Resident Research Opportunities

Biomedical investigation is an integral mission of the UMMS Department of Medicine.  Our faculty hold ~ 55 NIH grants with total extramural research funding exceeding $22 million annually.  The Department occupies research laboratories in the medical school and in the 600,000 sq. ft. Lazare Research Building, offering state-of-the-art facilities conducive to a productive and vibrant research program and fostering interactions with the entire research community. In addition, a large number of clinical trials throughout the medical center and its affiliated clinical services offer the resident opportunities to develop skills in clinical research.  Our residents also participate in numerous educational venues including seminars, journal clubs, and meetings with invited speakers.

The Research Pathway

The ABIM Research Pathway offers traditional and innovative programs flexibly designed for the resident who desires training as a physician - scientist and a career in academic medicine.  This track, approved by the American Board of Internal Medicine, combines streamlined clinical training with a structured research experience.  Within this Pathway, we have created the Millennium Program, which leads to the Ph.D.

Residency applicants should note on their application and discuss with the Residency Program Director their interest in the  Research Pathway.  On the day of their interview, the applicant will meet with members of the Department’s research faculty in their field of interest.  After acceptance, residents wishing to participate in this Pathway may advise the Program Director of this intention during  their PGY-1 or -2 years.  Residents transition into the research portion of the Pathway after 24 months of clinical training.

By the start of their PGY-2 year, participating residents should identify a research mentor.  There are many outstanding faculty to choose from, representing clinical and basic sciences.  A list of the Department faculty and their research interests is included.  Mentors provide guidance to their trainees, and career counseling as appropriate.  Working with the residency Program Director, mentors ensure that each resident’s performance is evaluated, and the American Board of Internal Medicine is kept apprised of their progress.

Two options of the Pathway may be followed, depending on the trainee’s personal interests:

  • The Internal Medicine Research Pathway requires a total of 5 years of training: 24 months of clinical internal medicine and 36 months of research training.  If accepted into the Millennium Program (see below), these 36 months may be applied toward the Ph.D.
  • The Sub-specialty Research Pathway entails a total of 6 or 7 years: 24 months in Internal Medicine, 12 or 24 months in subspecialty clinical training (depending on the subspecialty) and 36 months in research training.  If accepted into the Millennium Program, these 36 months may be applied toward the Ph.D.  All fellowship programs within the Department of Medicine enthusiastically participate in this program.

Areas of research range from formal laboratory-based biomedical investigation aimed at elucidating the mechanisms of human disease and its treatment, or advancing the science of medicine.  The Department has strong research programs in diabetes, bacteriology, virology, cellular immunology, transplantation immunobiology, cancer biology, liver and gastrointestinal diseases, preventive and behavioral medicine, and interventional cardiology.  Training in clinical and molecular epidemiology, pharmacology, behavioral sciences, medical outcomes, public health, and health systems research is available.  This work may be applied to award of an MPH through the existing MPH Program at UMMS.

Millennium Program

The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) share a commitment to train physician-scientists.  We have created a unique Ph.D. - granting program, - the Millennium MD/PhD Program (MMPP).  This track is designed for residents, residency graduates, and fellows who seek more rigorous biomedical education, including formal coursework and preparation of a thesis.

MMPP participants choose their thesis mentors from among a selected pool of top-flight scientists and educators in GSBS (http://www.umassmed.edu/gsbs/faculty/). The mentor, along with the candidate’s advisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School, selects from the extensive curriculum those graduate courses tailored to the candidate’s needs.  As in conventional Ph.D. programs, trainees are awarded their degree pending successful performance of a Qualifying Exam and successful defense of their thesis.  It is anticipated that completion of the MMPP program will usually require 3-4 years, concurrent with the research period outlined in the Research Pathways options.

MMPP participants who are in clinical training must maintain a 20% level of activity in clinical service throughout their MMPP tenure.  Graduates of this program will be well positioned to compete for independent research funding.  Application to the MMPP can be submitted before or during the residency program, or in a Fellowship program.

Research Scholar Program

Highly qualified residency applicants with a track record of productivity in biomedical research may apply for this Program.  The Research Scholar will receive a stipend supplement during their research years (see Pathway above) and an educational allowance.  Research Scholars have priority for acceptance into Departmental sub-specialty Fellowship programs, allowing focus on investigation in their clinical field of interest.  Research Scholars will be selected from candidates to the Department of Medicine Residency Program.

Research Opportunities

Research experience offers many advantages to residents including the opportunity to probe deeply into an area of personal interest, a chance to work closely with a faculty member, and a way of strengthening their resume.  It is common for residents to gain authorship of scientific publications.  Many house staff elect to participate in clinical investigation during their residency.  It is not difficult to work a clinical research project into your residency training schedule; there are many to choose among.  If you are interested in getting involved in one, we are delighted to help point you in the right direction.  Alternatively, you should feel free to initiate contact with the faculty investigator of your choice.

Department of Medicine Faculty Research

Although participants in research may choose a mentor from among any of the basic or clinical science faculty at UMMS, it is anticipated that most faculty sponsors will be members of the Department of Medicine.  Collaborative projects with faculty in other departments are encouraged. Departmental faculty actively engaged in biomedical research, please visit the Department of Medicine Research subsite.

For further information contact:

Shan Lu 2007Shan Lu, M.D., PhD
Associate Program Director for Resident Research
508-856-6791 
shan.lu@umassmed.edu

Internal Medicine Residency
University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
774-442-2173