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Research Opportunities for Medical Students

A variety of opportunities are available to students who are interested in doing research while in medical school.

Research is the driving force behind medical advancement. It enables us to remain on the cutting edge of an evolving field while discovering new information and developing new methods for treating disease. Without research, our understanding of disease processes would remain stagnant, and treatments would fail to progress.

Research experience changes the way students learn to think as physicians and influence their practice of medicine. It also has the potential to open new doors, as many residencies look for research experience. Additionally, research may spark an interest in academic medicine or inspire someone to pursue a job in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry.

Drexel University College of Medicine recognizes the importance of research in medical education and encourages students to take an active role in their respective fields of study. This type of hands-on experience not only enhances what they're learning in the classroom, but it allows students to start contributing to the world of medicine at an early stage in their career.

Through the assistance of the Office of Medical Student Research, our students choose from several different types of research opportunities that explore a variety of key areas in medicine. More than half of our students currently participate in some form of research.

Types of Research Opportunities for Students

The Office of Medical Student Research helps students to identify research opportunities appropriate for their interests. Students typically choose one (or several) research experiences based on their schedule and availability. In addition to the formal opportunities listed below, students often do research during medical school concurrent with their courses and/or clerkships. Many students do research at a location other than Drexel or at one of its affiliated clinical sites.

From summer programs to those that are integrated with a current course load, Drexel University College of Medicine aims to provide every student with the opportunity to participate in research.

The formal research opportunities that are currently offered include:

The research electives and the Research Pathway can be done at a Drexel affiliated site or at an away site.

In addition to these opportunities, here are some helpful links to College of Medicine events and programs associated with medical student research.

Key Areas of Research

While the College of Medicine strives to provide research opportunities in all areas of study, there are some that consistently take place year after year. These are areas of study where we have made significant progress and are nationally recognized for our efforts.

Here are some of the key areas of medical student research:

  • Cancer biology
  • Drug discovery
  • Infectious diseases–HIV and other viral diseases
  • Malaria
  • Neuroscience
  • Spinal cord injury

How to Get Started

When students decide they want to participate in research, there are a few things they need to do.

  • Decide which research opportunity will work best (summer program, the EDGE program, elective course, the research pathway, etc.)
  • Pick an area of study for the project
  • Choose a faculty member who can serve as a mentor
  • Contact that faculty member or the Office of Medical Student Research to check availability

To help students locate specific areas of research that may be of interest, here's a list of faculty who have active research programs and are willing to mentor a medical student, as well as a list of those in clinical departments at Hahnemann University Hospital, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, or at affiliate sites who have mentored students in the past and may be willing to do so again in the future.

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