The major goal of this Program is to develop a new generation of physician-scientists. In order to accomplish this goal, selected medical students will gain a positive, comprehensive experience and training in biomedical research. They will (1) develop written proposals under the supervision of well-funded faculty preceptors, (2) conduct their projects in established and productive laboratories or clinical facilities for 2-3 months during option periods, usually between their first year and second years of medical school, (3) report their results in oral and written form, and (4) participate in research-related activities, i.e. seminars. These experiences will enhance their interest in and awareness of careers in academic medicine. Twenty-four training positions will be offered each year. With the guidance of faculty research mentors, students will develop 4-5 page proposals that are goal-oriented, achievable, and include a hypothesis, literature review, and methodology. Applicants will be selected by peer review based on the quality of the proposal, productivity of the mentor, and training environment. At the end of the project, a final written report is required. Other Program enhancements include a seminar series, special lectures, and opportunities to present and publish the work. Special efforts will continue to be made to attract ethnic minority individuals. A wide variety of scientific programs (basic, clinical and translational) will be considered for funding in order to accommodate a broad range of medical student interests. Research areas reflecting funding from NIDDK are somewhat prioritized. Research projects will be available in (1) Endocrinology and Metabolism, (2) Molecular Biology, (3) Physiology and Biophysics, (4) Cardiovascular Diseases, (5) Connective Tissue Diseases, (6) Infectious Disease and Immunology, (7) Cancer, (8) Neurosciences, (9) Visual System, and (10) Preventive Medicine. Seventy-two faculty members, holding over $32.5 million in annual grant awards and $33.0 million in pending grants, are currently at available at UTHSC as research preceptors. Additional faculty members who meet these high standards will be included as preceptors in the future.
The MSRF program is the entry level for medical students to explore a career in research and academic medicine. A number of students will follow through and years later become physician-scientists investigating our major diseases, including diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, obesity, heart disease etc. This early experience in research results in a noticeable increase in physician-scientists later, investigating mechanisms and contributing to new treatments, leading to improvements in our public health.
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