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ASPIRE Internship: Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance TSC Academy Project Assistant

Posted by on Friday, March 27, 2020 in Announcements .

ASPIRE Internship Opportunity:

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
TSC Academy Project Assistant
8737 Colesville Road, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance The Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (TS Alliance) is the only US-based national organization dedicated to finding a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), while improving the lives of those affected. Founded in 1974, it works to improve quality of life for individuals and families affected by TSC by stimulating and sponsoring research; creating programs, support services and resource information; and developing and implementing public and professional education programs designed to heighten awareness of TSC.

Tuberous sclerosis complex–or TSC–is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in vital organs, primarily the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, liver, skin and lungs. However, the neurological aspects of the disease, such as epilepsy, autism, and neuropsychiatric issues are often the most impactful to quality of life. The TS Alliance’s research program is focused on expanding TSC research through stimulating and supporting basic, translational, and clinical research on the various manifestations of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), furthering the development of clinical therapies and, ultimately, finding a cure for TSC.

The TS Alliance is seeking a remote volunteer intern to assist in the maintenance and further construction of the online education platform, TSC Academy ( TSC Academy was created to increase scientific knowledge within the TSC community. The platform is hosted on the online learning system “Tovuti.” TSC Academy currently has three courses available:

  1. Primer


  • Introduction to TSC
  • Genetics 101
  • mTOR 101
  1. Introduction to Research and Funding


  • Getting to know TSC research
  • History of TSC research
  • How is research paid for?
  • What’s next in TSC research?
  1. The Advocate’s Role


  • Advancing Research
  • Grassroots Advocacy

These courses were developed as a specific learning pathway intended to elevate the understanding of the science behind TSC, specifically targeting TSC community members advocating for federal TSC research funding in Washington, DC. Following a positive and enthusiastic response from this year’s group of advocates, we are working to expand TSC Academy to include a diverse array of learning pathways on topics relevant to the TSC community.

The intern will assist Zoë Fuchs, Science Project Coordinator, in drafting material and building out coursework in Tovuti. Previous experience working within Tovuti is not required, as Zoë will train the intern how to use the system. However, experience in education, scientific writing, and/or graphic design would be a great benefit to potential interns. The intern will also work closely with other TS Alliance staff working on TSC Academy, including Katie Smith, Director, Government and Global Affairs and Daniel Klein, Director, Digital Platforms. In addition to drafting material, the intern will be able to incorporate beta feedback from the TSC Academy Working Group, a diverse mixture of TSC community members including researchers, clinicians, caregivers for individuals with TSC, and persons with TSC.


  • Hone their technical writing skills
  • Improve their ability to communicate complex scientific information to a mixed audience
  • Gain experience drafting coursework for adult education – including developing learning objectives and strategies for engagement and assessment
  • Interpret and apply feedback from the TSC Working Group in course design
  • Review video footage of leading experts in TSC and TSC community members for use in the courses
  • Learn about topics relevant to a patient advocacy community, including but not limited to the TSC Clinical Consensus Guidelines, TSC treatment options, and clinical trials
  • Become familiar with the Tovuti online learning system
  • Learn about working in the nonprofit/rare disease research sector



  • Start date: April or May 2020
  • Internship is unpaid
  • Duration: 10-12 weeks, with potential for extending after review
  • Commitment: 4-6 hours per week typically, to not exceed 10 hours per week
  • The intern will support the TS Alliance as needed and gain new skills through phone calls/Zoom meetings


Applications due by noon, Monday April 13, 2020

To apply:

Your information will then be passed along to the host who will contact you directly to schedule an interview.


Please review ASPIRE Internship FAQs: Found here
​For further questions, please contact Ashley Brady (

Eligibility requirements

  • Applicants must be a current Vanderbilt University PhD student or a current postdoctoral fellow.
  • All PhD students must have completed all coursework for their degree prior to the start of the internship.
  • Biomedical PhD students must also have passed their qualifying exams before the application deadline.
  • Students and postdocs may not participate in more than one internship at a time.  More than one application may be submitted at a single time, but only one position can be accepted.
  • If you are not in a department supported by the BRET office, we will also require that you complete a form guaranteeing PI approval to participate in this program.  Please contact Ashley Brady at for more information.
  • If you are an international student or postdoctoral fellow, your visa status may affect your work eligibility. Please contact Ashley Brady ( to discuss this further.

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