Selected Areas of Concentration (AOC) Summaries and Contact Information

Listed below are some selected Areas of Concentration that have been established. Many others are in different stages of development by the faculty. Students are encouraged to consider developing their own Area of Concentration.

Updated February 7, 2017


Addiction and Trauma in Special Populations

Addiction Medicine

Aerospace Medicine, Space Genetics and Technology

Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disease

Cancer Biology and Therapy

Cardiometabolic Disease and Prevention

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Communication Disorders

Community and Public Health

Community Health Issues in Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Trauma in Special Populations

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)

Cutaneous Biology and Dermatological Research

Development and Human Disease

Disease-Specific Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

Epilepsy

Geriatric Medicine

Global Health

Global Health Diplomacy (Sub-AOC for Global Health)

Health and Human Rights

Health Informatics

Healthcare Policy and Research

High Risk Pregnancy

Infectious Diseases

Integrative Health and Medicine

Medical Education

Medical Ethics and the Humanities

Musculoskeletal Medicine

Nanomedicine

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurogenetics

Neuroinflammation

NeuroRestorative Medicine

Neurovascular Biology and Stroke

Palliative Care in Women's Health

Palliative Medicine

Pediatric Neurooncology

Precision Medicine and Computational Biology

Psychiatry, Neurodevelopment, and Behavioral Sciences

Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response

Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

Rehabilitation Medicine

Reproductive Medicine and Infertility

Scholarly Activity in Surgery

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Systems Neurology

Transplantation Medicine

Vascular Biology and Vascular Medicine



Addiction and Trauma in Special Populations

Focus: This AOC focuses on the elements of patient care and clinical research for individuals with substance use disorders and co-existing diagnoses including PTSD, other psychiatric illnesses, and associated medical problems including HCV and HIV infections. (There is a separate AOC on Addiction Medicine with a different focus; please refer to it for description.)

Significance: Addiction and trauma are of great public health significance because of their prevalence in the US population. The problem will be approached in this AOC through multidisciplinary learning and research, including diagnostic interviewing, treatment modalities, detoxification strategies, and measuring outcomes of treatment.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the pharmacology and ethnographic aspects of alcohol, opiates, cocaine, psychedelic drugs, cigarettes, marijuana, and other substances in individuals of different ages, genders, and cultural context impacts on the success of physician intervention
  • To understand how drug use varies between individuals and over time
  • To participate and receive mentorship in ongoing research projects

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Brandon Aden (bra2002@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Ann Beeder (anb2007@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Mirella Salvatore (mis2053@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Carol Weiss (cjweiss@optonline.net)




Addiction Medicine

Focus: This is a research-intensive AOC with areas of interest that include molecular modeling of drug receptors; cellular studies of synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity; behavioral analyses of the effects of stress; anxiety and drug tolerance; development of analgesic medications; and treatment of addictive behavior.

Significance: Addiction is a condition that involves distortions in neuronal, genetic and social functioning. Addiction medicine therefore has to deal not only with the treatment of biological and clinical symptomatology, but also its economic, sociological and ethical implications.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize the symptoms of addictive behavior
  • Identify the neurobiological mechanisms leading to addiction
  • Describe experimental paradigms for studying addiction
  • Carry out a scholarly project that makes a defined contribution to the field

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Teresa A. Milner (tmilner@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Bernice Grafstein (bgraf@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Charles E. Inturrisi (ceintur@med.cornell.edu)




Aerospace Medicine, Space Genetics and Technology

Significance: While Space Medicine is more narrowly defined as the application of science and technology to the prevention and control of exposure to the environmental hazards that may cause astronaut ill health, we now appreciate that solutions to the health challenges of living and working in space also have potential applications to the delivery of medical care on Earth. Moreover, the technological advances requisite for proper functioning of diagnostic and research technologies in microgravity and space can aid work on Earth, since reductions in size, cost, and weight of diagnostic and genetic technologies enable greater portability and accessibility.

