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Crisma Critical Care Research Fellowship

The CRISMA research fellowship is intended to provide highly qualified applicants with the formative experience necessary to become leaders in critical care research. Applications from investigators interested in basic, clinical and translational critical care research are all encouraged and accepted. The length and structure of the program is flexible, as the educational and training needs of fellows will vary depending on their backgrounds and research interests. In conjunction with their mentor and the program committee each fellow will develop an individualized curriculum. However certain educational components considered universally important to successful independent research are mandatory for all fellows, including formal instruction through the department and its affiliates in manuscript preparation, grant-writing, and oral presentation.

The program is open to applicants with an MD, PhD or equivalent degree. For applicants interested in a combined clinical and research program, please see the international fellowship in critical care and research, which provides clinical training through the department’s Multidisciplinary Critical Care Training Program and research training in conjunction with the CRISMA translational research fellowship.

The duration of the fellowship is flexible, but in general the recommended minimum is 2 years. Certain candidates with extensive previous training may be able to conduct a focused project and educational program in 1 year, and are eligible for admission if they can provide sufficient evidence of this qualification, but for the majority of early-stage investigators this might result in an unfinished project and incomplete education.

1)     CRISMA Research Fellowships – Research Opportunities

 We are a translational research group, and fellows have a wide array of project opportunities including basic research, local and multicenter clinical trials, in silico modeling, outcomes and effectiveness analysis, and many others. Prospective fellows are encouraged to review our faculty biosketches/research interests. Candidates accepted into the program will first identify a mentor, and then design a feasible research project based on their goals and interests for submission to the program committee.  Fellows can and are encouraged to identify and interview potential mentors and begin to develop their primary project prior to their arrival, as this may facilitate a smooth transition and minimize the amount of time waiting for regulatory approvals. However, this is by no means mandatory and many fellows will find a mentor and a project after starting the program.  More important is finding a compatible mentor, and a project that the fellow finds interesting and fits into their career goals.

2)     CRISMA Research Fellowships – Education

The overall goal of the CRISMA research fellowship is to equip the next generation of Critical Care researchers with the tools to achieve independent success, and education in the classroom setting is considered an important part of this process. Since academic backgrounds and educational needs vary formal didactics are not mandatory, but prospective fellows must submit an educational plan as part of their application. For fellows that do elect to take coursework through the University of Pittsburgh, there are a dizzying array of options in the University, the School of Medicine, and 14 other graduate and professional schools. Though exploration of these course offerings is highly encouraged, since we are a clinical and translational research group our previous fellows have generally taken one of the following three pathways.

  1. Enrollment in the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), which provides traditional coursework in epidemiology, biostatistics and clinical research design. This school also offers immunology/microbiology didactics in the associated Division of Infectious Disease graduate program. If desired, coursework in the GSPH can lead to a Masters in Public Health degree (over 12-24 months), and many previous fellows have followed this pathway.
  2. A somewhat more recently available option is coursework through the Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) of the Institute for Clinical Research Education. This training program is geared towards clinical fellows and junior faculty starting careers in clinical and translational research.  Basic biostatistics and research design are covered in an intensive 2-month summer session, and students have the option of pursuing advanced training in multivariate statistical techniques, grant-writing, fundamental bench research techniques, outcomes and effectiveness research, and conduct and analysis of clinical trials. This program can lead to a Certificate (with the summer program and 5 additional credit hours) or a Masters degree (requiring 30 credit hours over 12-24 months).
  3. Selected courses as a non-degree student in one of the above programs or in the School of Medicine’s Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program. This comprises graduate programs in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology, Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Computational Biology, Immunology, Molecular Biophysics, Molecular Pharmacology, Molecular Virology and Microbiology, and Neurobiology.

Both the GSPH and CRTP allow courses to be taken for credit at any school or department in the University, provided it is in alignment with the fellow’s overall educational plan.