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Intensive research training is offered in three programmatic areas: the Experimental Research track, the Clinical Research track and the Healthcare Transformation Research track.
The program pays great attention to mentorship on the personal and academic level. The program director meets with the fellows every six months to ensure that the fellows remain on track in all aspects of training. Many faculty within and outside the division are available for fellows to choose as mentors. To better coordinate the fellows’ mentorship in research, the fellowship has a research working group attended by Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, Simon Hogan, PhD, David Bernstein, MD, and Kimberly Risma, MD, PhD as faculty members and fellow representatives. The working group formalizes the research plans for the fellowship and the Scientific Oversight Committee for each fellow. In addition to technical competence, the fellows develop important skills in bringing a research project to fruition, including grant writing, manuscript preparation and oral presentations of research findings.
Allergy / Immunology fellows interested in basic and experimental biology may conduct research in a broad range of immunological disorders. The fellows in the Experimental Research track join a research laboratory, where they spend the majority of their effort during research years, and develop competency in performing research techniques that are pertinent to their particular research project. For example, fellows may learn the following techniques: DNA cloning, sequencing, DNA chips; animal breeding, husbandry and genotyping; transgenic engineering; tissue culture; microscopy including morphometric analysis; histologic identification of lymphocytes, mast cells, eosinophils, etc.; immunohistochemistry, mRNA in situ hybridization; cytokine assays − enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), polymerase chain reactions (PCR); Southern, northern, and western blotting; electrophoresis; and data analysis, graphs, statistics and interpretation. Fellows on the Clinical Research track may choose to enroll in graduate-level courses through the University of Cincinnati’s Immunobiology Graduate Training Program, located at Cincinnati Children’s. This program was designed to meet a growing demand for well-trained immunologists, both in academic institutions and in industry.
Allergy / Immunology fellows interested in clinical research have several research and opportunities. The fellows in the Clinical Research track develop a clinical research project, on which they spend the majority of their effort during research years, and competency in performing research techniques that are pertinent to their particular research project and in data analysis, graphs, statistics and interpretation.
Allergy / Immunology fellows interested in transforming pediatric health and healthcare delivery may apply to the Quality Scholars Program in Healthcare Transformation. The program’s objectives are to develop conceptual, methodological, practical and leadership skills to: design, develop, test, sustain, scale and disseminate effective interventions in healthcare delivery; accurately measure health and healthcare quality, cost and value; create and lead organizational and policy environments engaged in continuous improvement; and undertake research that creates knowledge and translates evidence of improved approaches to care in clinical, public health and policy settings. This program, directed by Evaline A. Allessandrini, MD, has a three-year training period and involves formal coursework with the University of Cincinnati for a master’s of science in the Clinical Research Training Program. The Quality Scholars Program has two training tracks − Independent Improvement Investigator and System-wide Improvement Leader.
The allergy clinics have made possible a number of clinical and translational research projects that actively involve the allergy fellow trainees from both the Pediatric and Internal Medicine tracks. A number of publications have resulted from these collaborations, several of which have involved allergy fellows.
Jonathan Bernstein, MD has established a DNA bank and database for asthma, allergic and non-allergic rhinitis and other allergic disorders. This project has resulted in collaborations with investigators from the Division of Immunology (Jonathan Bernstein, MD and David Bernstein, MD), Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Division of Allergy and Immunology (Marc E. Rothenberg, MD, PhD; Gurjit Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD; and Amal H. Assa'ad, MD), the Division of Immunobiology and the Center for Environmental Health. Allergy fellows have used this database and DNA bank, which are largely derived from patients at the UC Medical Center and Cincinnati VA Medical Center allergy clinics and the patient population of a large community allergy and asthma private practice in Greater Cincinnati (Bernstein Allergy Group), comprising a combined patient population of 20,000.
Gurjit Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD at Cincinnati Children's has initiated a similar DNA bank and database; currently, there are approximately 2,000 well-characterized patients in the DNA bank.
A DNA data bank has also been established to study genotypes associated with occupational asthma, and this has been expanded to a multicenter NIOSH / CDC-funded international study of genetic markers associated with occupational asthma due to reactive chemicals (David Bernstein, MD, PI, R01 OH008795).
Marc E. Rothenberg, MD, PhD at Cincinnati Children’s has a well-characterized database and sample databank of patients with eosinophilic disorders, which is coordinated through the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders.
Former fellow Tolly Epstein, MD established a DNA bank and database of subjects for a study on asthma in the elderly.
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