether stipended or non-stipended, are appointed for a 12 month period and must reapply to the program each year.  The call for applications is generally released each December.

Contact

Please email cpc_tp@unc.edu with any questions about the Biosocial Training Program.