Medical Student Research Opportunities

There are various research opportunities available to FAU medical students during the summer and throughout your four years of medical education.

Summer M1 Research Opportunities

We have organized the process into three platforms: fast track, specialty and external. Please contact Joanne Krasnoff, Ph.D., 561-297-1027, and Joanna Duran, 561-297-2219, with any questions.

Fast Track

An active project with regulatory approvals in place, relatively easy for students to participate. Application details are emailed to M1 students in January of each year. Select a fast track below to learn more:

Clinical Neurosciences Research Track

Faculty Oversight: Drs. Julie Pilitsis and Ilknur Telkes

Program Contact: Ilknur Telkes

Summer research opportunities available for FAU medical students interested in participating in research in the Neuromodulation field. The International Neuromodulation Society defines therapeutic neuromodulation as “the alteration —or modulation—of nerve activity by delivery of a stimulus, such as electrical stimulation or chemical agents, to specific neurological sites in the body.” Among many neuromodulation applications, our research group, who is highly interdisciplinary (e.g., neural engineering, neurosurgery, neuroscience) and collaborative, focuses on three neurostimulation therapies:  Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) for chronic pain; Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease) and neuropsychiatric conditions (e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder); Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation for chronic pain and Parkinson's Disease

Students are expected to participate in weekly lab meetings, present a poster on Research Day and to a national/regional conference.  Slots are available for up to 6 students. A full-time commitment of approximately 40 hours per week for 8 weeks is expected.
Database Research
Faculty Oversight & Program Contact: Dr. Michael DeDonno

Utilization of large-scale databases (e.g., NHANES, NSQIP, HCUP) for research. Students will learn how to search and identify a publicly available database for a research study. Based on existing database variables, students will learn how to perform a literature review, develop a quality research question, learn how to prepare and clean data, basic SPSS functionality, generate descriptive statistics, review analyzed data, and create abstract/poster. Students are expected to write an abstract and submit a poster to be presented at the FAU Medical Student Research Day. Beyond summer experience, students may have the opportunity to draft a manuscript for publication. Students must be self-motivated and able to work independently and remotely outside of weekly check-ins. Knowledge and experience using Microsoft Excel, comfortable working with reviewing, downloading, and working with datasets are also requirements. Recurring Zoom meetings throughout the summer.
Discovery & Translational Research Track

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Patrick Grant

Program Contact: Joanne Krasnoff, 561-297-1027

Summer research opportunities are available for FAU medical students interested in basic science and/or translational research experience on the Boca and Jupiter campuses. Students will be matched with a mentor, based on research interests. Students are expected to participate in journal club/lab meetings, give an oral presentation at the program end, and present a poster on Research Day. Slots are available for up to 6 students. A full-time commitment of approximately 40 hours per week for 8 weeks is expected. Students can explore the different areas of research on the COM website.

Dissemination and Implementation Science in Cancer Prevention

Faculty Oversight and Program Contact: Dr. Lea Sacca

Dissemination and Implementation Science (D&I) is a growing research field that seeks to inform how evidence-based interventions can be successfully adopted, implemented, and maintained in health care delivery and community settings. The following research track will provide mentorship on the development of scoping reviews and systematic reviews. Students will also be exposed to public databases for secondary data analysis. The primary goal is to develop scientific writing skills for peer-reviewed publications, assess the quality and rigor of the evidence provided by health promotion studies, and nurture critical thinking when it comes to the design of health promotion interventions for cancer prevention. Students are expected to work in groups of 2-4, attend weekly research meetings, present a poster at COM Research & Scholarship Day, and submit their research to a regional or national public health conference. Slots are available for up to 4 motivated, hard-working students who are genuinely interested in public health scholarship and prevention research. A full-time commitment of approximately 40 hours per week for 8 weeks is expected. 

Emergency Medicine Research Track

Faculty Oversight & Program Contact: Dr. Scott Alter

About Department of Emergency Medicine Research

FAU medical students interested in emergency medicine may participate in summer research with the emergency medicine faculty. The specific area of focus is in geriatric falls. Students will participate in all steps of the research process including: developing a research question based on existing datasets, performing a literature review, reviewing data analyses with faculty, and writing a manuscript. Students are expected to write an abstract and submit a poster to be presented at the FAU Medical Student Research Day, in addition to a regional or national emergency medicine conferences.  Students are expected to attend in-person emergency medicine didactic conferences and meet with their faculty mentor weekly on Tuesdays throughout the summer. Two students may be selected for this opportunity.
Epidemiology Research Track

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Charles H. Hennekens

Program Contact: Joanne Krasnoff, 561-297-1027

We will provide mentorship to FAU COM students, residents, fellows, and faculty in scholarship and descriptive epidemiologic research utilizing existing databases. Our primary goal is to nurture critical thinking. In scholarship, this includes reviews of the medical literature and hypothesis formulation.  In descriptive epidemiological research, this will, in addition, including data analyses. We can offer 2 slots for highly self-motivated, hard-working students genuinely interested in epidemiology scholarship and research. Students are expected to present a poster on Research Day.

