I was a participant in the UCSD clinical research training grant is summer 2008. Prior to medical school, I completed a PhD in bioengineering at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. During my graduate studies I acquired extensive experience in basic science research, but as a medical student I hoped to transition to clinical research. While on the training grant, I worked with Dr. Edmund Capparelli the head of the Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit. Dr. Capparelli taught me clinical pharmacology and the science behind pediatric HIV medications. I learned how to analyze data from clinical trials with multiple modeling techniques which allowed me to determine the success of a trial drug and how to determine if the dosing regimen was optimal. The funding provided by the grant allowed me to travel to Montreal, Quebec in February 2009 for the Conference for Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections where I presented my work. I also wrote a manuscript on this work which has been submitted for publication to Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. This program allowed me to broaden my research training to encompass clinical trials and pharmacology which will be essential in my future career as a physician scientist.
I was fortunate to receive an NIH Clinical Research Training Grant for support of a research project during the summer between my first and second year of medical school. My project focused on bone mineralization in children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a topic that had not been previously studied. Though I had done some clinical research in pediatric gastroenterology, this project was much more in-depth and complex than any I had worked on. Overall, the project was a great experience. I used the funds to support myself over the summer, and to purchase software for the project. It was much different working full-time under a grant than trying to find spare time outside of classes for research. It allowed me to learn how to complete a research project correctly and independently. I kept a lab notebook for the first time, collected all data, and was responsible for all collaborations with research assistants, statisticians, and fellows – a role I had not previously experienced. I was even able to submit my project for publication, and plan to submit the abstract for presentation at a major hepatology meeting. Receiving this grant and having these opportunities confirmed my interest in academic medicine, and provided the knowledge and confidence to complete a research project on my own in the future. I plan to continue research during residency and beyond, thanks to the positive experiences gained through this grant.