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TL1 Program: Team Oriented Training across the Translational Sciences Spectrum (TOTTS)

Provides support for pre- and post-doctoral trainees to develop skills for conducting team oriented clinical and translational research (CTR) spanning the pre-clinical to population health spectrum.  Candidates will be co-mentored by faculty with diverse clinical and translational interests and expertise. 

Funding Support 

  • ​​One year fellowship stipend at the NRSA/NIH level that can be supplemented by mentor with non-federal funds
  • Pre-Doctoral Awards
  • Stipend: $24,816
    Tuition & Fees: $11,890
    Travel: $1,220 to attend the national CTSA TL1 meeting
    Research Related Expenses: $4,200
    Post-Doctoral Awards
    Stipend: $50,376 (dependent on post graduate year).
    Tuition & Fees: $4,500 (Tuition level may change depending on post graduate year)
    Travel: $1,320 to attend the national CTSA TL1 meeting
    Research Related Fees: $10,850 

Who is eligible?

  •  Pre-Doctoral PhD Students in their first, second or third year in a Biomedical Science, Behavioral Science, Analytical Health Science, Clinical Science, Rehabilitation Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cell Biology, Stem & Developmental Biology program, Public Health programs, Nursing Sciences PhD program at CU Denver are eligible. 
  • Pre-Doctoral health professional doctorate students in their second or third year of a dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, or public health program.
  • Post-Doctoral clinical trainees completing a training program involving clinical research. This includes post-graduate medical residents or other post-doctoral clinical trainees, such as pharmacists, nursing, and rehabilitation.  Funding will be available for trainees within their first four years of training (ie. PGY 1,2,3,4).
  • Post-doctoral veterinary trainees who will have completed their residency training and are pursuing a research fellowship full-time, either as part of a PhD or as a standalone program.
  • 90% of the awardee’s time must be dedicated to research and the completion of the TOTTS program in the year of the award.   
  • Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Must be a CCTSI member.

Application Instructions

Please create one PDF document for uploading into the online application. Required sections should be in the order listed below. Have all documents ready prior to accessing the online application as you will not be able to save and go back once you have uploaded and submitted your application.  The application is to include the following elements in the listed order: 1. Face page, 2. NIH Biosketches, 3. Proposal, 4. Graduate courses completed with grades, 5. Letters of Support, and 6. a description of ethical and regulatory training completed and proposed in clinical and translational research, including Responsible Cduct of Research and Good Clinical Practice. Additional detail and guidance is provided below:

1. Face Page: Download and complete the facepage​​ and include as the first document in your application package.

2. NIH Biosketch:
Include a biosketch for the applicant, research mentor and translational mentor. A translational mentor is the person that you will shadow to understand the target audience that you are translating your research to for uptake.  For those working in a lab, this may be a clinician and for clinicians, this could be a community organization or a preclinical researcher.  For veterinary trainees, a translational mentor will be a human health professional engaged in clinical/translational research and associated with the CCTSI, whose area of interest is complementary to that of the candidate. Please contact: Marion Sills, MD ( for assistance with identifying a suitable clinician translational mentor; John Tentler, PhD  ( for a lab-based translational mentor or Doug Thamm DVM, PhD, ( for a veterinary medicine translational mentor. The CCTSI Profiles​ tool may be useful in identifying possible translational mentor with complementary interests of the applicant.

3. 3-page Proposal:
Use Times New Roman or Arial 11-pt font or larger. Page margins no less than 1 inch on all four sides. In three pages, briefly describe your planned research and research mentoring plan, translational immersion experience and mentoring plan, and personal statement.  Ensure that you have addressed all three areas listed below. 

  • Research project and mentoring plan: Describe the research project to be completed during your pre- or post-doctoral training period and its clinical and translational relevance. Provide your research questions/hypotheses and associated specific aims and brief description of the methods and approaches.  Explain how your research project translates into improving health.  Also, describe your mentoring plan with your research mentor, for instance the regularity of your meetings and activities.  What learning goals or needs will your research mentor help you achieve?
  • Translational Immersion experience and mentoring plan:  Explain how your immersion and translational mentor extends the preparation and training of your current program and how it complements your personal learning goals and needs.  Immersion experiences can take many forms- laboratory, clinical services, community service, or veterinary medicine.  Clinical experience needs to include regular engagement regarding patients with the clinical mentor and that mentor’s clinical team. This could include discussing patients after encounters, discussing patients in group settings such as rounds or registry meetings, or regular meetings with the clinical mentor to review patient encounters. Engagement with your clinical mentor or mentor’s team in one of these settings is key; additional activities could include obtaining biospecimens, observing procedures performed on the patients or discussing research related to the patients.
  • In veterinary medicine immersions, activities could include shadowing, attendance at Rounds- pathology, imaging, oncology research rounds, lab experiences and research in progress.  Lab experiences could include learning new lab techniques and understanding/interpreting data.  Community immersion experiences could include working with patient advocacy organizations or government agencies.   Activities can include attendance at community meetings, assisting with marketing and translational materials, and working on policy briefs.  Please describe the mentoring plan with your translational mentor in terms of frequency of meetings and activities.  Consider holding quarterly meetings with you and your research and translational mentor to discuss your research project and the integration and interdisciplinary team approach. 
  • Personal statement:  A. Describe your mid and long-term career goals and the activities and experiences that you will complete to prepare you for clinical and translational research. B. How do you define diversity in science?  Do you have experience with diversity in this field? Describe how experiences in your life will contribute to the mission of promoting diversity in the TOTTS program, and if relevant, explain any breaks in your scholarly activity or hardships in your education or career. 


