A Competitive Mentored Research Program for Medical Students

The summer Medical Student Research Program (MSRP) is a competitive mentored research program provided to medical students. Students have the opportunity to work with basic science, clinical science, or health care research investigators.

Goals

Goals are:

  • To enhance students' research horizons, and
  • To help students develop scientific presentation and writing skills.

Timeline

  • Early November, contact three to five faculty members to find a project for the summer. 
  • December (Winter break) select the faculty mentor to work with during the summer after first year of medical school
  • Early January meet with faculty member to identify project and begin writing proposal
  • January 31, due date to submit research proposal including mentor’s NIH Biosketch – upload documents in the Canvas Course “MSRP 2017”
  • Selected students and mentors will receive offer letter by March 15
  • Start Date: May 15, 2017
  • Participation “Creative and Critical Thinking” course (one credit)
  • Attend two mandatory Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) courses and complete RCR online course.
  • End Date: July 28, 2017
  • Participate in Research Poster Symposium held at Deer Valley Resort, September 7, 2017

Responsibilities

Projects are 10 weeks in length and students are expected to work approximately 40 hours/week minus release time to attend designated weekly research seminars. Students whose projects are selected for support are paid a stipend from an NIH grant for their research activities. Students are expected to present a poster at an annual symposium at Deer Valley, which their mentors attend and support their trainees. Travel funds may be available for a limited number of students who wish to present their research findings at national meetings.

There is a monthly stipend paid for the 10 week program. Students are expected to work 40 hours/week. During the summer, students participate in a weekly course. They also attend seminars on research ethics and on topics related to their research. In the autumn, usually on a Thursday, we have a banquet at Deer Valley Resort. The students' sponsors are invited, and the students present posters on their work.

If a student's work is particularly meritorious, s/he will have the opportunity to present their research at either a national meeting or at the Western Clinical Research meeting held in February in Carmel, CA.

Projects

After a project has been selected, the student should discuss the proposed research with the faculty member. If both student and mentor agree on a project, the student should then write a research proposal for review by a committee that will evaluate them and give priority scores for funding purposes.

The criteria used by the committee are the same as those used at NIH study sections:

  • Does the project relate to research on (a) heart, lung or blood, (b) diabetes, metabolism or digestive or kidney diseases, (c) eye health or disease?
  • Does the project represent hypothesis-driven science?  Is there a clearly stated hypothesis and is there a test of the hypothesis?
  • Is there evidence that the student was involved in writing the proposal?  We realize that most of the proposals reflect projects generated by the ongoing studies in the mentors' laboratories, but we wish to see some evidence that the proposal reflects thought and effort on the part of the student and is not simply 'lifted' from a pre-existing grant.
  • Does the project offer a learning experience for the student?  We do not want the student to be considered a 'pair of hands' doing a limited number of repetitive tasks, but want them to be exposed to different techniques and have the opportunity to generate experimental protocols.
  • Is it feasible to accomplish, or at least initiate, a body of work in the allotted time frame?

This NIH-funded program currently funds 38-40 students from the University of Utah and 2-3 students from each of our partnering institutions, the University of Puerto Rico (URM) and the University of Nevada.

Note: All faculty must have IRB and/or IACUC approval before students can start work on any projects.

Janet Bassett
Program Manager
Email: janet.bassett@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-585-6408