These classes provide a history of related issues, a set of carefully selected readings, and access to visiting scientists, all of which underscore major advances leading to the current state of understanding in each area. These classes are also designed to help students identify important unanswered questions that could form the basis of significant student research projects, as they design their own projects in solo and in collaborative configurations.
The Techniques course, Techniques in Reproductive Diversity, enables students to gain research skills necessary to their success, e.g., gene arrays, immunoassays, stereology, neuroanatomical methods, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, evolutionary theory, parentage analysis, bioinformatics, field methods.
During Spring 2016, the course, organized by Ellen Ketterson, was taught by a variety faculty and post-doctoral researchers representing the Departments of Anthropology, Biology, and Psychological and Brain Sciences, as well as the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior and the Kinsey Institute.
The Ethics course, Research Ethics and Professional Development, is a one-semester course on professional ethics that draws on expertise provided by the staff of the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions. It covers regulatory compliance and scientific misconduct, using the ‘case approach’ in which issues are addressed beginning with a simple hypothetical and then adding considerations to increase the ability of the students to draw fine distinctions.
In addition to these essentials, the course also covers student-mentor relations, data management, ownership and access, bioethics, and conflicts of interest. Training faculty member Ketterson co-teaches Professional Ethics for the Bio-behavioral Science (A502) in alternate years with CTRD and CISAB pre-docs and post-docs. The course will next be offered during the Fall 2016 semester.
In addition to A502, departments participating in CTRD have their own sequences, e.g. Psychological and Brain Sciences offers ethics training through the graduate First-Year Research Seminar. While certain substitutions are allowed, all NIH trainees must receive training in research ethics.