HomeProfessionalsCareer DevelopmentFellowsInnovations in Fellowship Education2014 ▶ Innovative Core Curriculum to Introduce Trainees to Pulmonary and Critical Medicine Research
Innovative Core Curriculum to Introduce Trainees to Pulmonary and Critical Medicine Research

Boston University
Boston, MA

Program Director: Christine Campbell Reardon, MD
Type of Program: Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine
Abstract Authors: Christine Campbell Reardon, MD

Residents in training have limited opportunities to pursue basic or translational research projects during their residency years. A number of barriers to research training during residency can be attributed to the implementation of duty hour regulations and admission caps. These regulations require more day hours for patient care for accreditation and limit the scheduling flexibility necessary to permit a resident to participate in a dedicated research block in a translational or basic research project. The resident work schedule now is more conducive for the longitudinal pursuit of a clinical or educational project. As a consequence, pulmonary and critical care fellows who are now entering academic research fellowship programs have little recent exposure to translational or basic research. Despite these limitations, one of the programmatic goals of our fellowship training program has been to develop independent researchers in Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine across the spectrum of clinical, translational and basic research.

Our program has a curriculum designed to facilitate and support the entry of fellows into research with an emphasis on the translational and basic sciences. Our two-pronged approach includes a dedicated 3-week laboratory course and a seminar series. The seminar series is integrated into the core pulmonary curriculum and precedes the mandatory weekly didactic teaching session. Each week over a 6-month period, a member of our research faculty gives a 30 minute seminar presentation specifically aimed at first year fellows yet to enter research stages of training. During the seminar series, fellows are introduced to the members of the research faculty and their laboratory team of technicians, pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. The faculty member provides an overview of their work along with the specific types of projects available for fellows to join. The faculty member has an early opportunity to engage the interest of a fellow who may not have considered a translational or basic project as a research pathway. The seminar series also serves to illustrate the importance of research in making advances in the understanding and therapy of lung disease.

The laboratory course transitions fellows to the research stage. All Pulmonary and Critical Care fellows participate, along with visiting fellows from other programs. The course is comprised of didactic sessions, lab practicums, attendance at lab group meetings, and dedicated time to meet with potential research mentors. The topics covered include cell culture techniques, immunohistochemistry, DNA and RNA isolation and analysis, micro-RNA, transgenic and knockout mice, in-situ hybridization, proteomics, signal transduction, microarray technology and analysis, protein isolation, viral-mediated gene transfer, flow cytometry, cloning, stem cell biology, lung structure and development, PCR techniques, etc. In addition, the course also contains sessions in epidemiology, statistics, clinical trial study design, clinical research in the ICU, outcomes and comparative effectiveness along with scientific communication and grant writing. The lab course covers ethics in research, guideline methodology, and lab safety (Appendix 1).



Early introduction of first year clinical fellows to research faculty, research opportunities along with a 3-week intensive laboratory course promotes fellow matriculation in translational and basic research training, fostering interests in and abilities to succeed with an academic investigative career.


Last Reviewed: July 2016