A bit About me
I am a PhD scientist who collaborates with biomedical faculty to help them write grant applications that are clear, focused and compelling. Sometimes I help by ensuring that the grant tells the exciting story you want to tell; other times I help by co-developing the framing and applying it to all data and proposed experiments. See the Services page for details. In all cases, I work with you one-to-one, listening, asking questions, clarifying, so that you can get the funding you need and get back to doing the science you love.
I’ve been helping basic researchers and physician-scientists at top-tier academic medical centers write grant proposals and improve their writing for > 13 years. Trained as a neuroscientist/electrophysiologist, I believe we can make the world a better place through biomedical research and I am delighted to do my part. I bring a lot of other experience to your grant writing project. Please view my LinkedIn profile for more.
Currently I do three things:
1) I coach scientists on writing and grant writing, in person and remotely. 'Coaching' usually involves working together to transform your research idea into a grant application. It is best if we start working together before you have written pages and pages on text. I am comfortable working with scholars in all (ok, let’s say most) areas of biomedical research and conservation science. Recently I have been helping scientists in the areas of cancer and translational research; in the past I did more neuroscience, clinical effectiveness, and health disparities research.
2) I edit grant proposals, manuscripts, and other documents, always working closely with you, the author. I think of editing as a quicker process than coaching; it is for faculty who have had success in grant writing and already write clearly.
3) I conduct workshops on writing, grant writing and idea generation for junior faculty, clinical residents and fellows. Workshops range from 1 hour to a full day, and are customized to meet your needs and your participants. Please contact me and we can discuss what will help your group the most.
4) Yes, I know I said it was three things :-). I also teach Grantsmanship (MTR 606) and Review Writing (MTR 601) in the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Master of Science in Translational Research program. I also conduct the professional development workshop on 'Presenting Your Best Self Online'. Links to the resources I use in those courses are here.
My newest passions are generating ideas, creative problem solving, and how cultural background influences academic writing. I look forward to gaining more expertise in these areas and, hopefully, doing my own scholarship!
Clients - current and recent
I hold a BA in Economics, with Honors, from Swarthmore College, and a PhD in Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis.
Nice things people I work with have said about me
As a Professor in the Biomedical Sciences with over 10 years of experience in writing and securing NIH grants, I have nothing but the highest regard for Rachel’s capabilities. My writing skills, I think, are decent – and the fundable ideas are there - but what Rachel brings to the table is a masterful ability to covert a good proposal into a great one. She identifies the gist of the proposal, determines if the impact is clear (which it often is not), and pinpoints aspects of novelty that, in retrospect (having used her services for over two years now) have turned out to be instrumental in getting the high scores my proposals have recently received. Whether you are a new to the grant-writing game or an old hand at this task, I recommend you seek out her assistance. It has been a game changer for me.
>> Siddharth Balachandran, PhD, Professor and Co-Leader, Blood Cell Development and Function Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center
Rachel is a significant and indispensable part of our laboratory success. As a new laboratory, it is vital to make sure that your grants, papers, and abstracts are all written in a clear, understandable way for reviewers (despite their background). Rachel, with her scientific knowledge, extensive wiring experience, and dedicated pleasant personality, can understand the most complex ideas and break them down in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. She also very understating and cooperative on deadlines and last-minute changes, and work closely with us through multiple rounds of revisions to ensure the best final quality of every document. I highly recommend working with Rachel; she can definitely make the difference between failure and success!
>> Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, The Wistar Institute
I have been assisted by Rachel for preparing many federal grants and research manuscripts when I was an assistant/associate professor at Wistar Institute. Rachel is always vivid and kind and has compassion for others. For my projects, which were pure basic biology and so different from her usual research scope, she has been very eager to learn a new research field and could deeply understand the field, indicating how she is passionate to learn new research fields with her intelligence. Rachel and I had spent some time at the beginning to understand the research field, and we subsequently could improve federal grants and research manuscripts, together, in terms of logical flow, scientific phrasing, grammar, etc. I have learnt quite a lot of writing ranging from an easier, simpler, clearer representation of grant applications, which is essential for any investigators to acquire federal funding. Rachel’s knowledge about federal grant applications has always been up-to-date, and she has frequently pointed out missing components required for a new grant application system. In my sincere opinion, I have a series of heart-warming experience with working with Rachel, most likely because she indeed would like to help others with compassion using her exceptional grant writing expertise. I am looking forward to preparing federal grants and research manuscripts with Rachel in the future, allowing you to envision how I trust her exceptional skills and enjoy a friendship she built with me.
>> Ken-ichi Noma, PhD, Associate Professor, The Wistar Institute
I consider working with Rachel a key element of my career success. Working with Rachel is more than just an editing process (which is terrific, by the way) – it is an active learning experience that has taught me how to communicate about my scientific work by telling a compelling and captivating story. I am constantly applying what I have learned from Rachel in my career: from grant writing to lectures to seminars.
