Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Postdoctoral Fellowhip Program

Wayne State University (a vibrant research institution ranked 75th of over 600 U.S. universities in research and development expenditures) has a post‐doctoral fellowship program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, in collaboration with the Merrill‐Palmer Skillman Institute of WSU.

For more details on our postdoctoral program, please contact Dr. Steven J. Ondersma at 313‐664-2500.

To apply, please forward a statement of research interests, curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference to:

Dr. Ondersma, c/o Ms. Rose Foster
Merrill‐Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University
71 East Ferry Ave., Detroit, MI, 48202

Predoctoral Research Training Program

The MPSI graduate training program develops researchers from multiple disciplines with expertise in behavioral, psychosocial, neurobehavioral and public health research and/or interventions having substantial life-long impact on child health and development. The goal of the training program is to prepare scientists who will define the ranks of the next generation of researchers who can effectively study and intervene with children and families. The research of the training faculty reflects wide-ranging interests in factors affecting development with a lifespan perspective and a committed urban health mission. Common themes address how children and adolescents and their families can be helped to meet biological and environmental risks in their lives.

There is a particular interdisciplinary research focus on Developmental Transitions in Urban Children and Adolescents during critical developmental periods affected by behavioral, social, biological, and environmental challenges. The complexities of behavioral and cognitive development require research skills rooted firmly in core disciplines and that also transcend departmental / disciplinary boundaries. The MPSI graduate program develops trainees towards productive research careers in child and family development through intensive apprenticed research experiences and mentoring in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and translational sciences.

The program is open to academically strong students pursuing doctoral degrees in research focused on children and families. Degrees are granted typically through the Department of Psychology, School of Social Work, College of Education, the Translational Neuroscience Program, and others. Mentors are the MPSI faculty plus other selected affiliated faculty mentors from these programs and the Pediatric Prevention Research Center.  The training program is directed by Dr. John H. Hannigan, Deputy Director of MPSI.

In brief overview, the MPSI program complements training experiences in the graduate research programs of the partner disciplines. Trainee success is marked by 1) publications; 2) a dissertation project that reflects at least two disciplines; and 3) submitting a competitive NRSA and/or similar grant application. This primary focus on research training is enhanced by opportunities fostering 4) professional skills needed by successful academic researchers; 5) a confident ability to network effectively with peers and senior colleagues; and 6) effective community engagement facilitating productive and meaningful research with and for the urban community.

To develop interdisciplinary research expertise and professional competence the MPSI training program is structured with four core interconnected activities:

  • Intensive Mentored Research within a cohort of graduate students learning together, guided by individualized hands-on apprenticed research learning with a primary mentor, aided by a mentoring team that capitalize on the inter-disciplinary strengths among the participating faculty from partner departments and programs, and utilize structured Individualized Training Plans and evaluations to facilitate progress.
  • Didactic Courses include a MPSI pro-seminar to orient trainees to multi- and interdisciplinary research on challenges to developmental transitions and urban health, complementing selected courses from partner program curricula, plus encouraging strengths in research design and statistical methods.  The program includes including the MPSI Colloquium Series that features national and local experts.
  • Complementary Professional and Academic Development activities foster trainee competence in responsible conduct of research, academic/research career advancement, and professional skills grant writing, publishing and more, plus opportunities to participate in national and local research conferences focused on children and families.
  • Scientific Research Translation and Community Engagement activities help trainees to establish community-based research and to translate their research and knowledge into information appropriate to a concerned lay public.

For more information, please contact John H. Hannigan, Ph.D.