Research training opportunities for students
We are pleased that you are exploring the field of psychiatry. One of the best ways to learn about this field is to get involved in research. In our department, we have a wide variety of research projects that students can join, including basic neuroscience, neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, and clinical studies of patients with autism, schizophrenia, mood disorders, and other forms of psychopathology. Participation in projects will provide training in many aspects of research conduct, including literature review, data collection, psychiatric interviews and assessments, data analysis, and publication. Our goal is to help medical students develop a theoretical and practical understanding of research questions, design, methodology, data collection and analysis. The ultimate goals of our program are to help physicians in training learn to use research to inform clinical care and to attract more future physicians into exciting research careers.
Click here for a list of current research projects in the Department of Psychiatry that medical students can join.
The Department of Psychiatry offers $2,500 stipends to offset personal expenses incurred during your research involvement (funds to conduct the research itself are provided by the mentor and laboratory). Applications are being accepted now and are reviewed until positions are filled. The Psychiatry Department's Research Advisory Committee reviews all proposals and awards up to four stipends.
Most of the projects in our department that medical students can get involved with can be completed in a relatively short time frame, such as during a summer break or a rotation. They revolve around specific, circumscribed questions and include, but are not limited to, case studies, literature reviews, chart reviews, or analyses of already collected data. A popular option has been immersion full-time or close to full-time in a research lab during the summer break between the first and second years of medical school. Some follow-up (a few hours a week) in the subsequent year is desirable if you want to stay involved in later aspects of the project, such as the publication process.
Some students, after completing a summer project in a lab, may desire more exposure to research and can consider longer-term projects requiring 6 months to a year of time commitment. The student would likely take time off from school to work on the project. There is flexibility in when this can be done; some students choose to take off a year between the second and third years of medical school or to add a fifth year. Longer-term projects provide opportunities for hypothesis generation, data collection and interaction with participants, data analysis, and writing. Longer-term projects are more likely to result in co-authored publications. Funding for such projects may be available through the UC Davis School of Medicine or individual labs.
How to apply
Click here to read through the descriptions of research projects on this web site. If a study is of interest, do the background reading suggested.
- Contact the mentor listed for the project to set up a meeting. It is acceptable to meet with more than one potential mentor as you explore different research opportunities that interest you.
- Once a good fit between student, mentor, and project has been found, students desiring a stipend must apply for funding (see below). A brief letter from the mentor, indicating willingness to supervise you and the proposed timeline of your involvement in his/her lab, should you be awarded a stipend, is a required part of the application.
- At this point, you can begin meeting with your mentor to plan your involvement in his or her lab. Appropriate activities prior to the Summer project might include observations of experiments or techniques used in the mentor's lab, participation in a journal club or lab meeting, and/or individual meetings with the mentor or other senior researchers in the lab to plan the Summer project.
Applications are being accepted now and will be reviewed until positions are filled. To apply, submit by e-mail a curriculum vitae and a one page statement of research interests and prior research experiences to Sally Ozonoff, Ph.D., Vice Chair for Research. You must also arrange with your potential mentor to send an e-mail or letter to the Vice Chair indicating willingness to supervise you and the proposed timeline of your involvement in the laboratory.
We hope that you will choose to become involved in research in the Department of Psychiatry and find it an exciting part of your career development. Thank you for your interest. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or would like further information.
Sally Ozonoff, Ph.D.
Endowed Professor and Vice Chair for Research
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences