Medical Student Research Programs at UVA

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Medical Student Research Programs at UVA

Summary and quick links:

Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) for 2016
2016 MSSRP proposed projects (web page to be populated as faculty propose projects)
2016 On-line Preceptor Form
2016 On-line Student Form

MSSRP projects via the Center for Global Health
MSSRP medical education projects via the Brodie Medical Education Fund
Contact information

Medical Student Extended Research Program

Other medical student research programs

Medical Student Summer Research Program 2016

Slide presentation on 2015 MSSRP

The Dean's Office will solicit projects from faculty at the start of the new year.  Students should consult the list of proposed MSSRP projects beginning early in 2016 or contact faculty sponsors directly to discuss a specific project in detail.  Students also may approach faculty directly to develop a research project that has not been posted, to be performed under the MSSRP.

The MSSRP provides a summer research opportunity that is open to rising second-year UVA medical students only.  This seven-week, extra-curricular research experience is an important element of a well-rounded medical education.  A wide range of research experiences is available, covering essentially all departments within the medical school.  As many as 91 students have participated in this program annually, gaining important exposure to the excitement, rewards, trials, and tribulations of biomedical research.  Students will receive UVA salaries for the program.  Funding is provided by a combination of faculty grants, departmental funds, individual student awards, and Dean's Office funds. The MSSRP has several components:

  • Participation in a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.  The research experience is often tailored to the student's interests and abilities, and can include laboratory, clinical, epidemiological, or theoretical projects.  The program provides an opportunity for students to become immersed in a research project to which they can contribute actively.
  • Presentation of one's project in informal breakfast meetings attended by other students and the program director.  These sessions, held in June and July, allow students to discuss their research project with their peers.
  • Attendance at departmental lectures and workshops over the course of the summer, as required by the preceptor.
  • Required attendance at a one-hour session on Responsible Conduct of Research, which is offered on two dates during the summer.
  • Submission of a final project report.  The written report stimulates students to formulate their thoughts and bring the work to completion.

MSSRP participants (and all other medical students) and SOM faculty are invited to attend and participate in the fall symposium.

On-line forms for faculty projects and student participants are available at the top of this page.  Student forms should be submitted only when student and mentor have agreed on a "match."


MSSRP projects via the Center for Global Health. The UVA Center for Global Health has established the CGH/MSSRP Scholar Awards to encourage UVa students to design and carry out interdisciplinary research projects related to global health.  Health is a universal value, and defined broadly.  Environmental health, economic health, mental health and health of communities are all issues which can be approached from a broad range of disciplines including politics, biology, economics or foreign affairs.

The CGH/MSSRP Award is open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students in all departments across grounds at the University.  Prospective scholars are encouraged to work with UVa faculty within established research collaborations or ongoing faculty research; building on the work of a previous scholar is also encouraged.  CGH/MSSRP Awards provide up to $5,000 to cover student travel, living, and project expenses.  Scholars can work with one or more UVa faculty mentors as well as a mentor from the international host site.  A letter of support for the project is requested from one UVa faculty mentor and the on site/host country mentor. Mentor support in the amount of $1000 is provided for a UVa faculty mentor.  Follow this link for the CGH/MSSRP Award application form.

MSSRP projects in medical education research via the Anne L. Brodie Medical Education Fund. The Brodie Medical Education Fund established the Brodie Student Scholar Award to encourage students to consider a medical education research project consistent with Mrs. Brodie’s endowment wishes. These are to support clinical education innovations on behalf of both general and generalist medical education activities. This award is open to medical students during their preclerkship education under the mentorship of a generalist faculty member in Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine or Obstetrics/Gynecology. Potential areas of interest include curriculum innovations, workplace learning projects, or position papers focused upon areas of special concern to general and generalist clinical education locally or nationally. Brodie Awards provide financial support to cover student project costs, living and related travel expenses. A letter of support for the student’s project from their faculty mentor is required in the application process. Further information on the program and how to apply.

