Visit this thread to beta-test StudySchedule is a free nonprofit site that builds dynamic MCAT study schedules unique for your needs and timeline.

IRTA fellowship at the NIH?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by seabreeze811, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
  1. seabreeze811

    seabreeze811 10+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2004
    Hi...I'm looking for some research jobs right now and i was just wondering if anyone has worked at the NIH or know anything about the IRTA fellowship. What research positions are available? how would one go about applying for one? how soon can u get an interview or a job? is it hard to get a job or become an IRTA fellow at the NIH? any information would be GREATLY appreciated!!!! =D
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. phorensic

    phorensic 10+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2004
    i'm curious about this as well...anyone?
  4. tdd340

    tdd340 Assistant to the sensei 10+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2005
    Well I'm an IRTA right now so I'll give this a shot. As far as what positions are available you can do an IRTA in any intramural lab at the NIH so it's all about what position you want and can find. The application is online, just search IRTA on the webiste. They suggest you apply 3-6 months before you want to start. The program is unlike applying to most things in that no one will review it and make a decision. If a PI is looking for someone they might search the database and contact you but for the vast majority you have to seek out PI's of interest and hope they have room in there lab. Hope this helps and if anyone has any more ?s feel free to PM me.
  5. Waiting4Drexel

    Waiting4Drexel Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    yeah, i'm an IRTA too.

    just to add to the previous post, i believe most of the positions are in Bethesda, MD. i work at NIDA and its in baltimore, as is the NIA. I think that Bethesda is a much better place to live than Baltimore, but thats just me.

    here's a link to all the NIH branches:

    just look up intramural research in the branch you're looking for and try to find a PI doing work that you're interested in.

    good luck

  6. DryDoc

    DryDoc Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I'm just finishing my IRTA year. It's a really good program although the scut work can get a little boring at times. Living in Bethesda/DC is great! One big advantage of being an IRTA while you're applying to med school is that most PIs will let you take as much time off for interviews as you need. The IRTA application process appears a little unstructured. As mentioned, you submit the formal application during the spring before a summer start date and then you have to contact individual PIs and see if they're looking for anyone. Some never get back to you but some will be interested and you have to talk with them further about a position. It's very decentralized.
  7. NPRjunkie

    NPRjunkie Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2006
    I'm also an IRTA, working in the NCI. As the other IRTAs mentioned, the application is online and it doesn't seem too structured; PIs who need a student will go to the database to find a suitable candidate. It is probably best to apply as early as possible since vacancies tend to open up in the summer when current IRTAs leave for medical or graduate school. The IRTA website suggests applicants to be proactive in finding a PI, a suggestion with which I agree. Most IRTAs I know were able to get a position because they had some sort of connection. If you don't know anyone at the NIH, just e-mail the PIs for whom you'd like to work (that's what I did). There are multiple NIH campuses, so if location is an issue, check to make sure the PI works where you'd like to be. The majority will be at the main campus in Bethesda.

    Good luck with finding an IRTA position!
  8. seabreeze811

    seabreeze811 10+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2004
    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for your feedbacks. I was just wondering, how can I go about emailing the PI's. I don't even know WHERE to begin and look for the list of names of the PI. Would it matter where I look for them, in terms of the Dept they are under i.e. NCI or NIA? Would anyone happen to know which dept may have more openings? How long did it take you guys to hear back from the PI's once you had applied? I was going to school in Baltimore and I still have my apt there. It'd be nice if I could work at one of the institutes in Baltimore, otherwise I'd commute to Bethesda. Any more advice would be greatly appreciated! thanks again everyone!
  9. unsure1770

    unsure1770 New Member

    Jun 19, 2006
    How long does it take to hear back?
  10. NPRjunkie

    NPRjunkie Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2006
    Hey, the website that another SDNer posted earlier lists the various departments at the NIH, but I'll list one here -- I understand it can be overwhelming to find a PI in such a large place (I had to start from ground zero) but just be patient. For each department that you're interested in, you'll have to scan the page, but look for headings such as "faculty" or "principal investigators" or "directory" and from there you can browse the profiles of various PIs and get their contact information. I e-mailed about 80 PIs before getting my position, so be patient. Most PIs reply fairly quickly (1-3 days) to tell you whether or not there is space. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who has an opening right now. If you're interested in being an IRTA, definitely submit an application because you may be lucky and have someone contact you soon. I had a few offers over the summer.

    If you'd like to stay in Baltimore, working in a lab at Hopkins or UMD may be something you'd be interested in.
  11. DaBeav

    DaBeav Procrastinator 5+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    Here are some links to get you started in your search for an area you might be interested in and to know some of what is available. There is so much, I'm sure it can be pretty intimidated. I am working in the radiation oncology branch of the NCI for the summer. The main campus is not a bad place to be. If you are looking to take the MCAT and/or apply while you are here...the PI's are generally more than willing to give you ample time to study or interview or do what you need to do. Also make sure you indicate what long-term time commitment you are willing to do. I know some labs will want you to stay for more than a year in order to do something significant.

  12. Compass

    Compass Squishy Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    I'd just like to point out, there is also a NIH branch in Baltimore, so if you're there, you can also consider that.

    I am doing the SIP ( though not direct labwork. AFAIK, SIP is VERY COMPETITIVE. I only got one acceptance, almost none :eek: About 100-150 students I believe go to SIP.
  13. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL 10+ Year Member

    May 19, 2003
    Bay Area
    I was an IRTA back in 2001. I worked at the NIA in Baltimore. I actually got recruited by a PI through a posting at my undergrad and ended up going through IRTA for the research stint. It was a big positive on my app.
  14. jojo_1981

    jojo_1981 Circus Monkey 7+ Year Member

    May 15, 2006
    Washington, D.C.

    i am a new IRTA at the NIH, as well. here is the way i found a position relatively quickly.

    first, it helps if there is a specific area of science that really interests you. i was interested in malaria research, so i tailored my resume and cover letter to reflect that. fill out the online application form and get those reccommendations in ASAP!

    next, knowing what you might be interested in, go the the NIH's search of annual reports.
    this website lets you search keywords of the annual reports for the different PI's at hte NIH. the annual report is an NIH researcher's general "what i'm researching on, and here are my recent papers" page. this is extemely useful to get a clue as to what a researcher might be studying and also how productive they are.

    next, you should start emailing away. you can find someone's email address using this website:

    as some of the people have mentioned above, its important you try for primarily PI's instead of your run-of-the-mill postdoc, cause they are the ones who ultimately decide to hire you. if you find someone you want to work for who isn't a PI, find out what lab they are in and email their superior.

    finally, email LOTS of people. i sent out letters of interest to over 20 people at first, and got back responses from maybe 5 of them. persistence is the key here!

    if you have any more questions, feel free to PM me!

  15. Compass

    Compass Squishy Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Oh, yeah! One more thing. This was for SIP, but it might also apply to IRTA.

    I applied in about... January. These things are due March. They also open in November of the previous year. One thing that I noticed: My friend submitted his in December, and even though applications were still open, his resume and information was ALREADY BEING REVIEWED. As such, you should try and submit them ASAP. The earlier you sign up, the more likely someone will notice you earlier when the application process is still open. You don't even have to finish your information. I changed my resume about a month after submitting, as is allowed, and it was still an open field. So if the form can be edited and/or changed, better to finish it early and hope someone views it faster. If nothing else, you'll have a break in later months.
  16. seabreeze811

    seabreeze811 10+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2004
    HI everyone,

    Again thank you SOOOO much for your feedbacks. It really helped me out a lot. I finally applied and completed my IRTA online application. Hopefully, a PI will contact me, and I will take everyone's advice and contact some PI myself. Thanks again guys!!! =)
  17. istream

    istream Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2006
    great responses, i was about to give up on the irta completely. thanks again
  18. Eunicegarcia


    Jun 23, 2010
    I am currently at NIH, but I am trying to get an IRTA position. Does anyone know how to look up PI's... Any help will deeply appreciated!!

    Thank you:)
  19. JokerMD

    JokerMD 5+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2008 did it twice!
  20. WNT Signaling

    WNT Signaling 2+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    If you're willing to do two years of research, honestly, it's a better idea to look for tech jobs.

    The IRTA prides itself on the fact that you'll have your own project and that you'll get to attend a conference. In reality though, if you work in almost any university lab as a tech, and you let your PI know that you'd like to have your own project, they'll be more than willing to give you one. But more importantly, any tech job in NYC/SF/Chicago/Boston/Philly/LA will pay a lot better than the IRTA
  21. skatertudoroga

    skatertudoroga Banned

    Apr 23, 2010
    How could I get a job as a research tech? I sent out my resume to a zillion places and did not even get any responses.
  22. WNT Signaling

    WNT Signaling 2+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    Two most important things: you need to have previous research experience, and you need to have a well-formatted resume. One of the biggest mistakes applicants make is that they look for jobs in the wrong places. For example, if you want a job at a Harvard-affiliated hospital, you need to look at B&G's HR site, not Harvards, or if you're looking for a job at BU, you need to look at BU's hospital's HR site, and not the main university's HR site.

    To any pre-med reading this, do not think for a minute that just because you're earning a degree in biology means you can waltz right into a lab right after graduation; it rarely works this way. You don't need summers and semesters packed with research, you just need one or two good experiences.
  23. calbears08


    Jun 7, 2010
    I don't think it's as impressive to do a tech position. While you can ask for a project, there's no guarantee you will get one. A tech in my lab only did genotyping of mice day in and day out.

    One of the big merits of the NIH post-bac is that it is a training program. The pay may be low, but it's definitely worth it. As a NIH post-bac I got to work on 3 different projects, including a 2nd author paper and a soon to be 1st author paper.
  24. WNT Signaling

    WNT Signaling 2+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    No offense, but that's the fault of your friend. When you interview for jobs, I was always told to ask two questions: do you let your techs publish (i.e. do you include the names of techs on papers they contributed to), and do you let your techs have/develop their own projects
  25. FrankRizzo

    FrankRizzo 5+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Does anyone know anything about the tech irta position? That is, is it more competitive than the post-bac?
  26. aspiringdoc09

    aspiringdoc09 7+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Hello all, I have been thinking about applying to the NIH's IRTA programs, but I wanted some advice on which would be more beneficial to me considering the following:

    I have decided that I will eventually apply to medical school for a MD/PhD but I was looking for more full-time experience in a research lab. I graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry, biochemistry emphasis May 2009, and due to the job market haven't found a tech position yet. I would like to learn new technical skills and I would like to gain research experience in neuroscience (neurodegenerative disorders and mental illnesses). As you know, the Postbac require you to apply within 2 years of graduation, so if I don't get a position then I would still end up trying to get the Technical IRTA. I plan to get a master's in pharmaceutical chemistry/neuroscience before medical school anyway. I wanted to increase my competitiveness for MD/PhD. Thank you. Any information would be greatly appreciated.:laugh:

Share This Page