The third and potential fourth years of our fellowship are oriented towards research and provide fellows with the opportunity to pursue a laboratory-based research pathway or clinical-based research pathway. Early in their training, we help fellows select the pathway that is best suited to them. Our division has multiple, well-funded bench/translational researchers and clinical investigators for the fellows to work with during their research year. Furthermore, the fellows have access to a wide range of investigative technologies in clinical investigation, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, cell and molecular biology, and immunology in ongoing programs throughout Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
During the third year, fellows have 12 months dedicated to acquiring the necessary knowledge and scientific techniques required to pursue their mentored research project and to build the foundation for a research career. Fellows are expected to present their investigation results at our divisional research conference and a national meeting, and to prepare a manuscript for publication.
Additional research experience is often needed both to qualify for faculty appointment and to bring interesting projects to fruition. When the quality of performance during the third year suggests special aptitude for development in this direction, we will offer further post-doctoral experience and resources while supervising the fellow's application for independent support.
Identifying a Mentor and a Project
Fellows meet with the program director, associate program director for research and the division chief to discuss career goals and research areas of interest. Based on these meetings, a list of possible mentors, both inside and outside the pulmonary division, is generated. Additionally, we host an annual Fellow Research Day that informs fellows about potential mentors and projects, and facilitates initial discussions with potential mentors. During the remainder of the first year and beginning of second year, the fellow will continue meet with potential research mentors to discuss projects and opportunities for their research year.
Divisional bench researchers are actively engaged in cutting-edge research in regulation of lung microvascular barrier, endothelial mechanisms of acute lung injury, interstitial lung disease, regulation of lung development, and endothelial mechanisms in sleep disorder breathing.
Additionally, Columbia University offers a diverse and expansive resource for fellows interested in bench/translational research training programs. Some examples include the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Fellows pursuing a career in basic or translational research of lung biology are eligible for funding through an NIH-funded T-32 training grant.
The investigators in our division and our collaborators areas of clinical investigation include epidemiology, clinical trials, outcomes research, and health disparities. Our pulmonary research interests include outcomes of lung transplantation, interstitial lung disease, chronic obstructive lung disease/emphysema, adult cystic fibrosis/bronchiectasis, asthma, sleep disordered breathing, neuromuscular-related breathing disorders, lung volume reduction surgery, quality improvement in COPD, genetic epidemiology of chronic lung disease, medical ethics, tuberculosis, and global lung health. Areas of interest in critical care include ECMO and extracorporeal CO2 removal for respiratory failure, acute lung injury, and critical care outcomes.
In addition, Columbia University offers a diverse and expansive resource for fellows interested in a clinical investigation training program. The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health is recognized as a leader in public health policy, education, research, and environmental health sciences. Members of our division have co-appointments in the Department of Epidemiology at Mailman School of Public Health with a particular interest in global lung health.
The Mailman School offers Master of Science (MS) degrees in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. The Master of Science in Biostatistics has a Patient Oriented Research (POR) track, for which there are 4-6 highly competitive full-tuition scholarships a year. Fellows on the clinical investigative track in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship have successfully competed for scholarships in years past. This is a two-year, 30-credit Master’s degree program supported through the NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award program at Columbia. The goal of the POR program is to prepare trainees to compete successfully for peer-reviewed research funding in clinical investigation. Trainees are required to complete a Master’s essay in the form of an NIH-style grant application that is written under the direct-supervision of a program faculty member.