Clinical and Translational Research Graduate Programs

Clinical and Translational Research Program News:
Program Welcomes New Faculty Member: Dr. Shontreal Cooper

Dr. Shontreal Cooper UConn Health welcomes to the faculty Dr. Shontreal Cooper, an obstetrics and gynecology maternal-fetal medicine physician specializing in treating women with complicated and high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Cooper graduated from the UConn Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research Program in May, 2021.  She was dedicated, diligent and an overall outstanding student.  Dr. Cooper was mentored by Dr. Winston Campbell and three Associate Advisors: Drs. Yanjiao Zhou, Adam Borgida and Helen Wu.  Her Final Examination project was titled, “Tracking the Microbiome Origin of Inflammation from Mouth to Placenta in Preeclampsia.

Dr. Cooper’s clinical interests include gestational diabetes, maternal critical care, cervical cerciage procedures, preterm labor, cervical insufficiencies and preeclampsia.

Prospective Clinical and Translational Research Students:

Prospective students may apply for admission to:

Master of Science Program in Clinical and Translational Research

Introduction

The Master’s program in Clinical and Translational Research is designed to prepare health care professionals with the academic and research skills needed to be independent researchers. The program will focus on the preparation of individuals with established, terminal degrees in a health related field to conduct independent research in the translation of information from the basic sciences to the community. Graduates would be prepared to fulfill roles as researchers, teachers, public health administrators, clinicians, and industry employees.

Program Overview

The Master of Science degree program in Clinical and Translational Research is administered by the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering. The program, which stresses clinical research methods and research practica, is offered to individuals with a health related terminal degree (M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., D.D.S., or D.M.D.) and provides practical training in skills needed to conduct independent research. The Master’s Program is based on both course work and research experience, but no research thesis is required. Instead, students are expected to prepare a draft grant application and a publishable scientific report related to a particular area of clinical/translational research. The final examination consists of an oral defense of the grant application and the report.

Educational Requirements/Admission Criteria

Those eligible to apply for admission to the Master’s Program in Clinical and Translational Research (MCTR) must have successfully obtained a terminal degree in a health-related field, such as an M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., D.D.S., or D.M.D. Students who do not yet have an established terminal degree, but are enrolled and in good standing in a terminal degree granting program in a health-related field, may be eligible to apply.

Additional eligibility criteria:

  • A GPA of 3.0 from one’s last degree program
  • Proficiency in English as assessed by the TOEFL, if applicable (please review the “English Proficiency” section of The Graduate School Admissions website for more information on this requirement)
  • Clear interest in clinical/translational research, as articulated in a Personal Letter of Application

It is possible for exceptions to be made to the GPA requirement of 3.0. This is done based on a case-by-case basis. GRE scores are not required.

It is highly recommended that applicants have commitments in writing from a senior scientist stating his or her intention to mentor and supervise the student as a major advisor during the program. Major advisors must have a UConn faculty appointment.

The program admits, on average, 5 students per year. Each application is evaluated individually by the program’s Executive/Advisory Committee. Due to the small number of students who can be accommodated in this program, the admissions process is selective.

Courses of Study

Each student’s academic program will be planned jointly by the student and the student’s major advisor based on academic and professional background and school requirements. Students will be required to complete 30 credits, anchored by required core courses in Clinical and Translational Research (9 credits). In addition, students will be required to take 9-12 credits of clinical/translational research elective courses from a list of approved courses, including Critical Issues Involving Science Publication: The Scientific Review. Students will also be required to complete 9-12 credits in supervised research to provide them with competency in the implementation of research methods, including hypothesis formulation, research design, quantitative and qualitative methods, data analysis and computer application.

After completion of the course work, students will prepare for their final examination. The final (oral) examination consists of a 30-40 minute presentation of a grant proposal and scientific report describing a completed research project, followed by 20-30 minutes for questions by the student’s mentoring team and members of the MCTR Executive/Advisory Committee. The grant proposal and report must be submitted to Lisa Godin at godin@uchc.edu, 2-3 weeks prior to the final examination.

Required Courses:

