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ASPIRE on the Road Bonus Fall Edition! We are headed to St. Louis! October 2023; application now open!

Posted by on Thursday, July 27, 2023 in Announcements .


ASPIRE On the Road is an initiative of the Vanderbilt ASPIRE Program aimed at broadening the training experiences of biomedical PhD graduate students and postdocs by organizing site visits to companies and organizations to help our trainees make well-informed career decisions.  During these trips, we will spend time with area biotechnology and pharma companies learning about career paths, hearing from key leadership, touring the facilities, and meeting with alumni. Read more about past trips here

We will be visiting  Pfizer’s Chesterfield site, hosted by alumnus, Larry Thompson, PhD, Associate Research Fellow, Medicinal Sciences & BioTherapeutics.  Pfizer’s St. Louis site houses their  BioTherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences group and enabling partners. This team is responsible for advancing Pfizer’s biologics, vaccines, and gene therapy portfolio by developing manufacturing processes and dosage forms, applying state-of-the-art analytical technologies, conducting non-GMP manufacturing and scale-up studies. This critical work enables the development of potential new medicines to treat ailments in oncology, rare disease, internal medicine, inflammation & immunology, and vaccines, including biosimilars.

We will also be visting Bayer, and seeking to secure a meeting at BioStl, a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster collaborative efforts to advance innovation & entrepreneurship in the city and region.  We hope to also find the opportunity to visit some smaller companies and start-ups in the area as we dive into the region a bit more over the coming weeks building the agenda. In addition there will be an alumni happy hour that will take place at a local restaurant on the evening of Thursday, October 19 which will include BRET alumni in all types of careers who are located in the St. Louis area.

A maximum of 12 trainees will be selected to participate. Airfare and hotel accommodations will be covered by the ASPIRE Program for those selected to participate.

Eligibility Requirements:

1. Applicants must be a current Vanderbilt University or VUMC PhD student or postdoctoral fellow in the biomedical sciences.  Please note, in order to be equitable in providing opportunities to all of our trainees, if you have already participated in a past ASPIRE on the Road trip, such as to Boston or San Francisco, your application will not be considered for this program.

2. PhD students must have passed their qualifying exams before the application deadline and should not have defended prior to the trip dates. Priority will be given to more senior graduate students (years 4+) and postdocs who have completed at least a year of their training at Vanderbilt.

3. Applicants must be able to attend the full site visit in St. Louis, Oct 18-20, 2023; this may require departure from Nashville early on Wednesday, Oct 18 (we intend to fly).

4. Selected participants must be able to provide proof of vaccination and bring their vaccination card on the trip. This may be required to gain access to industry facilities.

DEADLINE to APPLY: Monday, August 21st, 2023 at noon

To submit your application:

  • Complete the online form found at this link:
  • You will be asked in the application to upload your current CV or resume highlighting academic accomplishments and other experiences relevant to this event.
  • You will be asked in the application to upload your cover letter (1 page max) describing your interest in a research and development career in the biotechnology or pharma industry, what types of relevant career development activities you have participated in prior to this, and what you hope to gain from such an experience.

For more information about the agenda and alumni happy hour, please visit our website (we are still building the program so watch for updates):


Co-sponsored by the Vanderbilt University Basic Science’s Dean’s Office and Vanderbilt University Development and Alumni Relations.

Questions? please contact Ashley Brady (

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