An extraordinary variety of health hazards have been recognized in space travel. These include decompression sickness, immune dysfunction, loss of bone density, muscle mass, vision, and possible cognitive function, sleep disorders, and cardiac rhythm disturbances. Applications to human health on Earth may include novel rehabilitation strategies, bloodless surgery, needle-free and lab-on-a-chip blood and chemical analysis, nanopore-based DNA/RNA sequencing, improved knowledge of aerosol inhalation, optical computer recognition of stress, fatigue, and affect, new approaches to reducing bone loss and fracture risk, sensorimotor adaptation, microbiome and biofilm engineering, and smart medical systems and technology.

Goals and Learning Objectives: To understand and possibly contribute to the growing knowledge of mechanisms of human adaptation to space travel, human hazards in space travel, and the application of space biomedical research and technology to human life on Earth.

Core Activities and Practical Experiences:

  • Site visits to Johnson Space Center in Houston and other NASA facilities
  • Web-based educational material recommended by the faculty
  • Coordination with related programs, such as the Consortium for Space Genetics (https://spacegenetics.hms.harvard.edu/) and the NASA Twins Study (https://www.nasa.gov/twins-study/reseach)
  • Engineering of complex environmental systems, microbiomes, and/or biofilms for protective purposes (http://bkbioreactor.com/ and http://bio.academany.org/)
  • The study of extremophiles as models for unique adaptations for potential life in extreme environments and on other worlds (http://www.extrememicrobiome.org/)
  • Seminars and lectures on the latest genomics and technological advancements through the Advanced Technology Assessment (ATA) Core
  • Journal clubs from the latest published work
  • Research conferences at NASA and JPL, and AGBT/ASHG

Examples of Suggested Student Projects:

  • The landscape of DNA and RNA methylation before, during, and after human space travel – transcriptional and epitranscriptome changes induced during space travel.
  • Epigenetic studies of identical twins with prolonged stay on the International Space Station.
  • Inter-individual microbiome response and convergence in microgravity
  • Development of DNA/RNA sequencing nanopore methods in microgravity
  • Computational integration of complex biomedical data to discern astronaut risk
  • Human genome and microbiome engineering to reinforce protective genetic networks (e.g. DNA repair mechanisms, circadian rhythms, bone density).
  • Development of robotics and remote sensing technology (http://www.honeybeerobotics.com)

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Christopher Mason (chm2042@med.cornell.edu)




Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disease

Focus: The Rheumatology Division of the Department of Medicine, located at Hospital for Special Surgery, and members of the HSS Research Division, address mechanisms of several prototype autoimmune and inflammatory diseases through basic laboratory research focused on mechanisms of innate and adaptive immune system activation and function, cytokine-mediated and epigenetic regulation of macrophage function and differentiation to bone resorbing osteoclasts, and mediators of tissue inflammation and damage. Systemic lupus erythematosus, the prototype systemic autoimmune disease, is a particular focus of study, along with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis and systemic vasculitis. Extensive translational research conducted collaboratively by laboratory investigators, clinical investigators and clinicians applies investigation of biologic samples from well-defined patient cohorts to gain new insights into mechanisms of disease and identification of therapeutic targets. Rheumatologists also collect demographic and clinical information from patients with early inflammatory arthritis to understand the factors that predict progression of disease. Data from patients with autoimmune or inflammatory disease who require surgery are analyzed to identify predictors of medical complications or surgical outcome. Novel therapeutics are tested in patients with autoimmune disease through investigator-initiated and sponsored clinical trials.

Significance: Systemic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases include some of the most complex and challenging in all of medicine. In these diseases genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers act on the immune system to generate immune alterations, autoimmunity and inflammation. The result is often widespread tissue and organ damage.

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Mary K. Crow (crowm@hss.edu)




Cancer Biology and Therapy

Focus: A full range of cancer-related topics is offered under this AOC, including basic cancer cell biology, translational research relevant to specific cancers, development and application of experimental therapeutics, and population-based approaches to cancer prevention and healthcare delivery. Cancer research covers a broad spectrum of cell biology, genetics, genomics, epigenomics, biochemistry, epidemiology, experimental therapeutics, clinical trials, as well as issues of public health, cancer prevention, early detection, and patient care.

Significance: Cancer is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 85 in the U.S. Breakthroughs in understanding molecular pathways that drive carcinogenesis, combined with genome-wide analysis of patient samples, offer tremendous promise for drug development, treatment choices based on molecular profiling, and a new generation of cancer-specific therapies. In addition, recent progress in understanding the underlying biology of metastasis, tumor microenvironment, and the role of stem cells in cancer, provides new insights into the complexity of this disease. The AOC in Cancer Biology and Therapy will encompass the spectrum of disciplines involved in cancer research, drug development, and patient care, and allow students to choose individual areas of special interest for original research and scholarly projects.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To appreciate the multi-disciplinary aspects of a state-of-the-art cancer center dedicated to translating emerging research findings to the improved care and treatment of cancer patients.
  • To provide students with in-depth exposure to a specific aspect of contemporary cancer research and pursue an original research project under faculty guidance.

Sub-topics of Cancer AOC:

  • Cancer Genetics & Epigenetics
  • Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling
  • Cancer Metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Obesity and Cancer
  • Hematologic Malignancies
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Brain and Pediatric Cancers
  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Anthony Brown (amcbrown@med.cornell.edu)




Cardiometabolic Disease and Prevention

Focus: With both research- and patient-based activities, the Cardiometabolic Disease and Prevention AOC is a longitudinal program that includes all four years of medical college. Students will emerge from the AOC positioned to become leaders in Cardiometabolic disease and prevention, and its sequelae through a series of interactive sessions, community outreach projects, journal clubs, and mentored scholarly activities.

Significance: Obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, and coronary artery disease are leading comorbidities in the current American medical system. Students who work within the Cardiometabolic Disease and Prevention AOC will have the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills that will position them well to work with the vast number of patients at risk for or with these conditions, to lead outreach and preventative efforts, conduct research, and be thought leaders in this area.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Teach future physicians about cardiometabolic risk, its epidemiology, and impact on human health
  • Learn effective skills to help
  • Identify interventions and provide training in the skills necessary to diagnose and treat cardiometabolic risk

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Keith LaScalea (kal9006@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. J. David Warren (jdw2003@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Maura Frank (mdfrank@med.cornell.edu)




Cardiothoracic Surgery

Focus: Traditionally, outcome-based research and studies of basic physiology have been an intrinsic part of the practice of cardiac surgery, in an attempt to optimize outcomes and develop new therapeutic interventions. In thoracic surgery, outcome-based clinical research is also a critical pillar for studies of both lung and esophageal cancer. The division also offers research opportunities in tumor biology, cancer biomarkers, and of the tumor microenvironment.

Significance: Cardio-thoracic surgery is among the most complex surgical specialties due to its technical complexity and to the profound physiologic implications for the patients. The unique setting of Cardiothoracic surgery provides an unparalleled opportunity to understand and study cardiovascular, pulmonary, and upper gastrointestinal physiology for students of any level.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

The goal is to provide the student with interdisciplinary expertise in:
  • Study of the physiology of the heart and the great vessels with particular reference to the surgical implications
  • Study of the anatomy and physiology of the lungs and pulmonary circulation.
  • Study of the anatomy and physiology of the esophagus.
  • Study of basic tumor biology and genetics and of their relationship with the tumor microenvironment.
  • Outcomes research in patients undergoing or submitted to surgical or endovascular procedure on the heart or the great vessels.
  • Outcomes research relating to surgical strategies and techniques in lung and esophageal cancer.
  • Development of a basic understanding of the potential and limitations of statistical analysis in clinical research, particularly as it relates to the use of large databases.

Examples of projects/products:

  • Outcome of patients submitted to aortic operations.
  • Computational modeling of flow in the ascending aorta
  • Vasoreactivity of the radial artery
  • Distribution of flow during retrograde cerebral perfusion
  • Meta-analysis on the comparison between different conduits used for coronary surgery
  • Physiology of the aortic root and ascending aorta after different type of valve-sparing operations
  • Basic research utilizing annotated clinical specimens from our Thoracic Surgery Biobank, for example an analysis of mutation burden in early stage lung cancer.
  • Basic research evaluating biomarkers for detection of early lung cancer, for example metabolomics to identify metabolites in the pulmonary venous blood of lung cancer patients.
  • Comparative research regarding limited resection versus lobectomy for early stage lung cancer.
  • Big database analysis to evaluate factors affecting outcomes, cost, length of stay, and readmission following cardiac, pulmonary, and esophageal procedures.

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Leonard Girardi (lngirard@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Brendon Stiles (brs9035@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Mario Gaudino (mfg9004@med.cornell.edu)




Communication Disorders

Focus: This AOC will prepare students to be future leaders in any one of the many diverse facets of communication disorders as seen through the prism of otolaryngology, otology, laryngology, speech pathology, pediatric otolaryngology, audiology and ophthalmology. This will be achieved through a longitudinal program featuring special lectures, invitation to weekly conferences and specialized conferences (based on specific interests), and student-centered mentorship with opportunities to pursue research ranging from investigating the basic science of cochlear function to clinical hearing, voice, speech, vision and interpersonal aspect of communication.

Significance: The richness of human experience is based on communication with others. Communication disorders can render an individual isolated, unproductive and dysfunctional in society. While tremendous progress has been made in the understanding of hearing, speech, and vision both in the clinical and basic science realms, there are innumerable areas of fertile investigation.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the breadth of receptive and expressive communication disorders
  • To identify an area of interest worthy of exploration
  • To produce a meaningful research project

Core Activities:

  • Didactic sessions-based on area of interest
  • Preceptorship Program (outpatient): Placement in an outpatient physician’s office based on area of interest for once weekly shadowing an otolaryngologist or an ophthalmologist.
  • Preceptorship Program  (inpatient): elective time in a hospital based setting depending on area of interest, including following patients to the operating room.
  • Weekly Otolaryngology Radiology Conference and case discussions
  • Weekly Head and Neck Cancer Multidisciplinary Conference
  • Weekly inpatient and operative review conference: Mortality & Morbidity
  • Weekly conference with rotating faculty member
  • Weekly Otolaryngology Grand Rounds, and Ophthalmology Grand Rounds
  • Weekly Otolaryngology Journal Club
  • Weekly Multidisciplinary Ophthalmology and Neuroradiology Rounds
  • Career seminars: informal sessions with local or visiting faculty over breakfast, lunch or dinner with faculty to learn about how they incorporated the treatment of individuals with communications disorders in their careers.
  • Annual periodic CME courses on general otolaryngology, audiology, laryngology, and ophthalmology

Practical Experiences:

  • Participation in the care of patients with communications disorders including outpatient and inpatient surgical experiences
  • Identification of a research question of interest followed by formulation of a study design
  • Presentation to the IRB, collection of data, data synthesis and writing of a research paper which will be presented to the department

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Samuel H. Selesnick (shselesn@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Grace Sun (grs2003@med.cornell.edu)




Community and Public Health

Focus: This AOC focuses on health care inequities and disparities and the interaction of social determinants and health outcomes. Students will participate in interactive didactic session, mentored research, and field experiences tailored to the student's personal interest.

Significance: The population is much more diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, language, and age. Reducing inequities and disparities is an important component of reducing differences in outcomes.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To examine key social determinants and how they impact health outcomes and lead to health disparities
  • To recognize the influence of community where patients live and the social determinants inherent in each community
  • To understand how to collaborate with key stakeholders to translate asset maps, needs assessments, and qualitative data to intervention



Community Health Issues in Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Trauma in Special Populations

Focus: This AOC focuses on the clinical and socio-medical management of caring for individuals with substance abuse disorders and co-existing diagnoses (e.g., psychiatric illness, HIV, Hepatitis C, Post-traumatic Stress Disorders -PTSD). Understanding the pharmacologic and socio-medical aspects of alcohol, opiates, cocaine, psychedelic drugs, marijuana, and tobacco smoking are essential to providing appropriate medical and psychiatric care to those with substance use disorders. Students will participate in interactive didactic session and mentored research tailored to the student's personal interest.

Significance: Addiction and trauma continue to be prevalent social and medical issues in society. Poly-drug use complicates the treatment of substance abusers, especially those with PTSD. Providing medical and psychiatric care to those with substance use disorders include diagnostic interviewing, treatment modalities, detoxification strategies, managing relapses, measuring outcomes in treatment and synthesizing care into an integrated treatment model.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To learn how to conduct a diagnostic interview for substance use disorders
  • To understand different treatment modalities, detoxification strategies, and management of relapses among those with substance use disorders.
  • To understand the clinical management of substance use problems, including alcohol, nicotine, opiates, sedative hypnotics, cocaine, stimulants, and other drugs
  • To learn how to care for patients with substance use disorders and co-existing diagnoses including PTSD and other psychiatric illnesses

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Ann Beeder (anb2007@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Brandon Aden (bra2002@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Mirella Salvatore (mis2053@med.cornell.edu)




Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)

Focus: The CER AOC focuses on the conduct and synthesis of research comparing the benefits and harms of different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor health conditions in "real world" settings with the objective of improving health outcomes by developing and disseminating evidence-based information to patients, clinicians, and other decision-makers about those interventions that are most effective and for which patients. Defined interventions include medications, procedures, medical devices and technologies, diagnostic testing, behavior change, and delivery system strategies.

Significance: CER is particularly important given the emphasis on cost effective, high quality health care delivery. Health care policy and health care reform are important issues being discussed and debated, and CER is an integral component of this discussion.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To become fluent in the aspects of CER
  • To understand how health care policy using CER is designed to improve efficiency and effectiveness in health care delivery and outcomes
  • To conduct a mentored research project

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Art Sedrakyan (ars2013@medd.cornell.edu)

Dr. Stephen Lyman (stl2017@medd.cornell.edu)

Dr. Alvin Mushlin (aim2001@medd.cornell.edu)

Dr. Bruce Schackman (brs2006@medd.cornell.edu)




Cutaneous Biology and Dermatological Research

Focus: Dermatologic research comprises a broad range of basic science, clinical, and epidemiological research areas. Of course, many research endeavors encompass more than one of these categories. A full range of dermatologic research-related topics is offered under this AOC, including physiology and pathophysiology of the skin, biomarker development, cancer, inflammatory diseases, viral infection, neuro-cutaneous-immunology, skin cancer screening (epidemiology and novel techniques), and nail pathology (e.g., clinical trials).

Significance: Dermatology encompasses diseases that mainly affects the skin (e.g., skin cancer) and diseases of the skin that are components of systemic diseases (e.g., psoriasis). Therefore, exposure to dermatologic research enables students to gain important skills and master key concepts that are applicable to many areas of medicine. Many therapeutic agents for the treatment of skin disorders are topical and there is a great deal of development activity in this area due to the low barrier for FDA approval of topical medicines. Finally, because of the interplay between basic science, clinical research, and epidemiology, the AOC in dermatologic research will provide students with the opportunity to choose from a variety of disciplines and areas for their scholarly project/research.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To appreciate the multi-disciplinary aspects of state-of-the-art dermatologic research and how it impacts our understanding of the normal physiology of the skin, pathophysiology of disease states as well as the development of biomarkers, clinical interventions, and skin cancer screening.
  • To provide students with in-depth exposure to a specific areas of dermatologic research and the opportunity to pursue an original research project under faculty guidance.

Ongoing Research Topics:

Skin disease biomarker development (1)
Skin cancer, basic science (1,3)
Dendritic cell biology (2)
Inflammasome (2)
Viral infection/oncolytic therapy (2)
Neuro-cutaneous-immunology (3)
Nail diseases (clinical trials/research) (4)
Imaging of melanocytic lesions (5)
Epidemiology of pigmented lesions/melanoma (5)

Contact Faculty:

Jonathan Zippin, M.D., Ph.D. (jhzippin@med.cornell.edu)




Development and Human Disease

Focus: This AOC will provide students the opportunity to use the tools available in experimental developmental biology to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms of complex human diseases. Typically, projects will involve the use of appropriate animal models, cell culture, and stem cells.

Significance: Molecular pathways that are known to be essential for the development of multicellular organisms are recognized to also play important roles in many human disease processes, including cancer.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To acquire in-depth understanding of the principles of developmental biology
  • To learn basic skills including molecular biology techniques, cell culture, and imaging techniques

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Anthony Brown (amcbrown@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Mary Goldring (goldringm@hss.edu)

Dr. Katherine A. Hajjar (khajjar@med.cornell.edu) - Pediatrics

Dr. Heidi Stuhlmann (hes2011@med.cornell.edu)




Disease-Specific Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Focus: In order to be an effective physician, every student must have an understanding the epidemiology of diseases as well as a solid grounding in biostatistics. Further, as "personalized medicine" gains importance in the practice of medicine, the epidemiology of diseases also assumes greater importance. Students will participate in interactive didactic session, online training modules, mentored research, and field experiences tailored to the student's personal interest.

