Fellow Research Opportunities

Protected Time for Research  

  • Fellows have 20 months of protected time, excluding vacation. 
  • The amount of time increases from the first to the third year, and is clustered to enhance productivity. 
  • In order to optimize research activities, calls are limited during research blocks (four calls per block in the first year, three calls per block during the second and third years). Each fellow has on one call-free research block every year.

Division faculty interact with fellows in patient care, seminars, and research. Research endeavors include both basic and clinical projects.

Basic science projects are focused on:

  • Studies of placental blood flow
  • Cellular and molecular regulation of nitric oxide and other vasodilators
  • Endothelial cell biology with respect to cardiovascular and pulmonary development and disease
  • Pathogenesis of inflammation and lung injury in animal models
  • Hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) and its role in inflammation and endothelial function
  • Fetal and neonatal cardiovascular development and physiology
  • Animal models of neonatal resuscitation

Clinical studies include:

  • Studies conducted through the collaborative projects of the Neonatal Research Network, which consists of 15 other institutions in North America. The Division has been a participating member of this network since its inception
  • Collaborative studies on the role of CMV infection in hearing loss and strategies to prevent this long-term disability
  • Studies on delivery room resuscitation
  • Novel therapies to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
  • Evolution of blood pressure in preterm infants
  • Neonatal infection
  • Effect of gentamicin on hypocalcemia in the newborn
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Prevention and diagnosis of neurologic sequelae in high-risk infants
  • Follow-up of the high-risk infant
  • Relationship between antepartum events and neonatal outcome
  • Alterations in fetal growth and long-term outcome
  • Observational studies using local or national databases

Clinical projects in the Division are facilitated by the comprehensive databases that are maintained in each area of the Division’s activities, including resuscitation, newborn nursery, and neonatal intensive care, as well as follow up. These databases are an essential part of collaborative studies of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network, the Children’s Hospital Network Consortium, and the Vermont-Oxford Network.

Research nurses, essential in these activities, include Lucie Christie, Diana Vasil, Patti (Jeannette) Burchfield, Denise Manning, Alicia Guzman, and Lizette Torres. Multiple fellows’ research projects have been made possible by these databases and/or by support from Divisional research nurses. UT Southwestern is also part of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Network and the Pediatric Pharmacology Research Units (PPRU) Network.

Our Program is closely integrated with the Departments of Biochemistry, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Cell Biology, and Neuroscience, making research opportunities available outside of the Division.

Mentored Research Project and Scholarship

  • 95 percent of the graduates have completed and published at least one manuscript arising from their research endeavors. 
  • Each fellow is expected to complete a research project under the guidance and with the help of a mentor and a scholarship oversight committee. Many fellows have obtained internal and/or external funding for their research projects.
  • Each fellow is encouraged to select the type of research that best meets her or his own interests and career plans. This project is expected to lead to presentation of one or more abstracts at regional or national meetings and publication of a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal. 
  • Scholarship also includes chapters, state-of-the-art reviews, and case reports. In addition, each fellow completes a mentored quality improvement project.

Opportunities for Specialized Research Training During Fellowship

Fellows who plan for a clinical research track may apply for training as Master in Public Health (M.P.H.) or for one of three certificates available in the Department of Clinical Sciences: Graduate Certificate (two-year program), Master’s Degree in Clinical Science (two-year program), or Masters Degree with Distinction (three-year program). Additional information is available on our Clinical Sciences Graduate Program website.

