Resident Research

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Columbia University is considered one of the world's most important and influential research centers, and our Neurology Residents benefit greatly from immersion in such a dynamic academic environment.

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Our residents play a pivotal role in the Department of Neurology's research mission, and thrive under the mentorship of our exceptional faculty. The faculty also benefit from the continuous exchange of enthusiasm and fresh ideas inspired by such collaboration. Under the direction of Dr. Mitchell S.V. Elkind, Neurology Residents are provided with abundant opportunities for basic science, translational, and clinical research, including participation in funded research training programs. Residents are also continuously exposed to current research developments and techniques through lectures, conferences, and access to our extensive network of research resources, many of which are considered the finest in the world. These include, but are not limited to:

Research Opportunities

National Institutes of Health (NIH) R25 Resident Research Training Program

Each year, with the support of an NIH R25 training grant (Dr. Elkind, PI), an unlimited number of residents may participate in a dedicated research career residency path, with the eventual goal of establishing a career as an independent laboratory investigator. Residents choose a mentor, develop a research project, write a grant proposal for submission to the NIH, and participate in a six month dedicated research experience during the PGY-4 year. This program does not interfere with the ability of the resident to complete the clinical training required to fulfill residency board requirements.

The resident will then have the opportunity to extend this research project, including funding, into the first fellowship year. Both laboratory and clinical research projects are eligible for this program. This program offers a more concentrated research experience than the Research Mentorship Program, and is designed for residents who intend to make research a part of their future academic careers. An explicit goal of the R25 program is to provide residents with the skills and opportunity to submit a K08 or K23 mentored Career Development Award by the conclusion of their participation in the program.

Herbert and Rhoda Cohen Annual Neurology Resident Research Day

With the generous support of the Cohen family, Resident Research Day is held each year in June. At this event, residents have the opportunity to present their completed research projects. Three residents conduct platform presentations of their work during Grand Rounds. Afterward, there is a poster session luncheon for residents and fellows. Each participant gives a brief overview of their project, and the audience has the opportunity to ask questions. Awards are given for the best platform and poster presentations. Residents are further encouraged to submit their final projects for presentation at meetings and publication.

Quarterly Research Updates

The Quarterly Research Updates are quarterly research presentations that occur during regularly scheduled Grand Rounds. These are jointly organized by Drs. Elkind and Di Mauro, representing clinical and basic sciences, respectively. The updates consist of two presentations, one laboratory-based and one clinical, and they usually emphasize preliminary research findings, or the work of junior faculty and fellows. The purpose of these meetings is to give fellows and junior faculty an opportunity to share their early data, and sharpen their scientific presentation skills. Residents in the NIH R25 program will also have the opportunity to present their results during these sessions.

NIH T32 Neuro-Epidemiology Training Program

Neurology residents may also transition into research-oriented Fellowship training opportunities. The specific objective of the NIH T32 Neuro-Epidemiology Training Program (Dr. Mitchell Elkind, Director), an NIH/NINDS-funded mentored research program at Columbia University, is to provide academically-oriented neurologists with a comprehensive background in the techniques of epidemiology and biostatistics, with the ultimate goal of training individuals who will utilize these tools as independent investigators.

The program provides stimulating training, in a research environment, for developing neurologists who wish to use epidemiologic methods to study diseases of the nervous system, and have as a career goal, a research or academic position. Since its inception, the program has trained neurologists who are now Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, Professors or career research scientists at the NIH, Columbia and other universities, and elsewhere. The program, which has been continuously funded for over 30 years, has capitalized upon the strengths of the Department of Neurology (College of Physicians & Surgeons), the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Mailman School of Public Health), and the inter-disciplinary structure of the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, all at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The program combines three features:

  1. graduate level courses in epidemiology and biostatistics;
  2. hands-on mentored research that takes advantage of on-going neuro-epidemiology and clinical neurology research projects, and
  3. clinical training in a neurological subspecialty.

All trainees spend two years in the program, during which time sequenced didactic coursework in epidemiology and biostatistics can lead to an MS degree from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. This is integrated with increasingly independent research activity. The curriculum at the School of Public Health, combined with the opportunity to participate in, and expand upon, on-going epidemiologic studies of neurologic disease, conducted by a 31-member program faculty, provides trainees with an optimal career development path for academic positions.

Dr. Elkind and Dr. Ford with a resident standing in front of a poster

R25 Residents

  • Linus Sun, Class of 2011
  • Shennan Weiss, Class of 2014
  • David Chung, Class of 2014
  • Alex Reynolds, Class of 2016
  • Julia Shirvan, Class of 2017
  • Claudiu Diaconu, Class of 2017
  • Jason Neal, Class of 2018
  • Prajwal Ciryam, Class of 2020
  • Charles Beaman, Class of 2021
  • Francesco Michelassi, MD, PhD, Class of 2022
  • Tommy Wilson, MD , PhD, Class of 2022

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