Mentored Research Experience

Through mentors identified during the applications’ process and engagement early in the program with mentors who are members of established omics- and pulmonary-based research teams, the Mentored Research Experience will provide practical training in methods (e.g., proteomics, genomics, metabolomics) useful for investigation of inflammatory airway diseases. During the summer and fall of the first year, each scholar will have opportunities to participate in educational immersion experiences with established omics- and pulmonary-based teams. With 1 mentor who can support training in quantitative methods and 1 mentor selected from one of the pulmonary or omics educational immersion teams, and with advice from the PD/PIs and Advisory Committee, each scholar will design a research project, write a detailed project description, and constitute a Scholarship Oversight Committee that will review this project no later than 31 January of the first year. If appropriate, the scholar will write a clinical protocol and human studies consent forms and will be guided by the mentor team through IRB approval.

The early establishment of a mentored research experience will integrate scholars’ didactic education through the CRTC with hands-on activities in research concerning inflammatory airway diseases and omics methods. They will learn to develop a research question, generate a hypothesis, devise an appropriate and feasible study design, obtain approvals from regulatory bodies, ensure the protection and safety of subjects through informed consent and data safety monitoring, understand and deal with ethical issues to conduct responsible omics research, and develop data collection and analysis strategies. For example, they will learn methods of data collection (e.g., electronic queries and use of preexisting datasets, merging data sets, data security), data analysis (e.g., univariate and multivariate analysis, correction for multiple comparisons), and biostatistics (power and sample size calculations, genotype-phenotype correlation, collapsing gene locus and pathway methods). Successful research also requires successful communication of results, and scholars will gain practical experience in formal and mentored scientific writing, presentation, and teaching. The efficiency of this critical learning will be enhanced by intensive interaction of each scholar with her/his mentors, reinforced by oversight from her/his Scholarship Oversight Committee, PD/PIs, and Advisory Committee.

Each trainee will be expected to give a formal overview of her/his mentored research project annually at the Omics of Inflammatory Airway Disease Conference and at the annual visit by one of the external members of the Advisory Committee