Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Resident Research Program

Dr. James M. Musser

Welcome to The Methodist Hospital Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine Residency Research Program webpage. The discipline of pathology is very fortunate to be located at the confluence of many fields in medicine and biomedical research that together are very rapidly revolutionizing how diseases are diagnosed and state-of-the-art patient care is delivered.

Our resident research program has been designed to provide flexible, individualized, and carefully mentored interdisciplinary research training focused on molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis. We are especially interested in young physician-investigators with a strong commitment to clinical and translational research, very broadly defined.

I invite you to read more about our training program and contact me if you have questions about it or would like to learn more and receive additional information. Information about specific research opportunities available to pathology residents can be obtained by visiting The Methodist Hospital Research Institute website and the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine faculty webpage. It is an outstanding time to begin a career in investigative pathology!

James M. Musser, M.D., Ph.D.
Fondren Distinguished Endowed Chair
Chair, Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine
Director, Resident Research Program

Program Goals

The primary goal of the Methodist Pathology Residency Research Program (MPRRP) is to train investigative pathologists who will populate academic medical centers throughout the United States. This goal is embodied by our mission statement, “Train the next generation of outstanding NIH-funded practicing pathologists who will become the academic leaders that recreate our discipline.” The program will prepare clinician scientists for careers in academic pathology through an intensive mentored research experience, courses on grantsmanship and oral and written presentation skills, and access to cutting-edge technologies available at The Methodist Hospital and The Methodist Hospital Research Institute.

Program Structure

The goal of the MPRRP is to provide trainees with a highly flexible program that will successfully transition them to independent faculty investigators in academic pathology. In addition to receiving high-quality training in the required rotations for accreditation in Anatomic Pathology (AP)/Clinical Pathology (CP) or AP or CP only, trainees will select a mentor and embark on a course of research that will result in the submission of a grant application. This will lay the foundation for an independent career in investigative pathology. The MPRRP program recognizes that the career objectives of individual trainees are unique. Thus, trainees will be guided by a primary research mentor, an interdisciplinary mentoring committee, and a career development committee to create an individualized program of study.

Example timeline of Methodist Pathology Residency Research Program for residents in either the AP or CP or AP/CP track.

Mentor Requirements

The mentor is a vital participant in the trainee’s successful development as an independent investigative pathologist. As such, each MPRRP trainee will choose an NIH-funded research mentor after completing a maximum of three 1-month research rotations. The mentor need not have a primary appointment in the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine. Working with the chosen mentor, the trainee will develop and submit a five-page research plan detailing the project’s specific aims, experimental design, milestones, and budget. Additionally, a mentoring and career development plan will be crafted collaboratively by the trainee and mentor and reviewed by both the career development and mentoring committees.

Mentoring Committee

In consultation with the primary mentor and the MPRRP director, each trainee will form an interdisciplinary mentoring committee. We anticipate that the mentoring committee will be composed of a diverse array of investigators with expertise pertinent to the trainee’s area of study. The committee should have a mixture of M.D. and Ph.D. investigators and be drawn from several departments. In addition, the committee must include one member from outside Houston who is well known nationally in the trainee’s field of investigation. The committee will meet twice annually to review the trainee’s progress and provide guidance and oversight. One of the meetings must be on-site at The Methodist Hospital, and one meeting can be held by teleconference. The MPRRP director will serve as an ex officio member of each trainee’s committee.

Career Development Committee

MPRRP trainees will assemble a multidisciplinary career development committee that will advise the resident on elective choices and research rotations based on the candidate’s career goals, and oversee the trainee’s progress throughout the residency and research period.

Progress Reporting

Trainees will prepare a 2-page written progress report and present their research to their mentoring committee every six months. In addition, the trainee will meet with their career development committee every alternating six months to ensure research and career goals are attained.

Grant Application Submission

A key goal of the MPRRP program is for trainees to obtain the skills necessary to compete successfully for outside funding, a key milestone in their development as independent physician scientists. To this end, prior to or very early in their research training, trainees will prepare a detailed mentored career development research plan, complete with mentoring plan and milestones at the end of the second year. With input from the advisory committee and the mentor, trainees will write and submit an NIH mentored career development award application (K08, K23) or its equivalent to another funding agency late in the first or early in the second year.

Candidates

Competitive candidates usually will have a record of scholarly activity and demonstrated scientific achievement in the form of publications or presentations at meetings or conferences. However, we stress that a record of previous scientific achievement is not a prerequisite for admission into the track. Rather, we are most interested in trainees who have a very strong dedication to a successful career as an investigative pathologist. Applicants to the MPRRP track selected for further consideration will be invited to present a seminar as part of their interview.

Support

Recognizing that biomedical research is a highly competitive field, very attractive sustained funding for trainees is available for up to three years based on progress, development, and likelihood of continued success. It is our expectation that the Department will support the trainee in the first research year and the mentor will provide much of the support in subsequent years. The third year is optional and is based on several factors, including the trainee’s progress, the recommendation of the mentor committee and advisory committee, the trainee’s documented attempts to compete for extramural funding, and recommendation of the program director. Salaries for MPRRP trainees will be at or above that stipulated for post-graduate ACGME trainees.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should complete all required residency application forms and procedures through ERAS (Electronic Residency Application System). Interviews for the MPRRP program will occur concurrently with interviews for the Methodist Pathology Residency Program. In addition to the ERAS application, interested candidates should complete the supplemental MPRRP application and send all materials via email to:

Ginger Jozwiak
Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine
Coordinator, MPRRP
6565 Fannin St., B490
Houston, TX 77030
LJozwiak@houstonmethodist.org