Fellowship Training Program in Pediatric Nephrology

Research Experience

Attendance at the weekly laboratory meetings and numerous research seminars, many of which are shared with the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Medicine, exposes the trainee to the breadth of laboratory and clinical research opportunities at the Medical Center and familiarizes them with some of the state-of-the art techniques available to accomplish their research objectives. Often, trainees spend time in several laboratories and with different preceptors before he/she decides about the direction of future training. These decisions are made with the help of the director of the training program and with a view towards the needs and abilities of the trainee. The research training program is organized around a preceptor system with informal daily interactions supplemented by formal course work.

The program incorporates both clinical research and basic science projects. Generally, by the end of the second year the trainees are yielding reliable data, so they are able to complete their study and write a manuscript during the third year. Some of the methods (e.g. microperfusion, patch clamp analysis), however, are difficult to learn, requiring the trainee to spend an extra year in order to accomplish his/her research objectives.

The Divisional laboratory is located on the 14th floor of the Annenberg Building, within the 8,000+ sq. ft. of lab space dedicated to Departmental research activities. The lab is equipped for microperfusion of isolated tubules, patch clamp and other electrophysiologic analysis, fluorescence ratio imaging/microscopy, cell culture, and standard molecular biologic techniques. Common equipment, including centrifuges, scintillation counter, and so on, is shared with other pediatric investigators in adjacent labs whose research interests focus on liver and intestine transport.

It is expected that all fellows trained in our program will write at least one scientific paper, a process considered to be an integral part of the preparation for an academic career, and we take the time that is necessary to guide the fellow through this process. Trainees are also expected to present their research findings at regional and national academic society meetings.

While attending to the clinical and research training of our fellows, we are also concerned with the development of their teaching skills. It is for this purpose that we ask them to conduct seminars, clinical conferences, and lectures that are given to medical students and housestaff. Topics that have been presented by the trainees include renal physiology and pathophysiology, fluid and electrolyte metabolism, and various aspects of clinical nephrology. These exercises are supervised by a faculty member whose assignment is to insure the high quality of the teaching, as well as to guide the fellow towards a better understanding and performance.