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Student Research

Research and scholarly activity are central pillars of inquiry-driven medical student education and professional development at Feinberg. All medical students at NUFSM (except for MD/PhD and MD/MPH students, who complete alternative projects) complete an independent Area of Scholarly Concentration (AOSC) project, which provides a practical, closely mentored opportunity for scholarly skills development and often results in peer-reviewed publications. Complementing the AOSC curriculum and project, our competitive Research Intensive Scholarly Emphasis (RISE) program provides the opportunity for students (MD and MD/MPH) to spend an extra, funded year of mentored research during their training. Research projects for AOSC and RISE include a variety of fields and settings, including the laboratory, community, and clinic. We expect some AOSC projects will naturally results in a mentor/mentee relationship for RISE, while other RISE projects will be new--we encourage either pathway.

The purpose of this website is to orient current and prospective students, as well as their mentors, regarding logistics of AOSC and RISE, as well as to provide practical resources that assist students in conceptualizing and completing their research projects.

Area of Scholarly Concentration (AOSC)

The AOSC program at Feinberg is a pillar of the curriculum leading to the MD degree. Students perform a hypothesis-driven investigation in an individualized area of independent study within biomedical research or a medically-related field. Areas of investigation include clinical investigation, translational medicine, global health, community and family health, medical humanities and the medical social sciences. These investigations enhance students' abilities to identify and solve problems, encourage critical thinking, and provide an impetus for developing lasting mentored relationships with faculty members. Faculty mentors, research leadership, and Feinberg resources provide students with structured, individualized support, ensuring core skills are obtained but students retain the flexibility to pursue lines of scientific inquiry of greatest interest to them.

In order to meet the AOSC graduation requirement (1st author publication submission or thesis paper), all students are required to spend 4 weeks over the summer between their M1 and M2 years making progress on their AOSC projects.

Students have the opportunity to apply to the summer scholars program to receive funding for an additional 4 weeks of in-person research.

Learn more about AOSC Requirements

Research Intensive Scholarly Emphasis (RISE)

The RISE program provides an opportunity for students to apply for a fully funded extra year to perform research in a closely mentored environment overseen by experienced, productive faculty investigator-mentors. Applications, which are accepted in January, briefly outline the student’s proposed area of research and their long-term plans as a developing clinician-scientist; prior research accomplishment is not required to be competitive for RISE. Once accepted into RISE, students are provided with intensive assistance in preparing for their extra research year, whether or not they plan to apply for extramural awards (e.g., NIH, American Heart Association, AHA, or other agency). Students accepted into RISE have their research year fully funded, whether this comes from internal Feinberg or mentor funds or extramural funds for those who have extramural grant applications accepted.
Learn more about Rise