Scholar Awards

The Career Enhancement Core of the Congenital and Perinatal Infections Consortium (CPIC) invites applications to its Scholars Program. This program includes mentored research related to congenital and perinatal infectious diseases [i.e., congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease, neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, neonatal enterovirus (EV) and parechovirus (HPeV) sepsis] conducted at the Scholar’s home institution. Though CPIC Scholar designation does not provide a stipend or funded effort, it does provide access to research and training opportunities of the NIH Rare Diseases Consortium Research Network and allows participants to highlight participation on their CVs. Scholars are also eligible to request CPIC funds to attend meetings (virtual or in-person, as policies allow) or participate in a mini-sabbatical research experience. The CPIC Scholars Program is open to interested fellows and early-stage faculty.

CPIC Career Enhancement Core Lead: James Willig, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Program Format

Each Scholar will participate in a CPIC-related research project overseen by a home institution mentor. In addition, Scholars will participate in a semi-monthly, one-hour CPIC Seminar Series/Journal Club and attend CPIC-related meetings at the annual ID Week. Additional training opportunities are also available.

The CPIC Scholars Program is open to interested fellows and early-stage faculty.

  1. Cover page
    • Scholar name and degree(s), institutional email address and phone number
    • Institution and department/division name
    • Current title
    • Gender/ethnicity (used for NIH reporting purposes only)
    • Mentor name
    • Participation requires confirmation from supervisor of effort for the program
  2. Scholar NIH Biosketch (
    • The Scholar’s Personal Statement (Part A of Biosketch should include:
      • A brief description (2-3 sentences) of applicant’s research and career development goal(s)
      • A statement of how participation in the Scholar Program will connect to these goals
      • A description of proposed CPIC-related research
  3. Mentor NIH Biosketch
    • The mentor’s Personal Statement should include how the applicant Scholar will engage in the mentor’s CPIC-related research.
  4. Mentor Letter of Commitment
    • Because each Scholar will engage in a CPIC-related research project, a letter signed by the applicant and the mentor, stating a commitment to regular interaction as a Mentor/Scholar dyad is required and part of the application process.

The CPIC Scholars Program has a rolling application window, with notification of acceptance within two weeks. To apply, combine all documents into a single pdf (cover page, followed by documents in the order listed) and submit to Melissa McBrayer (, Program Coordinator.

CPIC Seminar Series/Journal Club – Participation Required

Series content includes speakers, work-in-progress updates by CPIC leadership and Scholars, and journal club meetings – with Scholars rotating leadership of the journal club. Apart from the (anticipated) in-person meeting during 2022’s ID Week, meetings will occur via Zoom semi-monthly on 3rd Fridays at noon (central).

CST Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV): The Parent’s Perspective

Kristen Spytek, Co-founder of The National CMV Foundation

Protocol Development and Implementation

David Kimberlin, MD; Principal Investigator, CPIC; Professor and Division Co-Director, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UAB Department of Pediatrics

Biostatistics - Considerations for Pediatric Clinical Trials

Inmaculada Aban, PhD; Professor, UAB Department of Biostatistics

Pharmacokinetics in Drug Development

Edward Acosta, PharmD; Professor, UAB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Other Opportunities – Participation Optional

CPIC Mini-Sabbaticals (as travel policies allow)

A mini-sabbatical complements a Scholar’s previous knowledge and experience and supports research and/or training goals. These opportunities are limited, so applications are required. Awards can be used to cover the costs associated with domestic travel and/or participation in experiences.

Rare Disease Research Training Program

The Rare Disease Research Training Program is an 8-week curriculum provided over an academic year employing specific tools and methods unique to rare diseases. Based at Children’s National and led by Debra Regier, MD, PhD, visit to learn more.

Mock Grant Review*

Step into the role of an NIH study section member and experience what happens after grant submission. Through a facilitated simulation, participants will read, critique, and score an actual grant and will see how their comments influence the discussion. Co-sponsored by UAB’s interdisciplinary research centers, each review session is limited to 20 participants. This opportunity occurs annually in July or August.

Case Studies in Collaboration and Teamwork*

Interdisciplinary efforts are critical for scientific discovery and translational research efforts. Facilitated by Joel Dobbs, UAB’s Collat School of Business Executive in Residence, the series runs over 8 weeks as a casebased course. Utilizing the NIH’s Collaboration and Team Science Field Guide, 2nd Edition, this opportunity helps participants learn the basics of team science and collaboration as well as how to navigate the challenges of working in interdisciplinary teams. Pre-recorded lectures supplement readings. Participants meet weekly via Zoom to discuss the brief cases and address questions or specific issues.

Case Studies in Mentoring*

This opportunity is open to investigators at any level, from pre-doctoral students to seasoned faculty members who mentor developing research scientists. Hear from seasoned mentors on how to handle common (and not-so-common) mentoring challenges. Case-based discussions help participants discover new strategies to maximize the benefits of this career-enhancing skill. All sessions are facilitated by experienced UAB mentors. Participants who complete all eight topics in the Case Studies in Mentoring series will receive a certificate documenting Excellence in Mentoring. This series is offered approximately every 10 weeks.

*Center for Clinical and Translational Science, an NCATS-funded (UL1TR003096) CTSA Hub.