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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS Medical Student Research Fellowships

Doctors with stethoscopes

The NIEHS Medical Student Research Fellowships one-year research training opportunity for third-year medical students will be available for the academic year. Details on how to apply can be found below. Interested students should email the Program Director, Janet E. Hall, M.D. with inquiries about potential projects and mentors. Fellowships will begin in late summer/early fall.

What is NIEHS?

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, or NIEHS, is one of 27 institutes and centers that comprise the world-famous National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIEHS campus is located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, near Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham — each home to a major research university. NIEHS also has one research group on the NIH main campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Physicians and scientists in the Division of Intramural Research at NIEHS carry out hypothesis-driven research in many scientific areas. The central investigative questions that connect these areas of interest include: How do external factors influence the organism? What fundamental mechanisms allow the system to adapt to these inputs? Can these findings be extended to aid in understanding human biology?

The Division of Intramural Research is led by Scientific Director Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D., who is an active clinician and researcher. Investigators are members of nine research-intensive laboratories and branches, each of which functions much like a mini-department at a university. These groups bring together investigators who share common interests or research methodologies. About 200 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other trainees work in these groups.

Why Does the Division of Intramural Research Provide this Program to Medical Students Interested in Research?

The division provides this program to meet the goals of the NIEHS Strategic Plan, which aims to develop and retain a sustainable pipeline of environmental health professionals across a range of related disciplines, including fundamental science, exposure science, translation, policy, and outreach, through efforts in education, training, and career development, and raise the level of environmental health literacy of the general population and all other NIEHS stakeholders.

What is This Program?

The program is a one-year research fellowship for medical students to train at NIEHS. The trainees will work full time in a research group for one year, beginning in late summer/early fall. Several fellowships are awarded each year.

Am I Eligible to Apply?

Interested full-time medical students pursuing an M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. may apply. Only students who are enrolled full time and in good standing at their institution are eligible. Typically, most applicants apply during the winter of their second year, with the intention of spending the third year in this fellowship. Nonclinical trainees, such as Ph.D. candidates, part-time participants, or those interested in less than a full-year commitment are not eligible.

How Do I Apply?

First, review the specific research fields, publications, and other details provided on the webpage of each principal investigator. The investigator webpages can be accessed through the nine branch and laboratory links. Once you identify an investigator whose research field is of interest to you, contact them by telephone or email, and discuss potential projects that are of mutual interest. You may also email the Program Director, Janet E. Hall, M.D. to discuss your interests and appropriate mentors.

The investigators will provide guidance on what research projects can likely be accomplished within a twelve-month period. Together, you and the principal investigator will devise a suitable project outline, hypothesis, and goals. Although any research project theme is suitable, preference will be given to projects that will study a biological system in which external factors are to be applied experimentally, in order to perturb the system and understand its responses. Any experimental organism can be studied, but preference will be given to projects that have relevance to human biology and health.

During these discussions, the principal investigator will also be interviewing you to determine if they are interested in accepting you into their research group.

If the investigator is interested, download and fill out an application form (214KB), and submit it by email as soon as possible. Letters of reference and a project description are also required. The principal investigator who has agreed to be your mentor for the project must submit a recommendation letter to the program administrator and Dr. Janet Hall that justifies your selection and details their plans for your success.

Your official transcript is not required prior to submitting your application. However, if chosen for a fellowship, the award can only be activated upon receipt of the transcript.

Applications lacking complete forms, or lacking the NIEHS mentor letter and required reference letters will not be accepted.

When Will I Be Notified About the Status of my Application?

Applicants will receive a letter via email informing them of their status, as early as February 28 and no later than June 1, depending on when the application is submitted.

Where Will I Train?

Most NIEHS intramural research takes place at our main campus at 111 T.W. Alexander Drive in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. If the mentor is located at NIH, the research will take place on the NIH main campus at 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland.

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