Introducing Dr. Rodney Ulane, NIH Training Officer and Director of the Division of Scientific Programs at OER


Dr. Rodney Ulane is here to listen. He will be listening to the thoughts and concerns of the biomedical research community along with the 27 Institutes and Centers of the NIH, and he will be bringing those thoughts back home to the NIH’s Office of Extramural Research (OER). What he learns will allow OER to craft and fine-tune training grant opportunities that more effectively foster and sustain successful research careers.

In his role as NIH Training Officer and Director of the Division of Scientific Programs in the Office of Extramural Programs within OER, Dr. Ulane will serve as an NIH liaison to other governmental agencies, foundations, societies, and institutions associated with training biomedical research scientists.

Dr. Ulane notes that the creation of responsive and successful training programs is a balancing act. Faced with limited funds, institutions must prioritize investments across all phases of training and career development, from the pre-doctoral student to the young biomedical scientist establishing an independent career. Given the current economic environment and concerns about the future biomedical workforce, he notes this to be an especially important task. And overlaying these issues is the continuing challenge of ensuring a diverse scientific enterprise.

Dr. Ulane has dealt with the challenges that research training programs face first hand. He served as associate dean and director of MD/PhD programs at both the New York University School of Medicine and at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Graduate and Medical Schools in Dallas. He feels that an advantage he brings to his new role as NIH Training Officer is the close contact that he has maintained with the students he has mentored through these programs.

Dr. Ulane earned his PhD in yeast genetics and developmental biology from Southern Illinois University in 1971. That same year, he joined the NIH as a staff fellow in the laboratory of Enrico Cabib in the former National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases, studying the developmental biology of yeast. In 1976, he became a senior staff fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where he rose to the position of tenured staff scientist, leading a laboratory investigating the developmental biology of the fetal lung. In 1978, he moved to the Center for Scientific Review as an executive secretary, and soon after began to oversee research training reviews and program project reviews at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. We are delighted to have him on board here at OER.