Research Training

Research training in the PCCM fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC takes place primarily over the latter 18-30 months of the program. Fellows are expected to develop a targeted research project in collaboration with his/her mentor, complete a grant writing workshop and submit an NRSA grant application, present research findings both locally and at national scientific meetings, and generate at least one first author manuscript. Throughout the process, fellows learn how to prepare and submit relevant regulatory documents including Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and/or Investigational New Drug/Device (IND) applications.  All fellows complete courses in basic laboratory techniques and academic survival skills, as well as required training geared toward responsible conduct of research. Building on early success, most research fellows progress to additional publications and submission of a mentored career development award (NIH K-series or equivalent). 

KEVEN ROBINSON, MD
RESEARCH TRAINING

CORINNE KLIMENT, MD, PHD
JUNIIOR FACULTY & MENTORSHIP

TOMEKA SUBER, MD, PHD
B & T RESEARCH TRAINING

Research Support Structure

Research in the Division spans the continuum of basic, translational, and clinical research across all disciplines of pulmonary and critical care medicine.

FARAAZ SHAH, MD | CLINICAL TRIALS JOHN SEMBRAT, MS | EX VIVO LUNG
   
IAN BARBASH, MD
HEALTH SERVICES TRACK
JARED CHIARCHIARO, MD
MEDICAL EDUCATOR TRACK

 

Training Grant Structure

Research training is supported by three Institutional (T32) Training Grants (Pulmonary Biology and Medicine, Pulmonary Vascular Biology, and Sleep Medicine) which provide up to three years of salary support for selected fellows.  Fellows submit individual NRSA (F32) grant applications in the fall of the third year of training.  In addition, funding for one research fellow is available through the Veterans Administration.

Mentor Selection

Mentor selection is a key to successful research training. The selection process begins with a three day retreat in February of the first year where fellows briefly present themselves and their interests to the faculty, receive career advice from successful faculty at various career stages, learn about available project opportunities from viable mentors, and socialize with faculty outside of the work environment.  Following the retreat, fellows meet individually with the program directors to discuss interests and schedule interviews with prospective mentors to begin to narrow down the best fit of both project and personality.

  ELEANOR VALENZI, MD | RESEARCH RETREAT  
   
Public Presentation
Research in Progress

The primary conference venue for research fellows is the weekly Research in Progress which features two 20-25 minute presentations, allowing 5-10 minutes for questions and discussion.  Fellows gain experience with scientific presentation and strategies to handle difficult questions from an expert audience.

National or International Meetings

Fellows are expected to submit abstracts and present his/her work at national or international scientific venues such as  the International Meeting of the American Thoracic Society.  In addition, fellows are encouraged to present research at the annual Pittsburgh International Lung Conference and the annual Department of Medicine Research Day.

Formal Coursework
  JANET LEE, MD, MS | BENCH RESEARCH COURSE  
   
 
Fundamentals of Bench Research

An intensive two-week training program designed to teach fellows-in-training and future physician-scientists the core principles of scientific investigation.  The course is organized such that fellows learn the theory behind common as well as new and innovative research techniques.

Grant-Writing Workshop

Fellows participate in a formal grant writing workshop to prepare for a range of career development awards offered through different funding agencies.  Fellows meet monthly with a group of peers and faculty to discuss aspects of grant-writing strategy and to critique individual components of their own and their peers’ grant .Exposure of the fellows to each other’s projects in a supportive and nurturing environment produces rapid acquisition of grant-writing skills and contributes to the high success rates of our fellows with career development awards.

Academic Survival Skills Workshop

A series of interactive seminar topics specifically designed as career development activities for academic physicians and scientists.  Example topics include: mentor/mentee relationship, CVs and promotion, and working with teams. The objective of the series is to expose future academic leaders to the essential skills of academic life in an informal interactive environment.

Degree Programs

Formal educational programs are available to T32-sponsored fellows.  The Institute for Clinical Research Education (http://www.icre.pitt.edu/) offers Certificate, Master, or Doctoral training in clinical or translational research.  Master level training in Epidemiology or Public Health is available through the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and business education is available through the University of Pittsburgh or neighboring Carnegie Mellon University. Other degrees are available and can be tailored to the fellow’s research goals

K-to-R Workshops

Recognizing that research training does not end with the submission of a career development award at the end of fellowship, the Division conducts individualized workshops with junior faculty to facilitate the successful transition to independent R-level funding.  The detailed feedback and constructive criticism from senior researchers in the Division increases the competitiveness of grants when reviewed by NIH study sections.

Additional Training Opportunities
Rotations at the NIH, FDA, and Industry

A unique aspect of our translational training is the incorporation of a full-time four-week elective rotation at the FDA, intramural NIH Clinical Center Regulatory and Pharmacy Development Program, or in industry.  This intensive exposure allows the trainee to develop the elemental and regulatory tools for translational research that are commonly not available in the traditional university academic setting.

Review and Evaluation

Throughout the research years, formal review of progress occurs at six-month intervals to ensure that the appropriate goals are being met. Providing a pathway for fellows to be stimulated and achieve success, the semi-annual reviews are conducted by the Division Chief, Fellowship Research Committee, and Mentors.  Additional career planning consultation and strategizing takes place in this venue as the fellow further refines his/her career preferences.

Division of PACCM
Academic Offices

NW 628 UPMC Montefiore
3459 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-692-2210

Patient Care and Referral

Comprehensive Lung Center (CLC)
Falk Medical Building, 4th Floor
3601 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-648-6161