Opportunities abound for students interested in research. Although medical students are not required to conduct research, 98% do (and 100% participate in scholarly activity of some sort). Students are surrounded by exciting opportunities for learning and discovery. Washington University values research and facilitates research by medical students.
Research and the Gateway Curriculum
Whether you are a novice or an experienced student-investigator, there’s a place for you to join in the discovery process. There is time for research in the afternoons throughout Phase 1 (i.e., 5 to 10 hrs/week). Within the Gateway Curriculum’s EXPLORE component, a 4-week immersive experience during Phase 1 gives students the opportunity to examine their interests early in training. You can choose to have didactic instruction in research (clinical, translational, and/or basic science) and outline potential research. The Office of Medical Student Research & Scholarship will assist you in identifying a research mentor. The office is led by Associate Dean Koong-Nah Chung. Dr. Chung and Dr. Dorina Kallogjerr co-Lead EXPLORE’s Research Pathway.
If you are interested in further research, you also could participate in another immersive experience during Phase 2 (via a 16-week deferral of clerkships). Phase 3 provides opportunities to explore career interests through electives, extended study, and yearlong research and dual degree programs. The optional Yearlong Research Program (YRP) allows students to pause their MD curriculum to immerse themselves in research work with their mentor(s) for one year. YRP students can apply for a stipend for biomedical research projects. Funding sources include Dean’s fellowships, PI/departmental fellowships, NIH fellowships and private foundation fellowships.
The research environment
Research at Washington University is among the most extensive in the world. WashU climbed to third among U.S. medical schools in NIH research grant support in federal fiscal year 2022. Renowned and gifted faculty help students learn how discovery takes place and influence the way we practice medicine. Areas of investigation include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cancer; cancer therapy (also, see a summary of significant cancer research advances at Washington University)
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Developmental biology
- Genetic testing and genomics
- Infectious disease
- Microbiome; human microbiome
- Neuroscience, including brain mapping, autophagy therapeutics, and the metabolism of neurons. Read more about WashU’s new neuroscience facility that opens in the summer of 2023.
- Organ transplants
- Personalized medicine, including personalized cardiovascular medicine
- Women’s health; women’s health engineering; women’s health technologies; women’s infectious disease research
- You name it — many, many more. Search faculty research profiles at Washington University School of Medicine.
Making personalized medicine a reality
A spectrum of opportunities
Students may do as little or as much research as they like. Opportunities range from elective research programs to yearlong research opportunities (see above for description). Any of these research experiences may serve as stepping stones to more advanced levels of investigation and to graduate degree programs including master’s degrees (MPH; MPHS; MSCI; MBA; MS-BMI) and PhDs.