4. Courses: List all courses completed as a graduate student and or doctoral student at CU Denver and grades obtained. Official transcripts are not necessary.

5. Letters of Support: Your application must include letters of support (no longer than 2 pages each) from your: 1. research mentor, 2. translational mentor and 3. doctoral or post-doctoral program director.  Letters from your mentor should support the aspects and details of your proposed mentoring plans with the research and translational mentor.


How to Apply

Submit Application
  • Submit the application online, attach a PDF of your materials.
  • The application attachment is a single PDF document that is comprised of a Face Page, NIH Biosketches, Proposal, Courses, and Letters of Support. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Program Requirements

  1. Must cite CCTSI support: Please refer to the How to Cite our CCTSI Grant for all publications, patents, or other tangible outcomes from this project during and after project completion.
  2. Completion of coursework to support the conduct of clinical and translational research.
    ​​ ​Courses for TOTTS Trainees According to Targeted Stream​​
    ​Clinical Doctoral Students/ MD Residents Biomedical Doctoral Students Veterinary Post-Doctoral​
    ​Applied Biostatistics I and II (CSPH) ​Biostatistics (CSPH) Biostatistics (CSU)​
    ​Study design: Epidemiology and Design AND Conduct of Clinical Trials (CLSC, CSPH) Study design: Epidemiology​ or Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials (CLSC, CSPH) Study design: Epidemiology or Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials (CLSC, CSPH)​
    ​Critical Appraisal of CTR Studies (CLSC) Human Disease/Systems (Home program)​ Translational Biomedical Research and Animal Models Selection (CSU)​
    ​Conducting Clinical Trials for Investigators (CLSC) Biology/Health System (Home program)​ Writing Scientific Manuscripts and Grants (CSU) (Participation in Career Development Grant Review and Mock Study program)​
    ​​Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research (CLSC) ​​​Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research (CLSC) ​​​Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research (CLSC)
    ​Clinical and Health Outcomes (CLSC) Home Program requirement​ Grant Writing (CLSC)​
    CSPH: Colorado School of Public Health, CLSC: Clinical Science Graduate Program, CSU: Colorado State University
  3. Completion of Responsible Conduct of Research and Good Clinical Practice training.  This includes online, such as CITI, and face to face training. 
  4. TOTTS Seminars: Trainees are expected to participate in once monthly 3-4 hour seminars to develop skills aligned with the NIH CTR core competencies and promote successful team oriented translational research.   Activities and topics include discussing research issues from a T0.5 to T4 perspective, leadership, working in teams and conducting team oriented science, entrepreneurship, working in communities, translating research across target audiences (patients, citizens, researchers, clinicians, funders, and policy makers), and providing opportunities for networking.
  5. Participation in CO-Mentor​ (Not required but strongly encouraged for Post-Doctoral Trainees): TOTT is committed to providing excellent mentorship to our trainees and their mentors. CO-Mentor’s aims are to: 1) develop skills and behaviors consistent with effective mentoring relationships; 2) enhance the specific mentor-mentee relationship; and 3) build a network of trained mentors and mentees who could model these practices for others, leading to a sustainable culture of mentoring at CCTSI institutions.  CO-Mentor consists of 4 half-day sessions over September to April.
  6. Immersion with Translational Mentor​: Each trainee will identify a translational mentor that will be a liaison to the community of the target audience appropriate to the trainee’s area of research. For trainees in a biomedical PhD program or part of the post-doctoral DVM track, having a clinical experience is crucial to understanding the context of human disease and illness and for developing interdisciplinary communication and team work. Each PhD biomedical and DVM trainee will have a clinical mentor who works with the trainee to develop a clinical experience relevant to the trainee. Trainees in doctoral health professional degree or medical residency programs will identify a translational mentor and have the option of developing an immersion experience in a biomedical lab or a health-oriented patient advocacy community relevant to the trainee. Requirements for the immersion experience include: 1) attending an orientation, 2) shadowing their mentor, understanding the patient’s experience with their disease, and discussing medical problems of patients relevant to their research, and 3) maintaining a reflective diary with entries made on patients seen during each clinical attendance. The frequency of clinic attendance will be tailored to each individual project.
  7. Attendance/Participation at the spring national CTSA conference.
  8. Fulfilling NIH/NCATS Reporting Requirements. Completion of materials and requests for information to meet NIH/NCATS reporting requirements.

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