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Office of Fellowship Training (OFT)

OFT Mission

The mission of the Office of Fellowship Training is:

  • To support and promote a productive and fulfilling research training experience in the NIMH Intramural Research Program
  • To encourage career planning and guide career management through trainee use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs)
  • To provide programs and services to assist trainees in discovering and clarifying career choices
  • To provide opportunities and to encourage trainees to build a professional skill set which enables them to become world leaders in academic and non-academic careers

Come visit our booth and speak with an OFT staff member about the fellowship and training opportunities we offer at the NIH/NIMH. We will be at the following scientific meetings: Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP) and Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

Trainee Successes: Past & Present

Shahriar SheikhBahaei, Ph.D.Dr. SheikhBahaei has been leading Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits Unit at the Intramural Research Program of NIH since July 2019. Dr. SheikhBahaei’s lab (funded by both NINDS and NIMH) is studying the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying motor control disorders, in particular, the underlying mechanisms generating persistent developmental stuttering disorder at the cellular, circuit, and systems levels of neurons and glia interactions.

Dr. SheikhBahaei’s interest in neuroscience stemmed from the usual combination of an aptitude for science and a medical problem (stuttering) that brought him into bioscience at a young age. Dr. SheikhBahaei received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, where he worked with Dr. Bob Zucker on the regulation of neurotransmitter release and Dr. John Rubenstein (UC San Francisco) on development of GABAergic neurons in basal ganglia. Dr. SheikhBahaei completed his doctoral studies in Neuroscience (2017) jointly under NIMH/NINDS – University College London (UCL) Graduate Partnership Program where he worked with Drs. Jeffrey Smith (NINDS) and Alexander Gourine (UCL). His graduate studies were on how astrocytic networks control activities of respiratory motor circuits within the brainstem. After short postdoctoral research at NINDS, Dr. SheikhBahaei became an Independent Research Scholar in 2019. In collaboration with the laboratories of Drs. Chudasama and Leopold at NIMH, Dr. Sheikhbahaei’s lab tries to expand understanding of the anatomical and functional organization of the cortical and subcortical structures controlling volitional and non-volitional vocalizations in social contexts. Dr. SheikhBahaei’s work and contributions to the field have been recognized by several awards, including NINDS Director’s Award for Research Excellence (FARE) in 2015 and 2018, AAAS Joshua E. Neimark Memorial Award, and inaugural selection to the Independent Research Scholar Program of the NIH Office of Intramural Research.


Ph.D., Neuroscience, University College London (jointly with NIMH/NINDS)

BA (Honors), Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Selected Publications

  1. Sheikhbahaei, S., Turovsky, E., Hosford, P, Hadjihambi, A., et al (2018) Astrocytes modulate brainstem respiratory rhythm-generating circuits and determine exercise capacity Nature Communications, 9(1) , 370
  2. Sheikhbahaei S., Morris, B., Colina, J., Zhang, R., Gourine, A.V., Smith J.C (2018) Morphometric analysis of the brainstem astrocytes Journal of Comparative Neurology , 1–16
  3. Sheikhbahaei, S. and Smith, J.C (2017)Breathing to inspire and arouse Science, 355(6332) 1370-71
  4. Sheikhbahaei, S., Gourine, A.V. Smith, J.C. (2017) Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 246:92-97
  5. Angelova, P. R., Kasymov, V., Christie, I., Sheikhbahaei, S., Turovsky, E., Marina, N., Gourine, A.V (2015) Functional Oxygen Sensitivity of Astrocytes Journal of Neuroscience, 35(29), 10460–10473