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Duke Pediatric Research Scholars Program

Duke resident

The Duke Pediatric Research Scholars Program (DPRS) is a Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) dedicated to preparing burgeoning physician-scientists for careers in academic medicine. The program focuses on the period from the completion of the MD, DO, MD/PhD, or DO/PhD degree through residency and fellowship training, with the goal of achieving a full-time academic appointment as an investigator. DPRS combines the intensive clinical training environment of Duke Children’s with the rigorous scientific training of the world-renowned laboratories at Duke University. 

The mission of the Duke Pediatric Research Scholars Program is to identify and train the next generation of pediatric physician-scientists as leaders in the development and implementation of innovative strategies to improve the health of children.


Eligible applicants include graduates with a combined MD/PhD, DO/PhD degree, or an MD degree and an established record of clinical or basic research experience. DPRS trainees must fulfill all eligibility requirements for our categorical Pediatrics Residency or one of our Pediatric Subspecialty Fellowship Programs. The most competitive candidates will have a strong commitment to a research career and an outstanding academic record.

Program Structure

The Duke Department of Pediatrics is proud of its rich community of physician-scientists, and the Duke Pediatric Residency Program is fully supportive of research-enhanced training. The DPRS is tailored to meet the unique professional goals and interests of physician-scientist trainees by providing four distinct research pathways to select from, including the Traditional Pathway, the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP)-approved Integrated Research Pathway (IRP), and the Duke SCI-StARR Pathway. Regardless of the pathway by which applicants enter the DPRS, all research scholars participate in:

  • Monthly didactic research career development series
  • Fellows core curriculum research topics
  • Monthly journal club
  • Annual research retreat

Program Tracks

Traditional Pathway 
3-year Residency with research elective months in PL-2 and PL-3. There is no formal integration with a fellowship program in this track.

Integrated Research Pathway (IRP)
3-year Residency with 2 clinical years and 1 research year (11 months). Research months replace clinical electives. Residents who wish to participate in the IRP must receive approval from the ABP within the first 9-months of the PGY-1 year. This pathway is open to individuals with MD/PhD or OD/PhD degrees or others who can demonstrate equivalent evidence of research experience and commitment.

Sample Integrated Pathway Schedule  

Duke SCI-StARR Pathway

4-year Residency with 18-months of research sponsored by an R38 Stimulating Access to Research in Residency grant. Residents will be selected from the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Surgery to participate in this program each year. Residents who wish to pursue this pathway will apply to the program during their intern year. Residents in this pathway will have a primary research mentor and a scholarship oversight committee that will meet at least twice per year to help residents create an individualized career development plan.

Residents in the program will establish a track record of scholarly activities, including:

  • Submission of an application for an external individual career development award (NRSA F32 or K38/StARRTs)
  • Participation in scientific meetings
  • Submission of research manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals

Benefits of the program include:

  • Opportunity to apply for a technician or research assistant to maintain research productivity during the years of clinical training
  • Preferential ranking for Duke School of Medicine subspecialty fellowship programs
  • Funds to support conference travel and research needs
  • Eligibility to apply for a new NIH early career award (K38 Stimulating Access to Research in Residency Transition Scholar)

Sample SCI-StARR (R38) Pathway Schedule

Program Benefits

All research scholars in the DPRS program benefit from the following:

  • Option for a research-integrated residency training pathway;
  • Assignment to a career advisor and mentor to facilitate decisions about training and longer-term career options;

  • Group mentoring sessions with other research scholars led by senior investigators in the Department of Pediatrics and from across the University;

  • A monthly Research and Career Development lecture series;

  • Financial support for research conferences and for publication costs.

Application Process

For residency
All DPRS applicants should use ERAS to apply to the standard categorical Pediatrics Residency Program at Duke. If a resident is interested in the IRP or StARR training pathways, that individual should also apply to the Pediatric Research Track at Duke.

