FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – Mariana Morris, Ph.D., professor and director of Gulf War research at the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine, was recently appointed to the review panel for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN).
NRMN is a new and important initiative from the NIH Common Fund’s “Enhancing Diversity in the NIH-Funded Workforce” program aimed at supporting innovative and transformative approaches to increase the diversity of the biomedical workforce.
“I am honored and privileged to be appointed to this committee that will help judge training programs and help drive future innovations and discoveries,” said Morris. “We must encourage students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers and support them in their learning and development.”
According to the NIH, goals for the NRMN include:
- Working with the Diversity Program Consortium to establish core competencies and hallmarks of success at each stage of biomedical research careers (i.e., undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, early career faculty).
- Developing standards and metrics for effective face-to-face and online mentoring.
- Connecting students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty in the biomedical research workforce with experienced mentors, including those with NIH funding, both in person and through online networks.
- Developing innovative strategies for mentoring and testing efficacy of these approaches.
- Active outreach is expected to draw mentees into the network who otherwise would have limited access to research mentors.
- Developing innovative and novel methods to teach effective mentoring skills and providing training to individuals who participate as mentors in the NRMN.
- Providing professional development activities (grant writing seminars, mock study sections, etc.) and biomedical research career “survival” strategies, and/or facilitating participation in existing development opportunities outside the NRMN.
- Enhancing mentee access to information and perceptions about biomedical research careers and funding opportunities at the NIH and increasing understanding of the requirements and strategies for success in biomedical careers through mentorship.
- Creating effective networking opportunities for students, postdoctoral fellows, and early career faculty from diverse backgrounds with the larger biomedical research community.
- Enhancing ability of mentees to attain NIH funding.
Morris joined NSU in 2013 and is the co-principal investigator on a $4.1 million Department of Defense grant to fund NSU’s research project titled “Understanding Gulf War Illness (GWI): An Integrative Modeling Approach.” This project was one of two Gulf War Illness Research Program Consortium awardees.
Morris previously served as chair and professor of pharmacology and toxicology and assistant vice president for graduate studies at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Among other honors, the Wright State University Board of Trustees awarded Morris the title of Brage Golding Distinguished Professor of Research in 2010. Prior to joining Wright State, she served as a professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Morris has served on numerous National Institutes of Health review panels, and was active in the American Heart Association and the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Morris earned her Ph.D. in physiology from University of Texas Southwestern School of Biomedical Sciences in Dallas and her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from University of Colorado in Boulder and Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
About NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine: The mission of the College of Osteopathic Medicine is to provide learner-centered education, both nationally and internationally, for osteopathic medical students, postgraduate trainees, and other professionals. Through its interprofessional programs, the college prepares competent and compassionate lifelong learners; supports research, scholarly activity, and community service; and advocates for the health and welfare of diverse populations, including the medically underserved. For more information, visit http://medicine.nova.edu/.
About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 314 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels. NSU is a not-for-profit independent institution with 27,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. NSU is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and it is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. For more information, please visit www.nova.edu. Celebrating 50 years of academic excellence!
Jeremy Katzman, M.B.A., APR | Office of Public Affairs