Significance: Data from clinical trials, epidemiologic studies, and large data sets are viewed as an important means to understand the scientific rationale for medical practice. Students must have the skills to analyze and appraise studies and apply the best evidence in their practice of medicine.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To become fluent in the aspects of research design, especially clinical trials and meta-analysis as well as analysis of large databases
  • To understand how epidemiology and biostatistics can improve efficiency and effectiveness in health care delivery and outcomes

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Linda Gerber (lig2002@med.cornell.edu)




Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

Focus: Students will become familiar with the challenges of producing high quality research in a time sensitive, dynamic environment where investigative needs are great, but challenges are many. Students will have the choice of joining ongoing or developing novel research projects or other scholarly activity directed at evaluating or informing care practices for patients visiting the adult and/or pediatric emergency departments. They will be encouraged to submit abstracts and complete manuscripts or other narratives to document their efforts. Development and maturation of academic diaries are encouraged. These skills will be valuable regardless of the ultimate field of post-graduate training pursued.

Significance: Emergency medicine and critical care serve a diverse population of adult and pediatric patients twenty fours hours/day. As the demographics and complexity of presenting patients evolve, hospitals serve sicker and sicker patients. The initial assessments and care in the field and emergency department are critical to patient outcomes. Understanding the unique needs of this population and public health prevention efforts to reduce disease burden, are imperative to providing adequate care.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To familiarize students with the flow of patients through the ED, transitions of care, and common presentations of illness through direct observation
  • To perform self-directed learning modules gaining familiarity with assessments, stabilization of critically ill patients, and transitions of care to intensivists, hospitalists and other specialty providers
  • To learn about research design, human research protections and data gathering
  • To develop a respect and appreciation for this vulnerable population and their families
  • To explore ethical considerations in performing research in patients unable to provide consent
  • To experience the collegial interaction among multiple providers from diverse disciplines required to diagnose and care for the acute undifferentiated patient

Examples of projects/products: These can include, but are not limited to: public health injury prevention, pre-hospital care, patient education, or ED or ICU evaluation and interventions. The list below is examples only.

  • Diastolic depression as a predictor of sepsis in elderly patients with UTI
  • Impact of pre-hospital administration of hydroxocobalamin on clinical care of patients admitted to the burn ICU
  • Evaluation of rapid response activations to identify preventable medication related events
  • Development of an educational video to help parents understand the risks unintentional pediatric poisoning related to visiting family members
  • Surveillance of emerging psychoactive drug threats through regular communication with EMS

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Rama Rao | (rar2023@med.cornell.edu)




Epilepsy

Focus: The intent of the Epilepsy AOC is to provide the student with a comprehensive awareness of the diagnostic methods, current surgical treatment options, related outcomes, and future advancements in diagnosing and treating patients with epilepsy.
The Comprehensive Epilepsy Program provides exposure to all of these elements of diagnostic and treatment modalities in epilepsy. Additionally, current research and clinical expertise within the Departments of Neurological Surgery, Neurology, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology allow access to ongoing innovation in the field. The enrolled student in this AOC will learn the methods of imaging diagnostics, including MRI, PET, SPECT, and MEG. Students will learn the basic relevance and method of interpretation of EEG, the method of neuropsychological evaluation, and the assimilation of this information to understand surgical approaches and their indications. Students will also gain exposure to the neuropathology of common epileptogenic lesions as well as techniques for harvesting brain tissue.
Students will be afforded the opportunity to work with a mentor aligned with their interest to plan participation in patient rounds, working conferences to address treatment options, as well as to observe relevant surgeries and pathology sessions during their rotation. Students will also have the opportunity to observe laboratory research performed by Dr. Theodore Schwartz in optical imaging of neocortical epilepsy.
Presentation of contemporary publications in the form a journal club at clinical management meetings will be expected.

