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Research within the Department of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation.
Emily Sims, MD, works with a student in her lab


Conducting research is an important part of fellowship training. It allows the fellow to develop critical thinking skills that carry over into clinical practice. It also provides background that allows physicians to better interpret clinical, translational and basic science research papers that they will encounter throughout their careers.

Although some incoming fellows have a strong research background, most have only a small amount of experience. The program directors do not expect trainees to come to the program with a specific research question in mind. Early in their first year, fellows meet with the program directors to discuss their general interests and goals. An established timeline integrates clinical duties with the important task of identifying a research mentor and project. This positions fellows to hit the ground running as their first year winds down so that they can complete their research projects by the end of training.

Fellows in the pediatric endocrinology program have a history of strong research accomplishments. In the last 10 years, fellows have presented an average of 5.4 abstracts at national meetings and have published an average of 6.8 research papers, review articles or book chapters.

Research Education

The Morris Green Physician Scientist Development Program identifies and supports pediatric residents and fellows who want to develop careers as pediatric researchers, physician-scientists and future academic leaders. The program provides protected research time, a structured research curriculum, mentorship and research project funding.

Research Facilities

The internationally recognized Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research investigates the causes and mechanisms of pediatric disease and develops innovative approaches for diagnosis and treatment. Education of the next generation of basic and translational scientists is one of the core missions of the Wells Center, with faculty mentoring young physicians in grant writing, research planning, manuscript writing and presentation delivery.

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute is an NIH-funded program that provides research resources, including the Children’s Clinical Research Center contained within Riley Hospital and the Translational Research Laboratory. Additionally, the CTSI has a series of protocol development teams to help design high quality clinical research projects.

Timeline for Establishing Fellow Research Projects

Your time in fellowship will fly by! Even though it seems like three years is a long time, it is easy to get behind in the research portion of your training. It is critical to begin this early in your first year and not delay, thinking you have lots of time ahead of you. We have developed this timeline as a way to gauge your progress. If you find that you can get these things accomplished earlier than suggested, great! However, you should be careful not to fall behind, as it will be difficult to catch up.

Consider whether you are more interested in clinical or basic research. Each is acceptable and one is not preferred over the other. You learn valuable research principles and techniques by doing either.

Consider potential topics. You do not have to come up with your own research project, but you may have interests in some areas more than others.

Meet with potential research mentors.

There are a wealth of mentors available to you within the division, the Department of Pediatrics, the Department of Medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, or in other departments within the School of Medicine. Drs. Eugster, Fuqua and Gohil will help you select and meet some whom you might be interested in approaching. When you meet with a potential mentor, consider not only what sort of research projects they might have available but also how their personality will fit with yours.

Decide which mentor you would like to work with and meet again with him or her to develop a focused research project. Obtain references for background reading that will be helpful for you.

Begin background reading for your project. Start work on your project under the guidance of your mentor as time allows. For clinical projects, focus the research question into a testable hypothesis, develop a protocol, and obtain IRB approval for your project. IRB approval often takes months, so do this as early as possible. For basic research projects, begin attending the weekly lab meetings.

Meet with your scholarship oversight committee. It is a requirement for board certification that you have meetings twice yearly during your training. The purpose of this is to help guide your professional development and to ensure that you have a fruitful experience in your research training. The committee consists of your research mentor, a member of the division (not the program director) and one other person from outside the division. You can have additional members if you desire. This committee meets in the spring of your first year and every six months afterwards.

Your goal should be to have sufficient data to submit an abstract to the spring endocrine meetings at the end of your second year of fellowship. The deadline for these submissions is generally in December of your second year. Many fellows will have more than one abstract from their research by this time, and some may have presented abstracts at the end of their first year.