Our program is committed to enabling a robust and meaningful research experience. Key elements for success are dedicated time, mentorship, scholarly resources, and opportunities to acquire core research skills. We provide a structured framework to tailor experiences to the interests of each resident.

Resident Research Spotlight July 2021

"Kelly Pugh MD"

Kelly Pugh, MD

Hometown: Purcellville, Virginia

Residency year: PGY3

Career Plans: Hematology/Oncology

Mentor:  Michael Savona, MD

Project Title: A Comparison Between Candidate Germline Controls and Cultured Skin Fibroblasts via Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) 

"It was very straightforward to find a research mentor during residency. I emailed a few physicians who were working on topics of interest, and everyone was open to meeting with me to discuss if there was a project that was a strong fit. My advice for residents is to meet with your mentor often, and to have this timeframe for regular meetings established early. This can provide additional idea generation to move a project along, and also allows for a more impactful mentoring experience in terms of your overall career. Through my involvement with this project, I have developed a strong insight into how academic institutions provide for incredible collaborations for research endeavors."

⇒ Previous Residency Research Spotlights

Associate Program Director for Resident Research

Julie A. Bastarache, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, has directed resident research since 2019. Dr. Bastarache is a physician scientist in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care and conducts translational research in sepsis, ARDS, and non-pulmonary organ dysfunction. She is committed to mentorship at all levels and to ensuring that all residents have an excellent research experience during residency. Dr. Bastarache holds resident office hours twice monthly and is happy to meet with residents at any time.

"Julie Basarache, MD"

Julie Bastarache, MD

Some unique aspects of our program include:

  Research Liaisons and Mentors

“Starting off my research block with a meeting with Dr. Bastarache helped me to efficiently find a mentor who fit what I was looking for in terms of my project interests and goals. She helped me figure out what I should focus on when looking for a project and led me to a couple mentors who would be good to work with.”

-Lisa Yun, PGY-1

In the last 3 years, 100% of our residents participated in research, with 86% publishing a manuscript or presenting their work at a meeting. See below for some highlights of our current residents presenting research:


At least 1 month per year, each year dedicated to research.
  • Each year of residency, categorical residents can select two research clinic electives for a total of 1 month of time dedicated to research.
  • Second- and third-year residents can choose additional two-week research clinics in lieu of inpatient rotations.


We make it easy to identify mentors in all areas of research. To match residents with research mentors, we have a group of faculty liaisons in each Division/Department. Liaisons in the areas below can meet with residents and facilitate resident-mentor matching.

  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Endocrinology
  • Epidemiology/Public Health
  • Gastroenterology
  • General Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Geriatrics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medical Education
  • Nephrology
  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary
  • Quality Improvement
  • Rheumatology
“I did meet with Dr. Bastarache during her office hours and it was an extremely productive meeting. I was able to discuss my research goals and interests with her and she was able to provide me with 3 different attendings who were currently working in fields that I was interested in. After setting up meetings with each of them, I was able to start a project with one of them…  I was very happy with the help I received from Dr. Bastarache, she really is a great resource.”


-Jared Freitas, PGY-1

Jennifer Marvin Peek, MD “I talked with Dr. McPherson as well as the Cardiology research liaison and have already started on a project!”


-Jennifer Marvin-Peek, PGY-1

                         (October 2020)           

Don’t see what you’re looking for? We will work to find you the perfect mentor.


The Department of Medicine provides funding for residents to show off their research! Whether these funds are used to print posters, submit abstracts, or support travel to National Meetings, the department will provide each resident up to $1,000 per year over 3 years to support their research in residency.


Each resident is encouraged to submit their work to National Meetings where they will have an opportunity to network and discuss their research. This is a great way to see a new place, meet colleagues, learn about cutting edge advances in the field and network for career development. The Department of Medicine provides funding and rotation coverage for residents to travel to national meetings to present their work. 


Residents can publish their work, and many have first-author publications by the time they graduate residency. This is a great way to build your CV, enhance your fellowship application, and make a contribution to science.

Resident Research Interest Survey


VUMC has many resources to facilitate your research projects. These include:BioVU and the Synthetic Derivative

These are two unique Vanderbilt resources for discovery accessed through the StarBRITE portal. Residents can use StarBRITE to identify resources, find experts, access templates for research preparation and study conduct, obtain database development software, learn about educational requirements and opportunities, and receive help with research application and approval processes.

  • The Synthetic Derivative (SD) is a de-identified version of the VUMC EHR that supports research. The SD contains clinical information on ~2.7 million subjects dating back to the 1980s, and approximately 1 million subjects have detailed longitudinal data. Data in the SD are recoded and structured to facilitate research. Leveraging Vanderbilt’s bioinformatics expertise, the SD can be queried to identify cohorts of interest for study.
  • BioVU is a biorepository of DNA extracted from discarded blood collected during routine clinical care. Samples are linked to de-identified clinical data in the SD and can be used for genotype-phenotype studies. BioVU currently houses >240,000 samples and continues to grow—accruing 500-1000 samples per week! Genotypes are redeposited into the resource.

Clinical Investigator Toolbox (CIT) Elective

The CIT is a two-week elective for second-year residents considering a career in clinical investigation. Residents receive a broad introduction to clinical research, including trial design, epidemiology, outcomes research, biostatistics, biomedical ethics, and human subject protection (IRB). The course provides hands-on skill sessions related to medical writing, oral presentations, searching the medical literature, and data management. There are also opportunities to discuss career development with senior faculty and representatives from advanced degree programs, including the Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) and Masters of Public Health (MPH).

The Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR)

Supported by the VUMC Office of Research and the NIH sponsored Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), VICTR aims to provide resources and services to support clinical and translational research. Resources available through VICTR include:Research Success


  • Pilot funding, support for clinical and translational hypothesis-driven projects.
  • Studios, interdisciplinary panels of experts to provide individualized feedback on your research.
  • Data management (REDCap), a secure, web-based application to support data capture.
  • Participant recruitment, resources to identify and recruit subjects for research studies
  • Grant and manuscript preparation, resources for writing, editing, and publishing.
  • Education, regularly scheduled workshops covering research skills and resources.


Program leadership is committed to enabling a robust and meaningful research experience during residency. Key elements for success are mentorship, access to resources, and opportunities to acquire core research skills, and the Vanderbilt residency provides a structured framework to meet these needs and tailor experiences to interests of each individual resident.

Statistical Support

Biostatistics Clinics are a daily free service staffed by the Department of Biostatistics and open to all members of the Vanderbilt community—including residents—who have methodologic questions about their research projects or about published articles.