Significance: Diagnosing the cause of seizures is a complex process requiring a multi-disciplinary approach including neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, and neuropathology. Seizures can result from congenital disorders such as cortical dysplasia, brain tumors, stroke, trauma, or hemispheric disorders such as Rasmussen’s encephalitis, Sturge-Weber, and Hemimegalencephaly. Based on the area of the brain involved, a patient’s seizures can present as staring spells, shaking, odd smells, feelings of nausea, or pain. Finally, depending on the location and cause, certain types of epilepsy can be treated with medication, with surgery, with neuromodulation, or with laser therapy. Assessment of the cause and potential treatment therefore requires the analysis of imaging studies by neuroradiology, EEG by neurology, the clinical effect of the seizures by neuropsychology, and the assimilation of all diagnostic and pathologic information to determine the best treatment approach by all disciplines and neurosurgery.

Examples of projects: Subdural Grids in Infants: Predictors of Outcome and Monitoring Success
Laser Therapy for Epilepsy: Post-Treatment MR characteristics and Success
Use of DBS in Epilepsy Surgery: Targeting the Anterior Thalamic Nucleus

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Caitlin Hoffman (ceh2003@med.cornell.edu)




Geriatric Medicine

Focus: The AOC in Geriatric medicine will offer students a broad exposure to the field of Geriatrics through core didactic lectures as well as participation in a variety of clinical experiences.

Significance: The demographic imperative of a rapidly aging population has made Geriatric medicine an increasingly important area of study. Geriatrics embraces the medical and psychosocial issues challenging older adults with particular focus on function, maximizing quality of life while living with chronic illness .Geriatrics is a rich area of study that affords students the opportunity to explore areas such as neurodegenerative disorders, rehabilitation medicine, psychiatry, pharmacology and palliative medicine. Exposure to the interdisciplinary approach to patient care that incorporates social work, OT, PT, psychiatry and other makes Geriatrics a unique learning experience for students.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the common Geriatrics syndromes and how they impact on the quality of life of older adults
  • To identify the components of a functional assessment and appreciate its importance in caring for older adults
  • To recognize and begin to distinguish between the common causes of cognitive decline (depression, delirium and dementia) by demonstrating use of the MOCA (Montreal cognitive Assessment tool) and GDS (Geriatric Depression Scale)
  • To appreciate the diversity in aging population and to avoid ageist attitudes
  • To appreciate the importance of working within a multi-disciplinary team
  • To appreciate the importance of obtaining advanced directives

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Veronica Lo Faso (vel2001@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Ronald Adelman (rdadelma@med.cornell.edu)




Global Health

Focus: The Global Health AOC is designed to prepare WCMC students to be future leaders in global health through a longitudinal elective program featuring didactic course work, experiential learning, and a mentored pathway for engaging with resource-poor communities. Students will participate in interactive didactic session, mentored research, and field experiences tailored to the student's personal interest.

Significance: It is imperative for medical students to acquire knowledge of the global burden of disease including understanding factors (social, behavioral, political, and economic) that contribute to disease in developed and developing countries as well as understanding sociocultural differences, beliefs, and norms of their patients and how these factors influence morbidity and mortality.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To acquire a perspective of the transnational, global nature of health and disease
  • To identify global health priorities
  • To examine how ethnic, social, behavioral, economic, sociocultural, and political factors influence morbidity and mortality

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Madelon Finkel (maf2011@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Satchit Balsari (satchitbalsari@gmail.com)

Dr. Daniel Fitzgerald (dwf2001@med.cornell.edu)




Global Health Diplomacy (Sub-AOC for Global Health)

Purpose: This AOC will provide an overview of the U.S. Government's mission to work with academic medical centers to develop policies and programs aimed at assisting resource-restrained countries in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and to manage the threat of non-communicable diseases (cancer, heart disease, diabetes).

In addition, students will learn about the "tradecraft" side of health diplomacy in order to appreciate the role of health organizations in their efforts to combat disease.

