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Basic Science Research Track

The Basic Science Research Track (BSRT) is an optional customized curriculum for degree candidates designed specifically for physician-scientists.  This track prepares individuals for careers as physician-scientists across a range of discovery sciences.  The curriculum includes coursework that prepares researchers to: perform rigorous basic science; manage, analyze, and present data; oversee a laboratory; and successfully compete for research funding.

The track requires eighteen (18) course credits of graded coursework and a research project for which eighteen (18) course credits are given.  Five (5) courses (241, 253, 275, 276, and 279) constitute twelve (12) course credits that are required for all BSRT candidates.  Students may choose from other offered courses for the remaining required six (6) course credits.   The first year includes ten (10) credit hours of required core courses. Trainees begin work on the required research project to provide a deep immersion in basic and laboratory research methods. The second year includes eight (8) credit hours of combined electives and a required course on scientific communications to lay the foundation for a successful career in basic research. The second year incorporates a successful defense of the research project. The courses in years one and two may be switched to accommodate the candidate’s schedule.

BSRT Curriculum Table

The Basic Science Research Project

The CRTP Basic Research Track Research Project provides a formal, structured, mentored environment in which students practice skills necessary for conducting basic research. Students work in their mentor’s research space on an individual research project chosen and designed by the student with guidance from their mentor.

Course directors will guide students in the selection of a research mentor and the development of a research committee, which will meet regularly with the student to guide the project.  Mentors will provide 1:1 guidance on the development and conduct of the research project over 18 credit hours. In addition to conducting research, students will engage in regular scientific communication about their project and those of fellow students.  This will include concept reviews, journal clubs, written abstracts, and a formal presentation. The end products are a manuscript and an oral presentation; both of which will be evaluated by an examining committee.

Course components:

  • Concept Reviews: Students will be guided through the process of developing, discussing, and refining their research plan through a facilitated review of their scientific concept.
  • 1:1 guidance: Course directors will meet with students to help them identify mentors and evaluation committee members in their area of interest. They will also provide guidance on research project planning.
  • Hands-on research: Each student will develop and complete their own research project under the guidance of an established principal investigator
  • Scientific communications: Throughout the course, students will present their work periodically.  They will practice verbal presentation, create written abstracts, and produce a written thesis.
  • Evaluation:  Students will engage an evaluation committee near the beginning of the course.  This committee will meet with students quarterly to evaluate progress toward goals and provide insight to aid in the success of the student’s research project.

“For the the Basic Science Research Project, basic and discovery research include a wide array of techniques and settings.  Students may choose projects that are based on traditional “wet-lab” methodologies such as cell-based assays, bioassays, protein chemistry, and -omics; animal models;  or “dry-lab” approaches such as computational biology and informatics; among others. Studies based entirely in animal models or in vitro systems are appropriate for students on the Basic Science Research Track."