NIH-funded cross-disciplinary PhD programs

The NIH funds cross-disciplinary programs for PhD trainees who have already been accepted into PQHS or other related departments’ PhD programs.  


The Case Western Reserve Alzheimer’s Disease Translational Data Science (ADTDS) Training Program cross-trains pre-doctoral students in data science and translational research techniques to become productive, independent scientists focused on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) treatment therapeutic discovery. 

PhD trainees for this program are selected from among existing PhD trainees within graduate programs across the CWRU School of Medicine. Interested candidates must already be PhD trainees in existing PhD programs and then work with their advisor to apply to this ADTDS program.  

While research on AD has been rapidly expanding into the realm of large-scale data, changes to traditional training of PhD students has not kept pace. The disciplines of data science and basic, clinical, and translational science are often siloed away from each other through funding sources, academic departments, graduate education programs, and even student committees.  The goal of this program is to break down these silos by identifying promising predoctoral PhD students and providing them with the analytical training, data access, and research environments rich in clinical and translational understanding of AD.  

Selected students will develop research projects that access a rich collection of data generated by the NIH’s National Institute on Aging that offer opportunities to collaborate with faculty members who are nationally and internationally recognized in AD research.

The program provides strong mentoring and uses state-of-the-art data science experiences within the rich environment of the CWRU School of Medicine and its affiliated health systems to develop independent investigators who will lead the next generation of translational research in AD. 

Trainees will have the opportunity to: 

  • Form multi-disciplinary mentorship teams including faculty with expertise in AD genetics, pathology, and neuroscience
  • Access large-scale data from national and international initiatives supported by the NIH’s National Institute on Aging to explore AD etiology and disease course through data analysis  
  • Receive specialized training in responsible conduct and research reproducibility with special considerations for data science

The training faculty for this program manage Alzheimer’s Disease research projects that represent great breadth and depth of work. Combined, the faculty members' work represents more than $37 million in annual NIH and other funding, for an average of more than $1 million per faculty member per year. Many of these faculty members are members of the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (CADRC), which recently secured $15.4 million in ongoing NIH funding, confirming its standing among the 31 NIH-funded AD research centers in the country.    

Student funding:  The ADTDS program covers all tuition costs for two years and includes an annual stipend to cover housing and other costs.  Typically, PhD trainees have been covered for the first year of their studies by the CWRU graduate studies program. Their concluding years are typically covered by their mentor’s grants. 

Faculty with the ADTDS program can be found here