Trainee & Early Stage Investigator Resources

CAIRIBU ARCTICS Community Forums

Be part of the virtual CAIRIBU trainee community, ARCTICS (Advancing the Research Capacity of Trainees and Investigators at early-Career Stages). Virtual CAIRIBU ARCTICS Community forums provide resources and skills to the next generation of leaders in non-malignant genitourinary research.

Recordings of prior CAIRIBU ARCTICS Community forums are on the CAIRIBU YouTube channel



The 2024-2025 ARCTICS series is currently being developed by a committee of trainees and graduate students. Stay tuned for the 2024-2025 series schedule.

Forum Topic Forum Description Date Speaker(s)
Past Forums
Many available for viewing on the the CAIRIBU YouTube Channel @cairibu3315
Making the most of your collaborations: Best practices for trainees Collaborative science skills are essential for those considering a career in interdisciplinary research. However, training is often focused on improving the skills of the team leaders. This session will provide skills and strategies that trainees can use now as a part of their current interdisciplinary collaborations as well as in the future when they lead their own teams. July 12, 2023 Whitney Sweeney, PhD from the University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR)
How to write a scientific paper This session covers when and how to outline your manuscript, writing tips, how to organize your data into a compelling narrative, how to submit the paper, and how to respond to reviews. Aug 9, 2023 Nicole De Nisco, PhD, Asst. Prof. Biological Sciences, UT Dallas
How to facilitate a clinician/PhD interaction This panel of investigators will share tips and tricks for how they have successfully forged MD/PhD collaborations. Sept 13, 2023 Lindsey Burnett, MD, PhD, Asst. Prof. Dept. of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, UC San Diego Health
Douglas Strand, PhD, Assoc. Prof. Dept. of Urology, UT-Southwestern
John Knight, PhD, Assoc. Prof. Dept. of Urology, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
Maria Hadjifrangiskou, PhD, Assoc. Prof. of Pathology and Assoc. Prof. in Urology, Vanderbilt
Fundamentals of the NIH grants process Step-by-step walk through of the application writing, submission, and grant review process. Oct 11, 2023 Christopher Mullins, PhD, Program director, Kidney, Urologic, & Hematologic Diseases, NIDDK, NIH
Grant mechanisms for moving to the next stage of your research career What grant mechanisms are relevant at each career stage? What grants should I aim to pursue at each career level? What is the difference between different NIH training grant mechanisms and what are the different requirements? Nov 8, 2023 Tracy Rankin, PhD, MPH, Deputy Director & Program Director, Division of Kidney, Urologic, & Hematologic Diseases, NIH
Lab management: Memoirs of starting a lab Listen to insights from a panel of early-stage investigators who have recently launched their independent laboratories as they share their stories of navigating the challenges and unexpected twists that come with lab establishment. Discover the surprises and hurdles new PIs have encountered in the process, and learn about the innovative solutions they've employed to overcome these obstacles. Dec 13, 2023 LaTasha Crawford, VMD, PhD, DACVP, Asst. Prof. Dept. of Pathobiological Sciences, UW-Madison
Jim Hokanson, PhD, Asst. Prof. Joint Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Medical College of Wisconsin
Kimberly Keil Stietz, PhD, Asst. Prof. Dept. of Comparative Biosciences, UW-Madison
Grants: How to write a successful grant resubmission using your summary statement Learn how to harness grant reviewers' feedback to refine and enhance your grant proposal for successful funding. Gain valuable strategies and practical insights on how to effectively decipher summary statements, address reviewers' comments, and increase your chances of securing the funding you need for your research. Jan 10, 2024 Rosalyn Adam, PhD, Director, Basic Science Research; David E. Retik Chair in Urology Research; Assoc. Prof. of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Lab management fundamentals Delve into the intricacies of grant budget composition, effective equipment procurement processes, and securing your lab workspace. Learn about organizing lab activities, developing a streamlined process that facilitates rigor and efficiency. Feb 14, 2024 Chad Vezina, PhD, Assoc. Prof. of Pharmacology; Director, Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program, UW-Madison
Transgender and gender diverse patient clinical care This session will explore dimensions of clinical care for transgender and gender diverse patients, featuring perspectives from mental health and scientific experts. The session will address the crucial integration of mental health considerations and research on hormonal interventions, shedding light on the complexities involved in transgender healthcare. March 13, 2024 Madelyn Esposito, LPC, NCC, CST, mental health clinician, UW Health Behavioral Health and Recovery
Walid Farhat, MD, Prof. of Urology and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Urology, UW-Madison
Navigating the funding landscape: A comprehensive overview of U.S. funding systems and strategies for success This session offers a generalized overview of U.S. funding systems and effective research funding strategies from a seasoned investigator with a proven track record of successful funding. April 10, 2024 Aaron Dingle, PhD, Dept. of Surgery Senior Scientist, UW-Madison
Cracking the code: A Statistical Editor’s guide to mastering medical manuscripts Explore the art of statistical analysis and reporting in medical manuscripts. May 8, 2024 Rod Dunn, Director of Analytics, Dow Division of Health Services Research, Dept. of Urology, University of Michigan