  • CLTR 5357 F40 – Core I: Principles of Clinical and Translational Research I
    Description: First core course covers case control and cohort studies, randomized clinical trials, meta-analysis, grant writing, economic evaluation, searching the scientific literature, using secondary databases, understanding mechanisms of treatment, transforming clinical observations into testable hypotheses, and the ethics of human subjects research.
  • CLTR 5020-F40 – Core II: Statistical Methods in Healthcare
    Description: This course introduces the main concepts and applications of biostatistics through the understanding of distributions and modern statistical analysis methods. A main focus is gaining experience and confidence to analyze biomedical data. The course includes a project in which students choose their own data set to analyze and present the results.
  • CLTR 5359 F40 – Core III: Principles of Clinical and Translational Research III
    Description: Third core course covers research methods, biostatistics and topics in clinical and translational research. It includes instrument development, cross cultural adaptation of research instruments, translational research, secondary data analysis and applied methodologies. The topics also include scientific misinformation and communication as well as writing and presenting scientific information.
  • CLTR 5407-F40 Clinical and Translational Research Practicum
    Description: Provides practical training in the formulation and conduct of clinical and translational research. Specific aspects that will be covered include: the identification of a specific research question and its specification as one or more aims, review of the relevant literature, and specification of the methods to be employed in the conduct of the study, including experience in recruitment and retention of subjects, an IRB application and HIPAA documents preparation. The student will initiate a research project and participate in data collection and analysis, culminating in a report of the findings. These activities will be monitored and mentored by a research advisor who is a member of the Graduate Faculty.

Elective Courses (Fall 2021):

  • BME 6086 Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering (3 credits)
  • ISG 5100 Foundations in Clinical Genetics and Genomics (3 credits)
  • ISG 5101 Principles of Human Embryology and Teratology (3credits)
  • MEDS 5329-F40 Immunobiology I (4 credits)
  • MEDS 5335-F40 Advanced Molecular and Cellular Immunology (4 credits)
  • MEDS 5351-F40 Biochemistry II (3 credits)
  • MEDS 5418-F40 Stem Cells & Regenerative Biology (3 credits)
  • PUBH 5201-F40 Essentials of Social Inequality and Health Disparities (3 credits)
  • PUBH 5403-F40 Health Administration (3 credits)
  • PUBH 5408-F40 Introduction to Epidemiology & Biostatistics I (3 credits)
  • PUBH 5478-F40 Epidemiology of Substance Use Disorders and Psychiatric
    Co-Morbidities (3 credits)
  • PUBH 5480-F40 Clinical and Social Service Systems Research in Alcohol and Addiction Science (3 credits)

Substitutions are allowed with permission/approval by the MCTR Executive Committee.

Time to Complete

All work should be completed within four years of the beginning of study which is defined as the beginning date of the earliest course, wherever taken, listed on the approved Masters Plan of Study. Since the three core courses in clinical and translational research must be taken consecutively, the minimum timeframe to complete the program is 18 months. Therefore, we currently do NOT accept students who would require an inflexible full-time status (e.g., due to visa issues).

Requirements for Graduation

Students must have completed all courses on an approved Plan of Study, submitted final copies of the scientific report and draft grant application required for the final examination, and passed the final examination in order meet the requirements for awarding of the Master of Science degree.

For information on applying for graduation and deadlines, see Steps to a Successful Graduation- Graduate Programs.

Average Annual Number of Classes

Depending on the student’s background and status in the program, the number of credit hours taken in one year may range from 3 to 21. The course of study is tailored to the individual student.

Schools Session Base

The Graduate School runs on a semester basis. Students may also register for Master’s degree credits during the summer.

2021-2022 Academic Calendar

2021-2022 Graduate Tuition and Fees

Application Process

To apply to the MCTR program, you must first submit a letter of intent, a copy of your curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendation to Ms. Lisa Godin via email at godin@uchc.edu. Applicants are strongly encouraged to also include a letter of commitment from a senior scientist stating his or her intention to mentor and supervise the student as a major advisor during the program. These materials will be reviewed by the MCTR Executive/Advisory Committee. If the Committee views you as a suitable candidate for the program, you will be invited for an interview. If the Committee recommends acceptance after the interview, you will be instructed to submit an application through The Graduate School.

The documents needed are as follows:

  1. Application for admission
  2. Residence affidavit
  3. Official transcript from each college or university attended
  4. Official TOEFL or IELTS score if applicable
  5. Letters of recommendation (2 letters of recommendation)
  6. Personal letter of application
  7. Test scores if applicable
  8. Letter of support from prospective major advisor

FAQ: What is the difference between the MCTR and the Certificate Program in Clinical and Translational Research?

The difference between the two Programs is as follows:

The MCTR is a 30-credit program designed to prepare health care professionals with the academic and research skills needed to be independent researchers. Mentored research (i.e., research practicum) is a large and important component of the MCTR.

MCTR Summary of Program Requirements:

Concentration core courses: 9 credits

  • CLTR 5357 Principles of Clinical and Translational Research I
  • CLTR 5020 Statistical Methods in Health Care
  • CLTR 5359 Principles of Clinical and Translational Research III

Research Practicum:  9-12 credits

  • CLTR 5407 Clinical Research Practicum

Elective courses: 9-12 credits

Total credits: 30

The Certificate Program in Clinical and Translational Research is a 9-credit program. Individuals who choose the Certificate Program more likely to be involved in collaborative research than develop independent research. The certificate program will allow individuals to obtain the core competencies in research methods without hands on experience in mentored research.

