Ashley Brady
August 20, 2016
Posted in Announcements

ASPIRE Internship Opportunity:

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
International Conference Program and PFDD Coordinator  

801 Roeder Rd.
Suite 750
Silver Spring, MD 20910

The Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (TSA) is the only US-based national organization dedicated to finding a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex, 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 an intern volunteer to help in the planning of the biennial International Research Conference on TSC and LAM, which will take place in Washington, DC, June 22-24, 2017.  (See Conference 2015). This three-day event will be held in partnership with the LAM Foundation and will bring together approximately 250 researchers and medical doctors who will share information on the latest treatment and testing options as well as basic and translational research updates. 

The intern will also have the opportunity to support the TS Alliance in planning for an externally-led patient-focused drug development meeting (PFDD) with the FDA, to take place in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2017, the day before the research conference begins. This session provides the opportunity for patients and caregivers to give their perspective to help the FDA understand the context in which regulatory decisions are made for new drugs. For this event, the TS Alliance will identify and invite multiple patients, families, healthcare providers and other stakeholders to attend and develop a compelling agenda to present to FDA representatives.

The intern will work closely with Steven L. Roberds, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, and the TS Alliance team to assist in the planning of all aspects of the research conference and PFDD meeting, including identifying and inviting speakers, organizing oral presentation sessions and a poster session, developing the conference program, collecting abstracts for posters and travel award applications, and event planning logistics with guidance and oversight from TS Alliance staff.    


  • Gain experience in organizing and planning an international conference
  • Meet and interact with international scientists and clinicians whose work impacts patients with tuberous sclerosis complex
  • Gain exposure to the professional culture in a national non-profit scientific foundation
  • Network with scientific foundation professionals
  • Learn about FDA regulatory processes and concerns
  • Gain experience in working with patients and families aligned for a common cause
  • Assist TS Alliance staff on-site at the PFDD meeting and research conference


  • Internship will start in October 2016 and run through June 2017. 
  • Internship is remote, unpaid, part-time (2-5 hours per week, variable, more time may be necessary immediately prior to the June conference and PFDD meeting)
  • The intern will support the foundation as needed and gain new skills through phone calls/ conference calls/skype calls 
  • The participating student or postdoc must be eligible for ASPIRE funds (As part of the internship, there will be a required on-site visit to the foundation for a few days at the start of the internship and to attend the conference and PFDD meeting in Washington, DC, to help support the execution of the event).
  • Must be US citizen or permanent resident 

Applications due by midnight, Monday, September 12, 2016

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


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

ASPIRE Internship 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 October 2016.
  • Biomedical PhD students must also have passed their qualifying exams before the application deadline.
  • 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.