Research is an integral part of the fellowship training program. We have active clinical research programs evaluating patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disease related interstitial lung disease, osteoporosis, and inflammatory myositis. In addition to clinical research, our basic science researchers investigate lymphocyte biology in autoimmunity, pathways of angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, and gene expression profiling in patients with autoimmune disease. The goals of the research component of our fellowship training are broad and flexible according to the skills and needs of individual trainees.
Each fellow is expected to submit an abstract yearly to the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting. This is accomplished through close faculty mentorship throughout the process. A suggested timeline and intermittent presentations at informal research meetings helps the fellow to identify feasibility, stay on track, and accomplish goals. Amy Major, PhD directs the research curriculum of the fellowship.
Two unique tools available to fellows for clinical research are the Synthetic Derivative and BioVU. The Synthetic Derivative is a de-identified copy of the electronic health record. BioVU is a biorepository of de-identified DNA samples that is linked to the health record. Our fellows have consistently been able to produce abstracts for the ACR annual meeting and publications using these tools to ask questions with faculty mentorship.
For fellows strongly interested in research, the Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) program is a unique opportunity offered at VUMC.