RNA Research Scholar Exchange Supplemental Fund

The Center for RNA Biomedicine RNA Student and Postdoc Council and The RNA Society are delighted to launch the Research Scholar Exchange Supplemental Fund for postdocs and graduate students.

The goal of this program is to supplement a visit to a lab outside of U-M in order to enhance RNA specific skills, mentorship and scientific career development for University of Michigan trainees while fostering a highly collaborative environment with labs across the country. In this exchange program, trainees will spend a few weeks to up to a few months in a lab outside of the University of Michigan. The trainees will learn new techniques/skills, engage in lab meetings and discussions, and network with other trainees and faculty at the host institution. Upon return to their lab at the University of Michigan, the trainees will give a short seminar detailing their experience and the impact it has on their current and future projects.

Application Requirements

  • General Information – you must be a University of Michigan Student or Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Time Frame
  • Research Statement (1500 words maximum). Please include:
    • Why you chose the host lab.
    • What you expect to gain from this experience.
    • How these skills will impact your RNA research.
    • What your future goals are and how this experience supports them.
  • Two Letters of Support (1500 words maximum).
    • Current Lab
    • Host Lab
      • Note: letters of support should highlight why this experience will benefit your current and future career goals and any additional support that will be provided by both the current and/or host lab to fund this experience.

2022 RNA Research Scholar Exchange Awardee – Elizabeth Tidwell, Graduate Student, Program in Biophysics.

Dr. Jinwei Zhang, Ph.D., generously agreed to host Liz as a visiting researcher for two weeks in his lab at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). During this brief stay, Liz was able to tour multiple facilities at the NIH, network with postdoctoral scientists from around the world, and receive expert advice and assistance on her research. The Zhang lab excels in RNA structure determination by x-ray crystallography and has solved multiple structures using de-novo anomalous phasing. Dr. Zhang and his postdoctoral researchers, Dr. Charles Bou-Nader, Dr. Krishna Sapkota, Dr. Ilias Skeparnias, and Dr. Aline Umuhire Juru, worked with Liz to create a molecular replacement model by systematic refinement of fragment search models. As well as the molecular replacement assistance, they suggested many methods to improve the diffraction data Liz collect for phasing with heavy atoms, like iridium hexamine chloride. Overall, the experience improved her chance of solving the structure of her RNA of interest and allowed her to experience, briefly, what it would be like to work at a government research institute.

Download the 2023 Application Form (due 5/1/2023)

For further information, contact Allison Kintz.