TCOM Student Research


Summer Programs

The Institute for Translational Research (ITR) Summer Fellowship Program

The Institute for Translational Research (ITR) will be accepting applications for its Summer Fellowship Program; the overall goal of this program is to provide enriching experiences within ITR where fellows will gain an appreciation for the inner workings of large-scale interdisciplinary research studies. The 5-week fellowship training program includes (1) didactic sessions, (2) ITR shadowing/rotations, and (3) mentored independent research. Didactic sessions and rotations will take place over a 5-week in-person term. During this period, fellows will attend small-group seminars where they will receive training on current topics in Alzheimer’s disease, the various aspects of research study design, and the fundamentals of scientific writing and presentations. Further, fellows will shadow key study protocols, working with faculty and staff in the following areas: medical/functional exams, neuropsychological testing, consensus diagnosis, biological sampling, biomarker assays, genetic testing, and neuroimaging. Each fellow will be assigned a mentor and project; they will work with their mentor to execute the research project and develop a poster presentation (for HSC Research Appreciation Day as well as other state symposia for Alzheimer’s disease) of the findings/results. When possible and warranted, fellows will also assist with manuscript preparation for publication.

Learn more about the ITR Summer Fellowship Program.

Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR)

Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program for TCOM students administered by the Center for Healthy Aging (CHA) at UNTHSC. This is a paid summer research opportunity with a $1000/month stipend. The MSTAR-CHA program will provide TCOM students (who will have completed Year-I) an educational experience in geriatrics clinics and aging-related research, under the guidance of top experts in geriatrics and aging. The students will participate in Clinical shadowing in geriatrics that will be counted towards the TCOM Year-II preceptor requirement. The students will be introduced to research and academic experiences early in their training that they might not otherwise have during medical school. This is 6-week structured research, clinical preceptor in geriatrics, appropriate to their level of training and interests. Research projects are offered in clinical/basic/ translational or health services research relevant to older people. The scholars will do their training and research during the summer. The students will compete for a total of 6 awards.

Learn more about the MSTAR program. 

Pediatric Research Program (PRP)

A summer research program in pediatrics is available to promising, second-year medical students in conjunction with the Department of Pediatrics and Cook Children’s Medical Center. This four-week program provides an introductory learning experience on a wide range of pediatric-related research projects. Students participating in this program may qualify for stipends. Learn more about the Pediatric Research Program

The Pediatric Research Program is now closed to applications.

PRECISION Clinical Research Fellowship Program

The PRECISION Pain Research Registry offers a Clinical Research Fellowship Program for students beginning in the Summer following Year 1. The Summer Didactic component is presented in June, wherein fellows participate in general and small-group sessions on clinical research design and evidence-based medicine as they pertain to chronic pain and its management. They learn about various aspects of registry operations, including participant screening and recruitment, data collection, biospecimens collection and handling, institutional review board documentation, and strategic planning. Each fellow is assigned to a research team under the supervision of the Program Director to complete a research project during the following Fall and Spring semesters. Anticipated program benefits include a stipend for participation in the Summer Didactic component; complimentary textbook and materials; paid poster presentation at Research Appreciation Day; co-authorship upon publication of the team research project; and fellowship certificate at graduation upon completing research and all related requirements. The deadline to complete the online application is in January of Year 1, and competitive applicants are invited for an interview and selected by February. Please forward inquiries to the Program Director:

For more information, please contact:

John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA, FACPM
Regents Professor and Richards-Cohen Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research, Department of Family Medicine


Research Opportunities

Dual-Degree Programs

For TCOM students interested in a more rigorous research experience dual-degree programs in partnership with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences or the School of Public Health are available that lead to a DO/Ph.D., DO/MS, or DO/MPH upon completion.

Institute for Translational Research - Health & Aging Brain Study-Health Disparities Database

The Institute for Translational Research offers the Health & Aging Brain Study – Health Disparities (HABS-HD) database for use by the scientific community, including TCOM students, residents, and faculty for abstracts, posters, and publications. There is an amazing amount of data from over 2,000 participants covering a broad range of topics. While the focus of the study is health disparities in Alzheimer’s disease, there is an exceptionally broad amount of data available.

Examples of the procedures and data collected in the HABS-HD Database:

  • Interviews
  • Functional exam (e.g. walk test)
  • Blood draw and storage of samples
  • Testing of memory and thinking
  • Brain imaging (e.g. MRI, PET [Amyloid, Tau])
  • Clinical laboratory blood work
  • Sociocultural information
  • Genomics
  • Proteomics

To begin a project using the HABS-HD database:

  1. Any student or trainee must have a faculty mentor.
  2. The faculty mentor must request data from the Institute of Translational Research: go to the ITR’s webpage, click on the “Request Data” button at the top right of the webpage, create an account, and complete an application.

Here is the link to the webpage for the Institute for Translational Research (

Any questions about the Institute of Translational Research and the HABS-HD Database, please contact Dr. Melissa Petersen at

Any questions about data analytics for the HABS-HD dataset, please contact Dr. Fan Zhang at

Honors Research Practicum (HRP)

The HRP has an overarching goal of providing lifelong competency in research methods and is open to second-year students on a competitive basis.
The practicum includes twenty hours of research didactics, a hypothesis-driven research project under the direction of a research mentor, and a scholarly presentation at the Health Science Center’s annual Research Appreciation Day.

Research Elective (1 month long)

Third and fourth-year medical students may take advantage of a one-month research elective on a topic of their choice.



Previous Student Projects

In previous years, students have completed projects on a variety of topic areas including cardiac arrest, physical activity, aging, oncology, STDs, and sleep.  Recent projects include:

  • Association of Sleep and Physical Activity in Adolescents (Mentor: Roane)
  • Examining Risk Markers in People Vulnerable for TIA (Mentor: Nejtek)
  • HPV Genotype Distribution of Sex Workers and Substance Abusing Women (Mentor: Felini)
  • Impact of Cardiac Arrest and Resuscitation on Myocardial Structure and Protein Biochemistry (Mentor: Yurvati/Mallet)
  • Physical Activity in School: Attitudes and Behaviors Among Children at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (Mentor: Fernando)
  • Relationship Between Dysphoria and Apathy and Inflammatory Markers such as IL6 in Alzheimer’s Manifestations of Depression (Mentor: Barber)
  • Reproductive Health in Female Childhood and Adolescent Survivors of Cook Children’s: Life After Cancer Programs (Mentor: Bowman)