What training medical researchers can learn from the ‘yellow hats’

What training medical researchers can learn from the ‘yellow hats’


Gottesman worked with Martin Gellert, who had just discovered DNA ligase, the central enzyme for DNA replication and repair. Almost a year into the programme, Gellert took a leave of absence, giving Gottesman the independence to pursue his own research ideas. He also taught part of the Gellert course at the National Institutes of Health on how DNA is transcribed and translated into proteins. “Not only did I have this amazing opportunity to be a freelance researcher, but I suddenly had a fairly large teaching responsibility. It was just a wonderful experience for me,” says Gottsman.

After the program, Gottsman returned to Harvard, where he finished his undergraduate and medical studies, finished his residency, and began as an assistant professor. But he remembers that he soon “heard the siren call of the National Institutes of Health” and went back to start his own lab at the National Cancer Institute.

After the draft ended, requests to the ATP were rejected. The program no longer exists, although a similar program—the Medical Researchers Program—supports medical, dental, and veterinary students conducting research on the NIH campus. The agency is still working on “capturing that lightning in a bottle that was meant for this program,” Gottsman says.

Today, some universities offer similar intensive programs. For example, Hall’s three-year program supports about 20 junior researchers in developing independent research careers. It is funded by the NIH KL2 Awards, which are given to new physicians to conduct research. “In many ways, KL2 programs provide research training similar to mentorship as those in the National Institutes of Health program, at institutions nationwide,” she wrote.

The Meyerhoff Scholars Program, which is in its 33rd year, also contains many elements of ATP, although its focus is on biomedical research as a whole, rather than translational or clinical research. The program also includes a relatively large and strongly interconnected cohort of 50 to 60 people, and extensive research exposure at the pre-doctoral level. According to Stowe. Domingo, its scholars are about five times more likely to earn a PhD than students who are accepted into the program but refuse to attend. It is now used as a model for similar programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Pennsylvania. stu. Domingo says that new programs at UC Berkeley, UCSD and Howard University are also being built based on its model.

However, medical research functions have changed since the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the main obstacle is the medical school debt burden, which is often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Debt can motivate young doctors to choose lucrative specialties so that they can pay off their loans. As a result, there is a lack of researchers able to combine clinical experience with research inquiry, Hall writes. In the United States, she writes, more than 20,000 people graduate each year with an MD degree, but only about 600 earn MD and research degrees.

Another challenge, Hall wrote, is that it becomes increasingly difficult to manage a dual career by doing research And Patient care, because research funding to support the laboratory is difficult to obtain, and there are more opportunities to focus on clinical care.

As the research ecosystem is always changing, Azoulay envisions the Yellow Hats study as a starting point for further research: rigorous studies comparing training interventions in terms of timing, group size, and other factors. “What we would like people to exclude is not that you should copy what the National Institutes of Health were doing in the early 1970s,” Azoulay says. “But that analysis should inspire new experiments.” We want randomized controlled trials to come into a world of scientific training and funding. “If we have a bee in the hood, this is it.”

Disclosure: Viviane Callier plays a contract statistician role that supports some data analysis projects at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.


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