Medical Student Research Programs at UVA
Summary and quick links:
Medical Student Summer Research Program
(MSSRP) for 2013
2014 MSSRP proposed projects (web page to be populated in as faculty propose projects)
MSSRP projects via the Center for Global Health
Medical Student Extended Research Program
Other medical student research programs
Students should consult the list of proposed MSSRP projects beginning early in 2013 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 to rising second-year UVA medical students. 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 seventy-six students participate 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 are held starting in July and 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. One student will be chosen each summer as the recipient of the MSSRP Award (a cash prize) based on the quality of the submitted paper.
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.
Projects must be conducted between June 3 and July 31, inclusive.
January through April: Projects posted here.
Late April: Student Agreement Form due back to the Office for Research (McKim 3026).
June 25, July 11: 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 through July: Informal breakfast talks (students must present at one session; students with overseas projects are exempt from this requirement).
September 27: Final project report due.
Last week in October: Fall Symposium.
Steven S. Wasserman, PhD
Assistant Dean for Research
Program coordinator (primary contact):
Office for Research
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 programs. The AAMC maintains a list of currently active summer and longer-term research opportunities at https://www.aamc.org/students/medstudents/cim/clinicalandresearchopportunities/. Select "Show all" on that page to access the complete list.