Opportunities for External and Internal Funding During Fellowship

  • Fellows in Neonatal-Perinatal are eligible for several external sources of funding from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the NIH, and several other national organizations and foundations. List of Funding - Neonatology Fellowship 
  • UT Southwestern Medical School offers a Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP), which provides three years of salary and allows highly individualized research training and career development. Additional sources of funding include Children’s Medical Center and the Department of Clinical Sciences. List of Funding - Neonatology Fellowship
  • The University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH)/Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) offers a new Multimodal Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Training Program. This program covers a portion of the tuition for trainee fellows. The UTSPH/BCM Multimodal MCH Training Program has four tracks:
    • The MCH concentration, available to M.P.H. students enrolled in in any of the six campuses of UTSPH (Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Brownsville, and El Paso)
    • MCH Certificate Program, open to students not enrolled in the M.P.H. program
    • MCH Intensive Training Fellowship: Year-long intensive, experiential MCH training program
    • Tailored training programs for state and local Title V staff

Types of Tracks Available

Clinical Track

Who should apply?

Applicants who choose this track plan either a clinical career in private practice, an academic career in the clinical track or the clinical scholar track, or have not yet decided which type of career they will eventually select after completing the fellowship.

How many years of training does this track involve?

This track involves a three-year training program, which is fully described above and in other sections of the website.

Research Track

Why should I apply?

Applicants who choose this track plan to pursue a career in which the majority of their effort will involve the pursuit of new knowledge. They plan an academic career in the research track or the clinical scholar track. Research can be either basic laboratory-related research, translational, or clinical investigation.

How many years of training does this track involve?

To optimize the likelihood of future success as a physician-researcher, they commit to a four-year training program that provides more research experience than can be obtained during a three-year training program. In general, the clinical training blocks take place primarily during the first two years of fellowship, so that the last two years entail a minimal amount of clinical time and prolonged periods of research training.

When should I apply?

Application to the Research Track can be initiated before starting fellowship or during the first two years of fellowship. Advice and help in development of the best approach for each applicant will be provided during the application process and during the fellowship.

Applicants interested in pursuing the Research Track should inform the Program Director and Division Director of this interest early in the application process.

One way to enter the Research Track in our fellowship training program is to select the Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP) proposed by the American Board of Pediatrics. “Individuals must apply for this pathway either before entering an accredited pediatric residency program or during the first 9 months of the PL-1 year. The ARP is designed to accommodate and encourage candidates who are committed to an academic career as physician scientists with a strong research emphasis in a pediatric subspecialty.”

Fellows interested in switching from the Clinical Track to the Research Track should inform the Program Director and Division Director at any time during their fellowship.

What grants are available to support my salary while on the research track?

Salary funding to support a fellow on the Research Track can be obtained:

  • Before starting the fellowship, or during the first year of fellowship, by applying for the Physician Scientist Development Program (PSDP), which requires the selection of a mentor and the completion of a grant application. The PSDP pays for 2-3 years of research training. You have two application submission options: residency year three (Feb) or fellowship year one (Feb). If you apply during residency, your PSDP-supported training and research project would begin in July of the second year of fellowship, after 12 months of clinical patient care training. Therefore, you would have to complete the remaining clinical training component after the completion of two years (with an option of a third year) of PSDP-supported research training. If you apply during the first year of fellowship, your PSDP-supported training would start after completing the clinical component of fellowship training.
  • Before starting the fellowship or during the first year of fellowship by applying for Extramural Training and Career Development. One option is to apply for participation in one of the National Research Service Awards (NRSA, T32) available at UTSW. To learn more, go to NIH RePORTER. For for Funding Mechanism, select Training, Institutional and for Congressional District, select Texas-30. As an example, fellows in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine may be eligible for participation in Lance Terada's or Philip Shaul's training program in Lung Biology and Disease (1T32HL098040-01).
  • After starting fellowship, by applying to the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) here at UT Southwestern. The application and all supporting documentation must be complete and submitted by December 1 of the second year of fellowship, to start funding in July of the third year.
  • After starting fellowship, by applying to an NIH K Award.
  • During the second or third year of fellowship, by applying for participation in the UTSW Department of Clinical Sciences KL2 Grant: 5 KL2 RR024983-04, which supports the Clinical Research Scholars Program. This program implies a three-year commitment with 75 percent protected time and requires approval of the Chair of Pediatrics.

 Additional funding available includes: