A clear and well structured set of specific aims is an essential part of a complete grant package. Postdocs may receive training on writing a manuscript or journal article, but are rarely asked to write specific aims until they apply for faculty positions. This workshop will guide participants through the process of refining the first draft of their specific aims based on their preliminary data, previous publications and research interests. Participants will be asked to bring a draft of their specific aims to the workshop. Following a brief overview describing the structure and best practices for writing specific aims, participants will be provided examples of excellent and poorer specific aims for a group discussion. Participants will work in groups to apply the best practices discussed to their own aims. Participation is limited to 30 attendees and a draft of their specific aims must be submitted to here by June 7th.  Note: this workshop requires special registration and incurs an additional fee of $5 during registration.


Micah altman

Director of Research and Head/Scientist, Program on Information Science, MIT

Micah conducts work primarily in the fields of social science, information privacy, information science and research methods, and statistical computation -- focusing on the intersections of information, technology, privacy, and politics; and on the dissemination, preservation, reliability and governance of scientific knowledge. Previously Micah served as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, and at Harvard University as the Associate Director of the Harvard-MIT Data Center, Archival Director of the Henry A. Murray Archive, and Senior Research Scientist in the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences. Micah earned a Ph.D. in Social Science from the California Institute of Technology, and conducted his postdoctoral research at Harvard University. Prior to studying social science, Micah worked as a software engineer in "Silicon Valley" developing software, courses, teaching and consulting on the subject of high-performance computing.




Guohao Dai

Associate Professor in Bioengineering at Northeastern University

Dr. Dai received Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from MIT’s HST Program (Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology). He completed his Post-doctoral training in Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School (Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology).  Current researches in his lab focus on the 3-D bioprinting technology, stem cells and vascular bioengineering, and are funded by major grants from NSF, NIH and American Heart Association.  Dr. Dai received the Scientist Development Award from American Heart Association, Faculty Early Career Award from National Science Foundation, Rising Star Award from Biomedical Engineering Society, and Institute’s Faculty Career Award (RPI).


charles mace

Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Tufts University

Charlie earned his BS from Le Moyne College in 2003, followed by an MS (2006) and PhD (2008) from the University of Rochester in the laboratory of Prof. Benjamin Miller.  He was then a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. George Whitesides at Harvard University from 2008–2011.  Prior to joining the faculty at Tufts in 2013, he was a senior scientist at Diagnostics For All.

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Sarah McMenamin


Sarah did her PhD at Stanford University with Liz Hadly, studying population fluctuations and developmental variation in wild Ambystoma salamanders through space and time. As a postdoc, she transitioned to the model organism of zebrafish in the lab of Dave Parichy at the University of Washington. She developed a project looking at the developmental and molecular effects of thyroid hormone and other endocrine factors on zebrafish development. As a postdoc, she was awarded an F32 NRSA and a K99 through the NIH. She started her own lab at Boston College in 2017, and her independent work focuses on post-embryonic developmental coordination and the roles of thyroid hormone in development of the craniofacial skeleton in zebrafish.