|Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine (T32)
| Medical Student Summer Research
| The purpose of the University of Pittsburgh Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine Medical Student Summer Research Program is to engage medical students from diverse backgrounds in personally rewarding experiences in sleep research and to promote careers in sleep research through close relationships with successful role models and enthusiastic peers.
The University of Pittsburgh Sleep Medicine Institute (UPSMI) offers two types of research experiences for medical students:
- A short term summer research experience at the end of the first or second year of medical school;
- A longer term involvement through the School of Medicine Scholarly Project
Summer Research: The goal of the summer research elective is to capture the interest of medical students early in the path of career choice and to create a positive research experience focused on sleep medicine. The summer program is a 10-12 week intensive experience that includes an individualized research experience under a sponsoring mentor, a structured didactic experience that is directly linked to student research projects, and opportunities to interact with potential role models and peers. This opportunity provides a modest stipend together with outstanding research experience and opportunities.
Scholarly Project: The aims of the Scholarly Project are to: 1) Foster analytical thinking skills and the development of tools for rational decision-making in future physicians; 2) Provide the role models, mentorship, and guidance for students regarding careers that integrate research, teaching, and clinical service; 3) Present research and scholarly biomedical pursuits to students as endeavors that often, but not always, involve collegial interaction; 4) Enhance the medical school culture of self-directed and peer group-fostered learning; and 5) Enhance the oral and written communicaiton skills of graduating medical students.
How to Apply
Interested students will be interviewed and selected by the Program Directors and appropriate Training Faculty. Criteria for selection will include: 1) Interest in working in the field of Sleep Medicine; 2) Interest (and preferably experience) in clinical or basic biomedical research; and 3) Willingness to commit to the full-time 10-12 week summer elective, to complete a project, and contribute to a peer-reviewed publication; or interest in completing a Scholarly Project in Sleep Medicine.
Medical students should contact the Program Directors, who will direct them to a potential faculty mentor based on their interests and experience. Medical students will then meet with the mentor to assess the match. Students will be selected to participate in a research project that has the potential to lead to a presentation and in many cases a publication. In addition, students will be exposed to clinical research, observing research assessments, sitting in on team meetings, and occasionally going on rounds or observing a consultation. In total, approximately 8 hours per week will be devoted to clinical observation to provide students with some clinical context for their experience. The Program Directors will meet with the group weekly to review progress, address questions about clinical experiences they have had during the week, and to discuss interdisciplinary research in Sleep Medicine.
Finding a Mentor
The training program includes 25 participating faculty representing three schools of the Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, and six departments and divisions within the School of Medicine. The faculty conduct a wide range of basic, clinical, and population-based research in sleep medicine. Active areas of investigation include:
Functional imaging of human sleep
Neurobiology, clinical assessment, and treatment of insomnia
Sleep, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular risk
Interaction of sleep and circadian rhythms
Endocrine and metabolic aspects of sleep and sleep apnea
Genetics of human circadian rhythms
Population-based studies of sleep and sleep apnea
Sleep, stress responses, and post-traumatic stress
Animal models of sleep apnea and intermittent hypoxia
Affect, cognition, and sleep deprivation
The project proposal, which constitutes the application, must contain the following required sections with the indicated headings:
1. Title: This includes the project title, student name, and name and affiliation of the mentor.
2. Purpose: A statement of the question being investigated.
3. Background: A brief summary of pertinent background information including selected literature citations.
4. Methodology: A description of the methods to be employed, materials to be utilized, and plan for data analysis.
5. Significance: A brief statement as to the expected significance of the study.
6. Role of student: Clearly state the student's roles and responsibilities in the project. If a student is to be incorporated into a large project already in progress, state how the student's role may overlap with, and be differentiated from, that of others on the project. While students are encouraged to continue the summer project as a long-term Scholarly Project, for this application, focus on what will be accomplished over the upcoming summer.
7. Ethical Approval: If working with human or animal subjects, IRB or IACUC evaluation of the project is likely required. It is not necessary to have agency approval at the time the SRP proposal is submitted, but you must specify your intentions and a timeline for seeking agency approval.
The proposal is limited to 2, single-spaced pages, including references but may be shorter. Use 12 point font and 1" margins on all sides.
Proposals that do not conform to the above instructions may not be considered for funding.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Program Director, Daniel J. Buysse, M.D., at (412) 246-6451 or via Email.
Project proposals will be evaluated by the Program Directors. Awards will be made competitively and acceptance notices will be emailed beginning the end of March. Awardees will be expected to prepare a poster of their work for the Student Research Presentation Symposium in October. Further information will follow upon acceptance.
Living in Pittsburgh
Summer Housing Options:
Affordable Summer Sublets
University of Pittsburgh Housing Resource Center
(Information and resources for off-campus options, sublets and roommate match-ups)
University of Pittsburgh Panther Central
(Information and resources for on-campus housing options)
University of Pittsburgh Library System
(unlimited resources in over a dozen libraries on campus and multiple other libraries at four branch campuses)
(time and map schedules for transportation in the greater Pittsburgh area)
T32 Summer Medical Student Program Brochure