Research Faculty at CBIS

NIH-NIGMS Resilience Training Program

Becoming a Resilient Scientist

Under the NIGMS funded T32 Predoctoral Training Program flagship course (Perspectives in Biomolecular Science and Engineering Research) we are hosting this pilot program with the University at Albany in collaboration with the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE). The program is sponsored by the NIH/NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity. 



Navigating school, the career exploration process, research environments, and the stress of life can seem overwhelming and lead us to doubt ourselves just when we need confidence the most. The goal of this program is to help you develop the resilience you need to navigate challenging situations in school, work and life. The program will consist of six webinars, each followed by a small group discussion the following week. The webinars will highlight emotional intelligence competencies needed for academic success and for thriving in research and healthcare careers. We will discuss the cultivation of skills to help you realize resilience and identify and deal with obstacles that get in your way. Participants are expected to register for the course and watch each of the webinars and journal or reflect upon the resilience tools and strategies presented prior to the small group, confidential discussions in the following week. Participants who attend all six small group meetings and complete the evaluation survey of this pilot program will be awarded a certificate of completion by the NIH.


Past participants that completed this program at the NIH said that they:


gained important skills that help in their work/home (91%)

have seen improvements in the way they think about work/life (81%)

learned to manage conflict better (76%)

learned to manage stress better (76%)

have become more resilient (84%)

have become better scientists (65%)



Participants will watch the webinars listed below. These will be followed the next week by a synchronous discussion with the program co-facilitators, RPI’s Deepak Vashishth, Director, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Science, and UA’s Distinguished Professor Marlene Belfort, director of the Life Sciences Research Program. Please note: because this is a pilot program from the NIH intended to train our facilitators, an observer from the NIH will be attending the small group discussions.



ALL webinars are from 2:00PM-4:00PM in real-time (which includes a live Q&A), or a recording can be watched asynchronously later. Group meetings held together with UA and RPI students and faculty co-facilitators will occur biweekly at 4:00PM on Thursdays that can be attended in person by registered RPI students (Location: RPI-CBIS Auditorium) via RPI-Webex ( starting February 4th and running through May 13th.


January 26, 2021         

An Introduction to Wellness and Resilience          

We all experience setback and disappointments in science, work and life. In this webinar we will look at seven key elements of resilience with a focus on building habits that promote healthier responses and resilient behaviors in the face of set-back in educational and work environments.

NIH webinar registration:

UA/RPI group meeting: February 4, 2021


February 15, 2021        

Exploring Our Self-talk: Cognitive Distortions and Imposter Fears

We tell ourselves stories about what is happening to us and around us. In this webinar we will explore how our self-talk is generated and look at ways our self-talk can either help us be more resilient or how it can hurt us and hold us back. We will look at two important elements of our self-talk, cognitive distortions and imposter fears and explore ways to recognize internal messages and input from others that distorts our views of our abilities and accomplishments.         

NIH webinar registration:

UA/RPI group meeting: February 25, 2021


March 8, 2021  

Emotional Intelligence and Emotion in the Workplace       

Emotions can play a critical role in how we communicate, navigate relationships, and manage conflict. In this webinar we will discuss Emotional Intelligence and emotions and how they influence our resilience as scientists.

NIH webinar registration:

UA/RPI group meeting: March 18, 2021 


March 30, 2021

Self-advocacy and Assertiveness for Scientists   

We all need to develop the skills needed to be assertive and to advocate for ourselves, especially in hierarchical environments where we sometimes feel we do not have a voice. In this webinar, we will discuss how to set boundaries, communicate expectations, ask for feedback and discuss difficult issues with friends, mentors, colleagues and supervisors.

NIH webinar registration:

UA/RPI group meeting: April 8, 2021     


April 20, 2021   

Developing Feedback Resilience 

We all need feedback to grow and learn but we often become defensive and are unable to learn from the feedback we receive, even if it is delivered well. In this webinar, we will talk about why receiving feedback is so difficult and explore ways to stay calm and engaged when receiving feedback. We will also talk about giving feedback in a calm and assertive way so that our voice can be heard.

NIH webinar registration:

UA/RPI group meeting: April 29, 2021


May 10, 2021   

Maximizing Mentoring Relationships

We all need mentors to support and encourage us throughout our educational and career journey. In this webinar, we will talk about the mentoring relationship in research environments with a focus on improving your relationship with your PI, finding mentors and on improving communication and interpersonal interactions. The webinar will help clarify what you need from your supervisors and mentors and address how to get what you need from these important interactions.

NIH webinar registration:

UA/RPI group meeting: May 20, 2021



Deepak Vashishth, Ph.D., Director, (T32; NIGMS) Training Program

Biomolecular Science and Engineering

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Marlene Belfort, Ph.D., Co-Director (T32; NIGMS) Training Program

Distinguished Professor, Senior Advisor of RNA Institute

Director, Life Sciences Research Program-

University at Albany