The research program, comprising 24 to 30 months of the three-year fellowship, will be developed in a personalized manner to suit the needs of the individual trainee. Fellows are counseled by the faculty on a one-to-one basis concerning career goals in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and the development of skills required to compete for academic positions.
Laboratory-based research may be conducted in the laboratories of the faculty in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, or in other laboratories within the School of Medicine, basic science Departments of the University, or affiliated research institutes. Over 400 faculty members in the School of Medicine alone are involved in laboratory or clinical research. UCSD is ranked among the top five universities in the nation in federal funding for research and development, and together with the adjacent Scripps Research Institute and Salk Institute, comprise one of the world’s great centers for cutting-edge biomedical investigation.
Introduction to experimental technology in a variety of laboratories will be offered during the first year. This allows each fellow to become familiar with ongoing projects and to develop potential research goals. Ultimately, a faculty research mentor will be identified and assume sponsorship of individual research training. The faculty mentor will provide guidance and critical evaluation of the fellow’s performance in formulation of hypotheses, design and execution of experiments, application of modern molecular technologies, analysis and interpretation of data, and scientific writing and presentation. In addition, the fellow will have regular opportunities to present his/her research at Divisional forums in order to receive feedback from other faculty members.
Research projects in clinical medicine, epidemiology, and clinical trials of anti-infectives are also welcome, and there are currently several ongoing protocols to assess treatment modalities of bacterial and viral diseases. Clinical projects focused on immunization delivery in the community are also available and provide an opportunity to interact with the SDSU Graduate School of Public Health and the San Diego County Department of Health. Fellows undertaking clinical projects will be expected to apply the same scientific rigor to their project as those working at the bench, and to become familiar in a hands-on manner with the basic science underpinnings of their research. Regardless of research emphasis, fellows will develop skills in the formulation of data for presentation in written and oral formats. The fellow will be expected to present their research at national meetings and have the opportunity to publish their findings in top-notch peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals.
Lastly, the faculty will also introduce the fellow to grant-writing skills essential to securing extramural funding. The fellow will be familiarized with funding mechanisms and opportunities at the NIH and other government agencies, with private or charitable foundations, and through partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. These skills and knowledge will serve as the basis for continuing research development in the future stages of his/her career in pediatric infectious diseases.