Sarnoff Fellowship Program - Research Training for Medical Students
Reflections on the Sarnoff Experience by Dr. Richard Page, former Sarnoff Fellow and Scholar and Chair, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine
Sample Application Essay
Making the Transition from Medical School to the Laboratory
The Sarnoff Fellowship Program offers medical students enrolled in accredited U.S. medical schools the opportunity to spend a year conducting intensive work in a biomedical research facility in the United States, other than the medical school in which they are enrolled.
Fellows are selected on the basis of a national competition. Sarnoff seeks individuals with demonstrated intellectual and academic achievement, as well as leadership ability.
Although applicants may have prior research experience, applications are also encouraged from students without extensive prior research experience. Applicants enrolled in an MD/PhD program will not be eligible for a Sarnoff Fellowship.
Applications are encouraged from second and third year medical students. Fourth year medical students are required to submit an official letter from their medical schools granting graduation deferment.
There are no citizenship requirements for application, but those who are not U.S. citizens must have and maintain an appropriate visa. The Foundation will not handle visa matters for applicants.
The Sarnoff Foundation is committed to promoting diversity in the biomedical and scientific community. We strongly encourage applicants from members of underrepresented or historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Stipend and Benefits
Fellowship awardees receive the following benefits:
- $30,000 stipend
- Allowances up to $5,500 for travel to select a Preceptor and Fellowship laboratory, moving expenses, health insurance.
- Financial support to attend the Sarnoff Annual Scientific Meeting and American Heart Association Scientific Sessions
- Funds (up to $1,350) for travel to present a paper, based on Fellowship research, at two national conferences
Application Schedule and Information
Competitions are held annually. The application deadline for the 2015-16 Sarnoff Fellowship Program is January 2015. The online application for the 2015-16 Sarnoff Fellowship Program will be available in August 2014.
Each applicant must submit the following:
- One-page personal statement describing scholarly interests and career plans
- Three-page essay on the applicant's cardiovascular topic of interest
- Completed application form and signed statement of confidentiality
- Official medical school transcript
- Curriculum vitae
- Recommendation from the applicant's Sponsor
- Two additional recommendations
- Any other material that the applicant determines is appropriate to support the application
For more information, contact:
Dana Boyd, Executive Director
Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation
731 Walker Road, Suite G-2
Great Falls, VA 22066
We strongly encourage students to spend the Fellowship year at an institution in the United States other than their medical school, but recognize that, for some, leaving their home institution could present a significant hardship. Requests for exceptions to this policy will be considered based on personal reasons and availability of suitable laboratories, but must be stated at the time of application.
Selection of Preceptor
The Preceptor provides an appropriate research project and oversees the Fellow's research training. It is not necessary for the applicant to have developed a research project or to have identified potential Preceptors at the time of application.
The Fellow is assigned an Advisor from the Sarnoff Scientific Committee. The Advisor assists the Fellow in selecting a Preceptor who can direct a project in the area of the Fellow's interest, which must be broadly within the cardiovascular or cerebrovascular sciences.
Fellows are encouraged to visit several laboratories and to meet with several prospective Preceptors prior to selecting the Preceptor. The Scientific Committee Advisor approves the Fellow's choice of laboratory and takes an active role in monitoring the Fellow's progress during the research year. This includes a site visit to meet with the Fellow and the Preceptor once the research is underway.
Fellow Evaluation and Selection
The Sarnoff Foundation seeks individuals with demonstrated intellectual and academic achievement, as well as leadership potential. The Scientific Committee places major emphasis on :
The applicant's interest in a career in research, as documented by a personal statement;
The quality of the applicant's essay and the ability to discuss the research topic;
Likelihood of providing the applicant with an intensive, rewarding research experience; and
Letters of recommendation
Key Elements of Sarnoff Fellowship
The cornerstone of the Sarnoff Fellowship is the special interaction between the medical students and the laboratory Preceptor with scientific and mentoring expertise. This close relationship, developed during the course of the Fellowship, and continuing throughout the Fellow's career, is enhanced by additional interactions with the Sarnoff Scientific Committee and Sarnoff Alumni. These experiences cultivate a life-long appreciation and enthusiasm for cardiovascular investigation, leading many to choose a career in cardiovascular research. The Foundation's investment in the Sarnoff Fellow is life-long.
Expectations of Awardees
During the year in the laboratory, the Sarnoff Fellow will undertake his/her own research project and assume responsibility for it from inception to completion. The Fellow is expected, with guidance, to develop the hypothesis and specific aims of the project, to participate in the experimental design, to carry out appropriate experiments, to interpret the data with the help of his/her Preceptor, and to prepare an original manuscript for submission to an appropriate peer-reviewed journal. Each Fellow presents his/her results at the Sarnoff Foundation's Annual Scientific Meeting, as well as at appropriate national meetings.
Examples of Cardiovascular Research
The Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation, like the American Heart Association, takes a broad view of cardiovascular research. Examples include:
- Molecular and cellular investigations related to cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology, neural control of cardiovascular function, cell transport and metabolism, cellular electrophysiology and ion channels, and excitation contraction coupling
- Molecular and cellular biology of cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle
- Regulation of cell growth, growth factors, cell cycle genes, programmed cell death, cell surface and nuclear receptors, gene transcription, and molecular signaling Vascular biology, lipoproteins and lipid metabolism, endothelial and smooth muscle cell biology, inflammation, cytokines, cell adhesion, regulation of extracellular matrix, and regulation of thrombosis and platelet function
- Clinical investigations related to atherosclerosis and arterial injury, arrhythmias and conduction abnormalities, cardiac failure and myocardial preservation, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, and thrombosis
- Animal models of cardiovascular disease
- Cardiovascular imaging
- Molecular and human genetics
- Transplant biology
- Cardiovascular surgery
- Biomedical engineering