Materials from Prior CAIRIBU ARCTICS Community Forums:

The CAIRIBU Mentorship Network was conceived by a committee of CAIRIBU trainees and ESIs. The objective is to provide an avenue beyond a trainee’s primary PI/mentor for additional individualized feedback or career advice (see the non-exhaustive list of potential topic areas below).

Potential Topics for Mentor-Mentee Relationship Discussions:

  • Feedback and guidance on research questions and ideas (prior to developing specific aims)
  • Feedback on portions of grant applications (e.g., specific aims page, strengths and weaknesses of approach, thoughts on how grant would be scored)
  • Network building (connect mentee to others who can help their research and to key contacts in the field)
  • Lab management (how to manage personnel, how to handle conflicts, etc.)
  • Career advice (how to advance career, next steps)
  • Negotiating salaries
  • Managing expectations (how to set reasonable, achievable goals and how to avoid being overly ambitious)
  • View the CAIRIBU Mentorship Packet for resources on establishing and maintaining a mentor relationship

How does the mentorship network work?

If you would like to be paired with a mentor, complete this form to specify your needs, expectations, research interests, and career goals. After you are matched with a potential mentor, you will contact the mentor to discuss whether it is a good mutual fit. If so, you will set up and maintain communications between you and your mentor.

Free Course for AUA Members

Mentors include Drs. Dolores Lamb, Li Xin, and Margot Damaser

Learn more

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Many institutions have grant writing resources to help investigators and students through the grant application process. Check out this list of institution-specific grant writing resources at CAIRIBU-affiliated institutions.

Pre-Award Resources:

Form Help:

  • PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form Walk-through – This video walks you through the FORMS-F version of the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form used for NIH grant application due dates on or after May 25, 2020. This form is used to collect detailed study-level information for the protocols included in NIH grant applications.

Post-Award Resources:

  • Ever Wondered What Happens During the Scientific Review of an NIH Grant Application? – Understanding how peer review works is key to writing a good grant application. In this 44-minute video, NIH Peer Review: “Live” Mock Study Section, scientists have gathered virtually to review three fictional applications in response to a fictional Request For Applications. Watch their discussion to learn how applications are scored, what questions are commonly asked, and what mistakes to avoid in your application.
  • Already funded? Find tips to stay funded.


  • Learn the basics of grants including the grant lifecycle, grant policies, grant terminology, and more


Source: Office of Research and Sponsored Program, University of Northern Colorado


Find the mentor toolkit developed by UW-Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research HERE.

Get the most out of your mentor relationship. Craft an Individual Development Plan (IDP) together with your mentor to help you identify the skills, competencies, and relevant projects necessary for you to further your career goals. Find IDPs gathered by UW-Madison ICTR below:

Paper-based guides & templates:

IDP Templates for Junior Faculty in Clinical and Translational Research:

Advancing Health Equity and Diversity (AHEAD) is a mentored professional development program for UW-Madison postdoctoral scholars working in the health sciences conducting research related to health disparities or health equity. Hosted by the Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE), the AHEAD program seeks to address the gaps in professional support and training that postdoctoral scholars often experience by providing a cohort experience with supplemental mentoring. AHEAD participants can be from any department or unit across the UW campus.


 Connect to online resources

Tips and tricks for giving “flash talk” poster presentations at scientific meetings