Does the primary mentor need to be an approved mentor at the time of application?

No, but the primary mentor should make the request to be an approved mentor at the time of the student’s application. Both the mentor’s request and the student’s application will be considered together.

Does the co-mentor need to be an approved mentor?

No. The student and primary mentor should consider a balance of student training experience and scientific expertise in the identification of a co-mentor.

What is the process for becoming an approved mentor?

The faculty member should submit a CV and cover letter outlining their motivation for being a primary mentor, experience training graduate students, and their connection to systems biology and biomedical data science through publications, external funding, or both.

Are there restrictions on the institutionally-supported slot? Can a non-U.S. citizen student from any PhD program apply?

Students appointed to the institutionally-supported slot must satisfy other expectations as outlined above (e.g., rising 2nd year or 3rd year PhD student working in the lab of an SBDS mentor). The student appointed to this slot may be a non-US citizen and can be studying in any PhD program that is SBDS relevant

What happens if a mentor is unable because of personal commitments to attend CIMER training offered by BIMS?  Are there alternatives?

There is a strong preference that all faculty mentors participate in the SOM-developed CIMER training. However, if participation is not possible, there are other mentor training possibilities. For example, OITE training supported by the NIH (Workshops and Trainings for Extramural Principal Investigators - Office of Intramural Training & Education at the National Institutes of Health). Mentors should email a request for an exception to UVA’s CIMER training with a description of the substitute training, outlining time commitments and evidence of completion. These requests will be considered by the SBDS executive committee.

I am a rising 3rd or 4th year student.  Am I eligible to apply to SBDS?

A vast majority of students appointed to the SBDS program will be rising 2nd year PhD students. While it is possible that a rising 3rd or 4th year student is appointed to the program if their case is compelling, a key objective of the program is to provide foundational training that helps to guide and shape the developing research of the graduate student.  PhD students who have previously been appointed to other NIH training grants are not eligible.

I have not taken any SBDS coursework.  Am I at a disadvantage?

The training program is designed so that all required coursework can be taken over the one year of support.The executive committee will evaluate applications for a demonstration of commitment to systems biology & biomedical data science in the research interests of the applicant. Past coursework of the applicant is only one such factor that is considered.  

Can I reapply to the SBDS training program?

Yes, with the understanding that rising 3rd and 4th year students, as described above, must make a very compelling case for how the training program adds substantive value to the research the student is still planning to do.

What can I do in my first year to be most competitive for the SBDS training program?

It’s never too early to engage in the journal club, seminars, and other SBDS-related activities (coursework, events). Participation in these activities with SBDS mentors and engaging in SBDS research will establish a foundation in the field that will help applicants be most competitive.

Is the SBDS training program renewable for a second year?

The current training program provides financial support for only one year, but all students are expected to continue engagement with the SBDS-related programs and activities over all their time as PhD students.

What are the expectations after the SBDS training year is complete?

We expect all students to support the vibrant systems biology & biomolecular data science community at UVA! All students should continue to engage in the journal club, hackathon, seminars and other related activities… and continue to perform and publish wonderful research!


Contact Us

Connie Pace

Administrator, Systems & Biolecular Data Science Training Program

UVA BME | MR5 Room 2010

Phone: 434 243-7660

Jason Papin

Professor, Biomedical Engineering Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor

Jason Papin, Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, develops computational models of cellular networks and performs experiments to characterize biological systems relevant to human disease. After his training in Bioengineering at University of California, San Diego, Jason Papin joined the faculty at University of Virginia in 2005.