Duke Pediatric applicants with a strong research background will be selected and invited for a separate Duke Pediatric interview day that will include an opportunity to meet with potential research mentors. All Pediatric Resident applicants invited for the Duke Pediatric Research Scholar interview day who match at Duke are automatically enrolled into the DPRS program.

For subspecialty fellowship
Incoming fellows should notify their fellowship director that they would like to apply to the DPRS. Candidates may then send in an NIH-style biosketch and a 1-page cover letter explaining how DPRS will benefit their research and career plans to


For questions or additional detailed information about this program, please contact:

Rasheed Gbadegesin, MBBS, MD
Director, Duke Pediatric Research Scholars Program
Professor of Pediatrics (Nephrology)
Carmichael Building, RM 51-104
300 North Duke Street
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919.684.4246 or 919.681.5543

Andrew Landstrom, MD, PhD
Associate Director, Duke Pediatric Research Scholars Program
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology)
Assistant Professor of Cell Biology
Box 2652, DUMC
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919.684.3028

Katherine Barrett, MA
Program Director, Duke Pediatric Research Scholars Program
Phone: 919.664.8111

Current Pediatric Research Scholars

The Duke Pediatric Research Scholars program (DPRS) is pleased to announce the selection of 8 new scholars for the 2019-2020 academic year:

Research Track Residents

Amy Berkman
I coached tennis after college and loved working with children and adolescents, so going into medicine I knew that I wanted to be in pediatrics. My research interests include long-term outcomes after cancer treatment, particularly cardiac outcomes and changes in health behaviors like physical activity. I hope to improve children's health by contributing to our understanding of long-term health after childhood cancer and ultimately working in the survivorship setting.

Categorial Residents

  • Lauren Brown (PGY1)
  • Kevin Keith (PGY1)
  • Annalicia Burns (PGY2)
  • Ashley Stark (PGY2)


  • Adrian Epstein (Neonatology)
  • Rachel Randell (Rheumatology)

We also welcome back our current scholars:


  • Adam Blatt (PGY2)
  • Stephanie Johannes (PGY3)
  • Shant Keskinyan (PGY2)
  • Aaron Pankiewicz (PGY3)
  • Meredith Sooy, R38 Scholar (PGY3)
  • Anna Williams, R38 Scholar (PGY3)
  • Derek Zachman, Research Track, R38 Scholar (PGY2)
  • Ganga Moorthy (Chief Resident)


  • Samia Aleem (Neonatology)
  • Bradford Becken III (Infectious Diseases)
  • Reid Chamberlain (Cardiology)
  • Agnes Chao (Neonatology)
  • Denise Lopez-Domowicz (Critical Care Medicine)
  • Ashley Helseth (Neurology)
  • David Noyd (Hematology & Oncology)
  • Tobias Straube (Critical Care Medicine)
  • Sanya Thomas (Infectious Diseases)
  • Elizabeth Thompson (Cardiology, Critical Care Medicine)
  • Rohan Vilms (Infectious Diseases)

Physician-Scientist Support at Duke

Duke MD-Scientist Development Program
In May 2018, Duke University School of Medicine received 1 of 5 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Physician-Scientist Institutional Awards to support MD-only physician-scientists conducting laboratory-based research. This program, which is being led by DPRS Director Dr. Rasheed Gbadegesin, will sponsor the creation of a centralized School of Medicine Office of Physician-Scientist Development, which will implement the following initiatives for the Duke MD Scientist Development Program:

  • Concierge Mentoring Program to provide MD trainees at all levels with early and frequent guidance by trained Master Mentors who will help trainees identify appropriate labs, mentors, develop individualized training plans, set milestones, and track progress;
  • Basic Research Training Program using a “flipped classroom” curriculum to teach skills required to perform rigorous basic science research, manage, analyze, and present data, run a laboratory, and successfully compete for research funding;
  • MD-Scientist Funding Program to provide expertise and assistance with the development and preparation of trainee grant submissions and aggressively pursue institutional and external award mechanisms that support trainee protected research time;
  • Integrated Training Pathways Program to enable continuity of research training during clinical training and provide technician support during clinical training years.