Fit2Drive, In-Vehicle Sensors to Detect Cognitive Changes in Older Drivers

Faculty Oversight: Drs. Ruth Tappen and Janet Robishaw

Program Contact: Joanne Krasnoff, 561-297-1027

Students will work on a National Institute on Aging (NIA) funded research study.   The project involves testing the ability of sophisticated unobtrusive, in-vehicle sensors including video cameras and telemetrics to detect cognitive change; developing algorithms that are able to translate the sensor data into driving behavior indicators that are gender-, age- and vehicle-specific; and evaluating the acceptability of the installed systems to drivers ages 65 and older. Participant recruitment, installation of vehicle sensors and testing sessions have commenced at the Clinical Research Unit on the FAU Boca campus and on the Davie campus.  Students will gain experience in conducting a literature review, regulatory process, informed consent, database development, database entry, data collection (participant study visits), data analysis and scientific writing. Students are expected to attend study team meetings, present a poster on Research Day and submit their research to a regional or national conference.  Slots are available for up to 3 students.  A full-time commitment of approximately 40 hours per week for 8 weeks is expected.

Geriatrics Research Track

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Joseph Ouslander

Program Contact: Dr. Gabriella Engstrom, 561-297-3188

Summer opportunities are available for FAU medical students interested in participating in research in the areas of geriatric medicine and gerontology. Potential projects are outlined and the students are guided to formulate research questions. Students are expected to attend group meetings, present a poster on Research Day and submit their research to a regional or national conference. Slots are available for up to 4 students. A half-time commitment (approx. 20 hrs per week) for approximately 8 weeks is expected.

Integrative Health Track

Faculty Oversight:  Dr. Branson Collins, Director, The Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at FAU Medicine

Program Contact: Joanne Krasnoff, 561-297-1027

Integrative healthcare involves the use of both conventional and complementary therapies with a holistic, patient-centered approach. Opportunities available for FAU medical students at outside institutions to participate in various Integrative Health projects. Students are expected present a poster on Research Day and to a national/regional conference.  A full-time commitment of approximately 40 hours per week for 8 weeks is expected.

Medical Education Research, Scholarship, and Evaluation (MESRE)
Faculty Leader and Program Contact: Dr. Adam Wyatt

MESRE covers a broad array of studies on the various pedagogical and/or socio-political, economic, and cultural determinants that affects educational outcomes across the UME, GME and CME continuum. Assignment to ongoing projects will be based on student interest.  Students are expected to attend group meetings, present a poster at Research Day, and submit their research to a regional or national conference.
Medical Genetics and Genomics Track

Faculty Oversight: Dr. Janet Robishaw

Contact: Joanne Krasnoff, 561-297-1027

Advances in medical genetics, molecular biology, and biomedical technology have applications to the treatment of disease, determination of disease risk, use of pharmacologic agents, reproductive counseling and interpretation of clinical laboratory data. In addition, ethical and public policy concerns related to the application of these technologies to promote health and wellness have emerged. Students will build upon the foundation of basic genetic principles provided in the first-year curriculum with additional educational and research experiences; Develop an appreciation for the nuances inherent in performing & interpreting clinical diagnostic analyses in genetics and genomics;  Enhance an awareness of the ethical and social concerns faced by patients and families affected with genetic disorders;  Experience direct-to-consumer genetics testing; Network and discuss various topics and career paths in medical genetics; author a research or other scholarly work as a poster, presentation or publication.

Specialty Track

These are typically opportunities mentored by FAU hospital based faculty or affiliate faculty. Details are provided to M1 students in December of each year. No formal application process. Students need to follow all training and regulatory requirements from the institution at which they are participating in research.

External Track

Other projects conducted at external academic sites or hospitals. Students need to follow all training and regulatory requirements from the institution at which they are participating in research. COM will share external opportunities with the students as we hear about them.

Four Year Research Opportunities

Research Distinction Track (RDT)

The Research Distinction Track (RDT) is a parallel curriculum and enrichment program directed toward medical students who elect to make a sustained commitment to research including education and mentored research. Students must participate in a research program over their four years of medical school and meet program benchmarks for high achievement in research by demonstrating substantial independent responsibility for the formulation of a hypothesis, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of one or more mentored research projects.

Additional Information
The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine offers students a variety of educational programs and degrees.
Address
Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road, BC-71
Boca Raton, FL 33431
(561) 297-4828