NAVBO’s intent is to continue spreading vascular biology to more people by offering our summer course at more locations including those outside the United States.
Vasculata is a vascular biology boot camp, 3 to 4 days long that emphasizes the use of local faculty for course instruction. To make this possible, NAVBO places Vasculata in sites with a critical mass of vascular biologists. The idea is to have the attendees interact with your faculty, although external speakers may be used.
The host institution will be required to complete an R13 grant application to NHLBI in order to secure funds for scholarships. Ideally, these scholarships will be used to provide registration and housing fees for students that do not have travel funds within their department. Reaching out to schools with a significant population of under-represented minorities is strongly suggested. Apart from soliciting funding from NHLBI, there is very little, if any, need for corporate fundraising. However, we would not discourage this. Corporations could sponsor workshops, meals or outside speakers (if desired).
NAVBO provides some resources to make all this possible. Over the decade that the course has been offered, we have developed self-teaching materials. The most important materials are two spreadsheets. One of these, called the Vasculata Worksheet, is a set of key references, curated, with keywords added, and tied into the lecture material. The second is comprised of a long list of very challenging questions students can use to challenge their knowledge.
A core curriculum is identified within the Vasculata Worksheet. The meeting program should be built around this curriculum; however, we encourage host institutions to flavor the meeting with its own expertise.
Prior to the course, students should be provided with the list of lectures and a précis for each lecture. The précis explains what the students should know before coming to class and suggests appropriate readings in the Vasculata Worksheet. This allows lectures to build on knowledge that the students should already have. Of course not all students will do the work, however those that do will find that they will benefit more from the course with this preparation.
Another way that we make this a great experience for students is by asking the host institution to offer workshops that involve the attendees with local fellows. Sites may, at their discretion also offer course credit or integrate Vasculata with another course.
Another important detail is that the cost of attending Vasculata should be kept as low as possible. In addition to discouraging the raising of funds for visiting speakers, we hope each site will find inexpensive housing for attendees (typically dormitory housing is available in the summer).
Finally, the host site lectures are webcast to remote sites that use the lectures along with their own local faculty.