NICHD Pediatric Scientist Development Program
The NICHD Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP) was first established in 1986 due to concerns that pediatric trainees did not receive sufficient training in molecular biology to compete successfully for NIH grants. The program constitutes a national network of mentors and scholars and is responsible for identifying pediatricians who have completed their clinical training and have promising research potential. The program matches scholars with established mentors with strong records of research productivity. The program will develop guidelines for mentoring and career development in order to promote the successful transition of the candidates into independent research careers in academic settings. Dr. Sallie Permar, Director of the Duke Pediatric Research Scholars Program, was recently selected as Program Director of the PDSP and will assume full responsibility for the program in July 2019.

Duke Strong Start Awards
The goal of this program is to nurture the careers of young, laboratory-based physician-scientists at Duke. By offering substantive mentoring and financial resources, this award will support junior, physician-scientist faculty during a critical period of their career, the transition to research independence.

The awards program is intentionally designed to integrate with other Duke initiatives that train physician-scientists at even earlier points in their career, such as the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD-PhD students) and the Lefkowitz Society (clinical residents and fellows). In this way, the Strong Start Awards Program will ensure that Duke University School of Medicine remains a leader in the training of outstanding physician-scientists, a group uniquely committed to the advancement of the medical sciences in our own community and in the nation.

The request for applications is typically posted in early spring and applicants must have a primary faculty appointment within a department of Duke University School of Medicine, prior to advancement to the rank of associate professor.

Duke Clinical and Translational Sciences Education & Workforce Development
The CTSI Education and Workforce Development Core supports the advancement of the next generation of interdisciplinary research leaders, offering an evolving portfolio of workforce development opportunities to address the training needs of a range of learners—from staff to students to faculty.

  • CTSA KL2
    ​The Duke CTSA KL2 program will provide training and research opportunities for junior investigators that will equip them to participate in and ultimately lead transdisciplinary research teams that transcend traditional scientific silos and embrace diverse stakeholder input; facilitate advancement of discoveries to their next translational phase; leverage partnerships locally, regionally, and nationally to enhance the impact of their discoveries; and promote the development of a diverse workforce.

  • CTSA TL1 Physician Research Fellowship
    ​The Duke CTSA TL1 physician fellowship is a new 2-year training program aiming to provide 2 years of funded time to support the research training of physician-scientists.  All eligible physician trainees may apply, but we have particular interest in applicants who are interested in broadening their previous training to include a new category of research methodology (e.g., applicants with a bench science background looking to gain training in translational or clinical research, or vice versa).  We also have particular interest in applicants looking to obtain training in data science methodology. The Duke CTSA TL1 will typically be for two years, will provide tailored professional development support, an NIH-scale postgraduate stipend, as well as federally-designated training-related expenses.
  • National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP)
    The National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) aims to offer unparalleled training for clinicians as change agents driving policy-relevant research and partnerships to improve health and health care. The goal of the program is to cultivate health equity, eliminate health disparities, invent new models of care, and achieve higher quality health care at lower cost by training nurse and physician researchers who work as leaders and collaborators embedded in communities, healthcare systems, government, foundations, and think tanks in the United States and around the world.

    The overarching goal of the Duke NCSP is to train inter-professional clinician scholars in data-driven inquiry, policy-impactful and rigorous investigation, sensitive community-based participatory research, and transformation of health care practice. Four central pillars undergird the program:

    • Diverse and experienced program leadership;

    • Deep bench of dedicated and successful mentors;

    • Comprehensive didactic research and professional development training program;

    • Broad range of mentored research and policy training opportunities, including direct engagement with community partners and community organizations.

Related Content

Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP)
The Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP) provides intensive training in research relevant to specialty areas of pediatrics. The goal is to prepare entry-level faculty for research careers in academic pediatrics. Physicians presently in pediatric training programs who wish to train in basic, translational, clinical, or health services research with an established investigator/mentor are encouraged to apply. A commitment to an investigative academic career is essential.

Learn more