This is a new application for an institutional NRSA sponsored training program to provide hypothesis-driven biomedical research experience to students during the early stages of their medical education at Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM). Our purpose is to provide a structured research environment that engages medical students' interest in biomedical research, creating opportunities for basic and translational research experience, and education in research ethics. The main objective of the program is to serve as a portal to train and recruit physician-scientists. The proposed program is based on a highly successful mentorship and training program at IUSM, the Student Research Program in Academic Medicine (SRPAM). Medical students with strong academic credentials are selected for SRPAM, which pairs students with highly qualified faculty mentors for 12 week summer research internships with an accompanying lecture series focused on research communication and writing, ethics, and translational investigations. The current application seeks support to enroll 24 students/year in the program to conduct basic and translational research within the basic and clinical departments and centers at IUSM. The program is designed: a) to increase student awareness of the value of doing biomedical research by challenging students to take on independent projects during the internship; and b) to strongly support students interested in a career in academic medicine by providing access to opportunities in the MD/PhD program and assistance with research fellowship applications to HHMI and NIH. Trainees will engage in mentored research experience in areas that reflect the school's strength and international reputation in hematopoiesis, host defense and pulmonary biology, cancer biology, cardiovascular, diabetes and medical informatics. The strengths of our program are: i) a cadre of highly successful mentors including physician-scientists with extramural funding, outstanding training records and solid experience with short-term trainees; ii) an outstanding scientific environment characterized by an intense interdisciplinary spirit and access to cutting-edge technologies and excellent resources; iii) a supportive community and a solid network providing students with opportunities for leadership and mentoring; iv) integration with the medical school curriculum with student credit for level III competency in biomedical knowledge; and v) an unequivocal commitment from the leadership at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The long term goal of the program is to increase the number of physician scientists nationally by exposing students in their early years of medical education to hypothesis-driven research focused on the molecular and cellular basis of disease and the potential for clinical translation.
Physician-scientists play a pivotal role in Translational Medicine; however, the number of medical students that embrace this career represents still a few percentages. The Student Research Program in Academic Medicine (SRPAM) at the Indiana University School of Medicine intends to be a pipeline for students to enter in the MD/PhD or HMI programs and more broadly to encourage them to embrace the career of physician scientists. The main objective of the program is to create opportunities for medical students to experience hypothesis-driven research focused on molecular bases of diseases with clinical translation potential, with highly trained investigators/mentors and in a stimulating environment.
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