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Dr. Guillermo "Willy" Prado Presents at the First Career Development Meeting held by the Collaborative Research on Addiction at the National Institutes of Health

Guillermo “Willy” Prado, Ph.D., dean of the University of Miami Graduate School and professor of public health at the Miller School of Medicine, was selected to be one of four professors to speak at a career development meeting led by the Collaborative Research on Addiction at the National Institutes of Health (CRAN).

The meeting, held to mentor senior postdoctoral fellows and faculty-level scientists who are recipients of the CRAN mentored K career development awards, took place on August 13 to 14, 2019 in the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.  

While many National Institutes of Health (NIH) divisions and centers offer career development meetings for early-stage investigators, this meeting was the first of its kind, with various institutions from the CRAN at NIH working together to lead the meeting. The institutes included the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). There were 119 K awardees and approximately 150 people who attended the meeting.

“I have a great passion for and commitment to mentoring the next generation of NIH researchers. It was great to be one of the four individuals from universities to be invited and to sort of be a part of this inaugural meeting,” said Dr. Prado, who is also the director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health at the Miller School’s Department of Public Health Sciences.

As CRAN K award recipients are future scientific leaders in the field of substance use research, the NIH and CRAN are committed to supporting them as they transition from mentored positions to one where they can establish their independent research programs. 

Invited speakers ranged from directors of the NIH, NIAA, NIDA, as well as professors and researchers from four different universities, including Dr. Prado and three from Northwestern University’s School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego’s Division of Public Health, Louisiana State University’s Department of Physiology, and from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Each was assigned topics to speak on.

“My presentation focused on the 10 practical skills that all young NIH investigators should develop to achieve career success. One of them was on how to build and cultivate a research team,” Dr. Prado said.

Dr. Prado’s salient advice provided guidance for identifying both scientific and professional mentors, nurturing professional relationships and building collaborative networks, working smarter versus harder, how to proactively advance toward tenure, and how to recruit and maintain a productive research team.

Other speakers spoke about research priorities of the various CRAN institutes, current funding opportunities, guidance on how to write a competitive R01 research project grant application, advice on how to set up a new laboratory, as well as on how to establish research collaborations. To ensure that scientific discoveries serve the nation, the meeting also provided guidance on how to share findings with the broader community. 

“This meeting showed the commitment and the dedication that NIH institutes have towards the training of the next generation of alcohol and drug abuse researchers,” said Dr. Prado.

Written by Amanda Torres
Published on September 10, 2019