MSSRP Calendar

  • Projects must be conducted between June 1 and July 29, inclusive.
  • January through April:  Projects are posted here.
  • Late April:  Student Agreement Form due back to the Office for Research (McKim 3026).
  • June:  Required lecture on responsible conduct of research (students must attend one of these identical presentations; students with overseas projects are exempt from this requirement)
  • June and July (dates to be determined):  Informal breakfast talks (students must present at one session; students with overseas projects are exempt from this requirement).
  • September 30:  Final project report due.
  • Early November:  Fall Research Symposium.


Program contacts

MSSRP director:
Steven S. Wasserman, PhD
Assistant Dean for Research
McKim 3027

Program coordinator (primary contact):
Joyce Fortune
Office for Research
McKim 3026

Medical Student Extended Research Program

The objective of this program is to provide an opportunity for medical students to participate in either a short-term or a sustained research program during their medical school training.  The subject area may include, but shall not be limited to classical biomedical investigation such as biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, etc.  Alternatively, work in the humanities on a medically related topic, medical ethics, health care delivery, medical economics or medico-legal issues is appropriate for this program.

  • Option 1 (Short-term Program): This program is intended to incorporate and define in greater detail the current seven week research opportunity for medical students which is available during the summer following Year I.  The Short-term Program provides the opportunity to extend the seven-week project into free time in Years II and III and elective periods in Year IV.  For any of these alternatives, students will select a faculty mentor who is knowledgeable and experienced in providing guidance to students with limited research experience and a limited time frame.  No thesis committee or prior proposal is required for this activity. Credit for up to three months of elective time spent on the project in Year IV will be awarded, subject to approval by the Electives Committee.  The submission of an acceptable report to the Office for Research is required.
  • Option 2 (Year-Long Program): This program provides an extended and intensive research experience to interested students.  The project may represent continuation of a project carried out during summer research following Year I, but can be initiated formally only after completion of Year II.  The work will involve an additional research year which can be taken after Year II or III, or under exceptional circumstances, Year IV.  The student must identify a mentor and jointly with that mentor, select a research supervisory committee consisting of two additional faculty:  one from a basic science department and one from a clinical department.  The student will prepare a brief (1-2 page) research proposal reflecting the hypothesis for the project, the methods to be employed, and a time schedule.  This proposed plan must be approved by the committee, which will meet every 3-4 months to provide oversight of the work for the entire project period.  A report in the format of a scientific paper must be submitted to the committee and the Office for Research by 31 January of the year of anticipated graduation.  The student must make an oral presentation of his/her research to the committee or, preferably, as part of a departmental seminar program.  The committee must approve the successful completion of all requirements by 31 March.  Recognition for this extended research will appear on the student's transcript as "Distinction in Research" and an additional certificate will be awarded at graduation. Certain external programs, such as those funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute or the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation may substitute for the internal, year-long program.  Please contact the Office for Research in advance for approval of such a program.

Note: Students participating in the year-long program, after completion of their third year, may apply for up to three months of elective credit through the Electives Committee.  However, they may not receive stipends/wages for the work performed during those three months.

Other medical student research opportunities

NIH Clinical Electives Program (CEP) for Medical and Dental Students (for third- and fourth-year students).  This program is a unique opportunity for senior medical and dental students to gain invaluable experience in the medical field and obtain graduation credit.  The CEP offers four to 12-week clinical elective rotations to both national and international senior medical or dental students in a multitude of medical disciplines at the NIH Clinical Center. Students can choose from a total of 33 clinical electives.  Rotations provide students with the opportunity for direct experience in the care of patients enrolled in investigational protocols under the mentorship of world renowned clinician-scientists.  Participants also learn about the design and conduct of clinical trials and fundamental principles of translational medicine while evaluating or treating patients in the clinic or on the wards.  In addition, the program offers a number of opportunities for students who are interested in research-only rotations.

To be eligible for most electives, a student must have completed clerkships in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Surgery (or have verification of a passing grade in the case of pending clerkships).  Questions regarding the program are answered on the CEP website under “FAQs.”