Certificate Program Summary of Program Requirements:

Concentration core courses: 9 credits

  • CLTR 5357 Principles of Clinical and Translational Research I
  • CLTR 5020 Statistical Methods in Health Care
  • CLTR 5359 Principles of Clinical and Translational Research III

Total credits: 9

Doctor of Medicine/Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research

Introduction

The dual M.D./MCTR Degree Program aims to produce clinical researchers skilled in conducting patient or population-based clinical studies or outcomes research. In one year of full-time study during their fourth year at UConn (after the first three years of medical school), students will earn enough credits to complete the program and be on their way to becoming physician investigators.

Registration Dates

Fall registration begins September and runs through March. Classes typically begin during the last week of August. For the most current class schedule, tuition and fee information, please visit the Registrar’s web page.

Application Process

To apply to the MCTR program, you must first submit a letter of intent, a copy of your curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendation to Ms. Lisa Godin via email at godin@uchc.edu. These materials will be reviewed by the MCTR Advisory Committee. If the Committee views you as a suitable candidate for the program, you will be invited for an interview. If the Committee recommends acceptance after the interview, you will be instructed to submit an application through the Graduate School during your third year of medical school.

The documents needed are as follows:

  1. Application for admission
  2. Residence affidavit
  3. Official transcript from each college or university attended
  4. Official TOEFL or IELTS score if applicable
  5. Letters of recommendation (2 letters of recommendation)
  6. Personal letter of application
  7. Test scores if applicable
  8. Letter of support from prospective major advisor

Educational Requirements/Admission Criteria

For admission to the dual Doctor of Medicine/Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research Degree Program (M.D./MCTR), students must first be accepted by both the UConn School of Medicine and the Graduate School. Matriculated M.D. students should apply for admission to the program one year before the selected course sequencing.

Course of Study

In the dual M.D./MCTR Degree Program 30 credits are required for the MCTR degree, six of which are from the M.D. curriculum. The remaining 24 credits include: 9 credits from three core courses on the Principles of Clinical and Translational Research, 9 credits of mentored research, and at least 6 credits of elective courses from a list of approved courses in the MCTR curriculum. M.D./MCTR students will be permitted to enroll in the first and third semester courses simultaneously so that all course work can be completed in one academic year.

Dual degree students need to identify a research mentor/major advisor.  If a mentor has not been identified by the start of the program, Dr. Helen Wu (zwu@uchc.edu) will serve as the student’s transitional advisor and assist in the selection of a permanent mentor.

Required Courses:

  • CLTR 5357 F40 – Core I: Translational Research I
  • CLTR 5020-F40 – Core II: Statistical Methods in Healthcare
  • CLTR 5359 F40 – Core III: Translational Research III
  • CLTR 5407-F40 Clinical and Translational Research Practicum

Elective Courses:

  • CLTR 5360: Critical Issues Involving Science Publication: The Scientific Review
  • CLTR 5099: Independent Study
  • PUBH 5497-F45: Epidemiology of Substance Use Disorders and Psychiatric Co-morbidities
  • PUBH 5497-F44: Introduction to Community Health Issues and Research
  • PUBH 5431-F40: Public Health Research Methods
  • MEDS 6498: Special Topics in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • MEDS 5309: Molecular Basis of Disease
  • MEDS 5330-F40: Immunobiology II

Students must also submit a report in journal format, a grant proposal, and give an oral presentation followed by questions and evaluation by program faculty consistent with the format of a thesis defense.

Time to Complete

The dual M.D./MCTR Degree Program is five years in length, with both the M.D. and the MCTR degrees conferred together after completion of both programs. The MCTR degree requirements will be completed during the student’s 4th year of medical school.

 

Certificate Program in Clinical and Translational Research

Introduction

The certificate program focuses on the preparation of individuals with established, terminal degrees in a health related field (M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., D.D.S., or D.M.D.) or enrolled and in good standing in such a terminal degree program. The purpose of the certificate program is to familiarize the student with the approaches and methods of clinical and translational research so that they may better serve the community as researchers, teachers, public health administrators, clinicians, and industry employees competent to carry out the broad health mission of the State of Connecticut. The certificate program is intended for those persons who are unlikely to develop independent research but would benefit from an understanding of how such research is conducted.

Program Requirements

The certificate program will require students to take 9 credits of core coursework. The eligibility criteria for the certificate program are the same as those for the Master’s degree. The certificate program will allow the student to obtain the core competencies in research methods, but without the hands-on experience in mentored research.

The certificate in clinical and translation research is conferred when the 3 core courses (2 in clinical research methods and 1 in basic or intermediate biostatistics) are satisfactorily completed. The certificate will be granted by The Graduate School.

rev. 9/21