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Research Training

As a fellow, you will receive in-depth clinical, translational, and basic research training.

Our rheumatology fellowship training program places a high priority on clinical, translational, and basic research in the rheumatic and immunologic diseases to prepare our fellows as independent investigators in academic research, either in the laboratory and/or in the clinic.

For successful completion of the fellowship, you are required to participate in basic, translational, or clinical scholarly activity under the supervision of a faculty member(s). Research within the Section of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology encompasses basic, translational, and clinical investigation, with provision of training in these areas. During the first year of training, you will meet with rheumatology research leadership to discuss your research interests and to develop a plan for research education and project completion suited to your career goals.

As a fellow, you can learn from core program faculty who are devoted to studying the fundamental immunologic and pathological mechanisms of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, whereas the focus of the latter is upon acquisition of skills needed for development of rigorous studies involving topics in patient-oriented investigation and corresponding research methods.

Research Mentors for Translational and Laboratory Investigation

Research Mentors for Patient-Focused Studies

Other Research Opportunities

Additional research mentors for trainees interested in laboratory and translational investigation include faculty in the Department of Immunobiology and in its program in Human Translational Immunology, a novel initiative designed to bring basic laboratory advances to the bedside.

As a fellow, if you focus in laboratory and translational investigation, you can be mentored by faculty in any of the multiple clinical or basic science departments and programs across Yale School of Medicine, depending on your interest and identification of an appropriate mentor. Faculty in the Section of Rheumatology will aid you to choose an appropriate research training environment and mentor, as well as provide training support.

If you are interested in patient-focused investigation, you may also elect to work with a variety of mentors in the clinical sciences at Yale, including through:

Goals of Rheumatology Research Training

A central goal of Yale’s rheumatology fellowship is to provide training in scholarship through lectures, conferences, and mentored research. You will learn the epidemiology, pathobiology, and mechanism of action of the treatments used for rheumatic diseases, as well as develop an understanding of the modern molecular assays applied in mechanistic studies.

While the first year of training is primarily focused on clinical training, you will become acquainted with many of the faculty research programs. By the end of the first year, you will identify a research mentor and an original research project. Extensive guidance is provided during the first year to help focus research interests.

Didactic Coursework

All academic fellows on the academic track are advised to take the following courses in the summer between the first year and start of second year:

  • Introduction to Biostatistics in Clinical Investigation (IMED 645)
  • Principles of Clinical Research (IMED 625)
  • Ethical Issues in Biomedical Research (IMED 630)

These short two-week courses (IMED 645 and IMED 625) and term-long weekly course (IMED 630) are designed to provide you with fundamentals of statistical analysis (e.g., analysis of clinical and research studies, and/or performance of same), tools for clinical investigation and robust clinical care, and fundamentals of ethics in clinical care and clinical investigation. Completion of these courses can also be used in part for completion of the MHS degree from Yale School of Medicine, with the latter also requiring completion of in-depth clinical investigation over one year.

Additional coursework can be pursued in clinical trial design, clinical research methods, and/or additional epidemiology and biostatistics courses through Yale School of Public Health. Formal training in quantitative clinical epidemiology and clinical decision-making are also available.

If you are interested in laboratory research, you will also take coursework required for clinical research trainees, but may also take basic science courses, including immunobiology, biology, cell biology, and/or molecular biophysics and biochemistry, depending on your research interest.

Didactic Research Activities

Having dedicated research months during the first and second years of training allows you to complete independent research projects while acquiring the skills necessary for a career focused on scholarship in rheumatology. For fellows planning investigative careers, you will generally spend an additional 1-3 years in research training, and obtain the necessary expertise within a specific discipline to sustain growth as an independent investigator, including skills in scientific communication and grant writing.

You will be expected to give a presentation in at least one national conference during your fellowship. You will work closely with a faculty member(s) and mentorship team for oversight and guidance.

You may acquire additional advanced degrees as part of your training, including a masters in Epidemiology and Public Health (or its related disciplines, including biostatistics and chronic disease epidemiology).

Finally, for fellows with a MD degree, you may wish to pursue a PhD through the Investigative Medicine Program. This program encompasses both classroom and laboratory training to develop physician-scientists in either the laboratory sciences or in patient-oriented research. These candidates will receive appropriate financial support for tuition and salary and can choose from a variety of potential mentors in the clinical and basic sciences at Yale School of Medicine.