Resident | Physician Scientist

Jay F. Piccirillo, MD, Director, Physician
Scientist Program

Program Description
The Washington University Department of Otolaryngology T32 Physician Scientist Training Program provides a pathway directing medically trained individuals toward a successful research career in academic otolaryngology. Research experience and training are available at two levels. At the first level, medical students perform short (approximately 2 to 3-month duration) research projects designed to stimulate a general interest in research and a specific interest in otolaryngological research questions. An established mechanism to insure immediate access to all medical students interested in summer research is in place through the Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs. The selected research mentor and the Program Director manage training at this level. At the second level, two residents per year are selected into the 7-year Advanced Physician Scholars Program by a special residency match mechanism.  These residents perform mentored research, in a contiguous two-year period, free of clinical responsibilities. In addition, these residents also engage in didactic education and career development seminars.

The two-year block research period takes place after the PGY-2 year. It is expected that the research block will provide the individual with a "home laboratory" in which they will continue their investigations with emphasis on increasing their research and career development skills by competing for small grants for additional funding throughout their subsequent years of clinical training. For each scholar a two-member Trainee Advisory Panel is chosen; this panel assists the trainee in selecting a project and research mentor. Thereafter, the research mentor and Advisory Panel guide the trainee through the two years of specific hands-on research training and ongoing curriculum based upon grant writing, manuscript preparation, public speaking, and responsible conduct of research, with special emphasis on conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, data management, and data-sharing. Milestone time-lines and quality benchmarks are set for the trainees throughout their entire 7-year residency. Participation in basic discovery and clinical research seminars and conferences, the monthly Academic Career Development Conference, and the annual Resident Research Day presentations provide an additional "research culture" experience. Presentation, competition, and attendance at national research meetings are strongly encouraged and supported. Because research is a vital component of optimal patient care and physician- scientists are crucial, the specific aim of the program is to train individuals to compete successfully for NIH-sponsored research awards thereby encouraging a sustained and productive research career.

Funding for the 2-month medical student predoctoral research experience and the 2-year Research Fellowships are provided by grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) entitled “Development of Clinician/Researchers in Academic ENT”, 5T32DC000022.