Research and Scholarship activities begin during the first year of training. The Allergy and Immunology fellow spends the first six weeks of their fellowship meeting with the training program director and various faculty, to learn about research opportunities and to select a research mentor and research project. Fellows are required to attend at least one meeting of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and to complete the Clinical Research Investigator/Coordinator Certificate (CRICC) program. The research interests of the allergy/immunology faculty and associate faculty are broad-based, involving both basic and clinical research. Basic science interests focus on the regulation of granulocyte (neutrophil and eosinophil) functions in the pathogenesis of acute and allergic lung injury during ARDS and asthma, respectively, as well as lipid mediators of lung inflammation and oxidant-mediated lung injury. Dr. Stephen Peters' research focuses on the epithelial cell- mesenchymal cell interactions in airway remodeling in asthma and he has been closely involved in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Asthma Clinical Research Network. Dr. Eugene Bleecker, Section Head of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, also heads the Center for Human Genomics and has an active interest in the genetics of allergy, asthma and complex diseases, the pathogenesis of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction, airways hyperresponsiveness and bronchial inflammation and pharmacologic interventions in obstructive pulmonary diseases.
In addition, the training program has strong collaborative ties with several investigators in basic science areas such as Biochemistry and Microbiology/Immunology. The intertwined activities of clinical and basic research provide an unusual opportunity for fellows to pursue a concept from clinical observation to fundamental pathophysiologic mechanisms. Clinical interests cover ongoing studies in such areas as asthma, allergy, bronchial hyperreactivity, and the genetics of occupational lung diseases. Trainees are assured a minimum of 25% protected time during their first and second years of fellowship for conduct of research and scholarly activities. They are required to present their research at the Pediatric Research Conference and to submit abstracts to local, regional, and/or national allergy meetings. Each fellow is expected to have at least one abstract presented prior to completion of the fellowship.