>> Italo Tempera, PhD, Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology and Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Temple University, Katz School of Medicine
“It was pleasure to read your grant" and "Beautifully written"
>> Two of the reviewers for Dr. Italo Tempera's funded R01 application.
As someone who grew up in a foreign country, I always dreamed of a scientific editor, to help with fixing my sentence structure and articles. However, Rachel takes editing to another level. With my first, interdisciplinary R01, she helped me restructure and re-frame the entire grant, including the figures, and making it much better organized, and more logical and clear. We got 4%, and comments from clinican, cancer biologist and physicist reviewers on how well it was written. She also worked with my student and me on a long and very technical review, guiding my student with incredible patience into making an easy-to-follow piece, which we are now very proud of.
>> Bojana Gligorijevic, PhD, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, Temple University
I initially sought out Rachel’s services because I knew that I needed help reshaping my grants into truly clear and compelling applications. I’m really glad that I did! Rachel’s grant writing system has enabled me to read my own writing more objectively and to distill my ideas into more ‘fundable’ form. Rachel has also taught me a great deal about grant structure and how to write with the reviewer in mind. Working with her has been a genuine pleasure from start to finish and I highly recommend enlisting her services for your next grant application.
>> Robert M. Hughes, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry, East Carolina University
It has been my pleasure to work with Rachel. She walked me through every step of the grant proposal process, meeting with me at least once a week and taught me several lessons about grantsmanship. She excels in all aspects of strategic project development and has a talent for keeping any one focused on innovative ideas and realistic goals. She provides a thoughtful approach to the narrative. She is well organized, diligent worker, pays attention to details and deadlines. The frame work she used to guide my work was very helpful and I continue to use it today as I work on other grants. She punctuated the project with a high level of sophistication. I highly recommend her to anyone working on a federal or foundation proposal.
>> Kiran Gumireddy, PhD, Staff Scientist, The Wistar Institute
Rachel is an extraordinary and patient teacher. She has an unparalleled gift for clarity in scientific writing and enthusiastically shares her tricks with her students! She provided invaluable guidance during the grant writing process. Working with Rachel has permanently changed my writing for the better, and now I am able to more easily and effectively convey my scientific ideas.
>> Laura Adang, MD, PhD, Instructor in Neurology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
You are golden….actually better than gold, because you are also down-to-earth!! You provide high quality and valuable advice, specific to: NIH guidelines and details, reviewers’ interests, organization of grant application content, and grammar. What makes your consultation “better than gold”, is that you have an approachable and flexible demeanor. Your personable character allows the consultee to connect with your critique, advice, and instruction. Consultation like none other, Rachel, you are both scholarly and sincere!!
>> Ellen-ge Denton, PsyD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Staten Island, City University of New York
You will be happy to know that you have made an impact on me! Since September of last year I have received 4 grants!! … I can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve taught me.
>> Keila Lopez, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics-Cardiology, Baylor College of Medicine
Rachel has helped me navigate the process of grant writing by targeting the correct grant mechanism, and formulating strategies to fit the requirements. She has guided me through aspects of choosing the right words, and framing cohesive sentences to construct a solid grant or a manuscript. Overall, Rachel not only brings with her years of grant writing experience, but how to write a grant that will get funded! On a personal note, Rachel is a pleasure to work with, and is exactly the support system that I need as a junior faculty.
>> Sanjeevani Arora, PhD, Assistant Professor, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center
I learned a lot about using active verbs (instead of prepositions), separating which by a comma, thinking about the antecedent, parallel structure in listing and with prepositions, and not being overly specific, redundant, synonym-heavy, wordy, or vague. Thanks again! My writing is and will be all the better because of you. ; )
>> Larissa Jennings, PhD, MHS, Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Interventions, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Thank you, Rachel!! These edits are so incredibly helpful. Thank you for making me sound like a pro.
>> Dziwe Ntaba, MD, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Village Health Works
Wow, you completely transformed my career goals training section into an AMAAAAAAAAZING document!!!!!
>> Philip G. Haines, MD, Associate Director of the Echocardiography Lab, Rhode Island Hospital; Assistant Professor, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
We could not have done this without your invaluable experience and support!!!
>> Carolyn Wilkinson, Associate Director, Translational Neuroengineering, University of Pennsylvania
Thank you for your guidance, patience, and catching my mistakes. We would not have gotten anything of substance in without your help!
>> Jacqueline Boccanfuso, Clinical Research Coordinator, Translational Neuroengineering, University of Pennsylvania
Thank you so much for all your help Rachel! Your help with organization and framing complex ideas into simple terms that are easily understood by a general audience transformed my grant. It has been a pleasure working with you!
>> Kavitha Sarma, PhD, Assistant Professor, Gene Expression & Regulation Program, The Wistar Institute