Significance: There is a growing trend in the U.S. to offer opportunities to the next generation of physicians to train in the management of global health issues, particularly when these issues become urgent and/or a U.S. strategic priority. Students will be learn how to function as a health attaché, and to learn how to approach government-to-government negotiations involving bilateral or multi-lateral science agreements related to the global burden of disease. The development of health technology innovations as a tool to managing global health goals and solutions will be emphasized as they relate to science diplomacy, i.e.,learning how to negotiate with countries who want U.S. support to address their national health agendas and understanding global health crisis navigation.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To acquire a perspective of the global health burden in this decade
  • To learn the concepts of health diplomacy as it relates to crisis management; and, to learn the strategies of dealing with other countries who have similar interest as the U.S. in disease prevention
  • To provide the optimal skill-sets to convince health care professionals at the international level to correctly navigate through a health crisis

Contact Faculty:

Dr. David P. Hajjar (dphajjar@med.cornell.edu)




Health and Human Rights

Focus: The Health and Human Rights AOC is designed to help prepare medical students to become future leaders in the field. They will work with at-risk populations who are made vulnerable by the civil, political, legal, economic, cultural and other social determinants of unjust conditions that foster human rights violations and the resulting negative impact on their health. Students can play an active role in developing an individualized learning plan with close faculty supervision and mentorship. Students may have the opportunity to work on ongoing collaborative projects are being developed with the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights (WCCHR), as well as other local and regional partners such as Physicians for Human Rights, NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene/Correctional Health Services, NGOs working with victims of trafficking, and Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA).

Significance: Victims of human rights violations experience a wide variety of abuses and ongoing trauma that lead to a significant burden of under-diagnosed and undertreated medical and psychiatric illnesses. These populations may include survivors of torture, war-related trauma, gang-related or other violence, asylum seekers, survivors of female genital mutilation, prisoners, victims of trafficking and other exploitation, migrants, minorities, and other vulnerable groups and victims of human rights violations. Physicians can play an important role as investigators, educators, and advocates to improve identification, diagnosis and treatment for such populations, and also play a role in preventing and ameliorating the conditions that allow for such human rights abuses to occur.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

Skills:

  • Learn interviewing and forensic medical evaluation skills necessary for the physical, psychiatric, and gynecological evaluation of survivors of torture and asylum seekers. Learn to write a medico-legal affidavit documenting the narrative history and supporting forensic medical/psychiatric evidence of specific cases.
  • Develop research skills critical for developing and executing a research project in Health and Human Rights.  Examples may include literature/systematic reviews, quantitative/qualitative research methods, survey design, education/curriculum evaluation and other projects.

Knowledge:

  • Develop a functional knowledge of immigration and asylum law as it related to victims of trafficking, asylum seekers/survivors of torture and migrants.
  • Develop a multidisciplinary fund of knowledge in Health and Human Rights that incorporates medicine, public health, sociology, economics and law, and that can serve as a powerful lens for studying and improving the health of vulnerable populations.
  • Attain specialized knowledge regarding the conditions of individuals and populations suffering from specific human rights violations (i.e. prisoners, trafficking victims, survivors of torture/war trauma/discrimination/abuse, persecuted groups/minorities, etc…)

Attitudes:

  • Cultural competency: building awareness of and sensitivity to vulnerable populations (ethnic minorities, women facing violence, LGBT communities), global human rights issues, and the refugee/asylum community.
  • Adopt behaviors and attitudes that incorporate multidisciplinary approaches to addressing matters of individual and population health.
  • Enhanced awareness of factors that lead to improved empathy, self-care and professional growth and satisfaction while avoiding or better managing issues of stress, vicarious trauma and burn-out.

Core Activities and Practical Experiences:

  • Basic asylum evaluation training within the first year (Fall and Spring)
  • iHuman virtual patient training or PBL session (evaluation simulation) in the first year (required)
  • Readings: WCCHR training manual, required – available online; the Istanbul Protocol, recommended – available online; Examining Asylum Seekers (by Physicians for Human Rights), recommended – copy can be found in the WCMC library.  Additional reading plans/syllabi compiled based on specific areas of interest.
  • Student debrief session within the first two years (one required, offered 2x/ year)
  • Advanced training sessions available all years, e.g. – advanced asylum law, LGBT/asylum, immigration detention, correctional health, etc… (recommended, offered several times per year)
  • Completion of a scholarly project within the third or fourth year.  Possible option to audit courses in Human Rights and Social Justice through the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs in Ithaca and participate in Capstone projects.
  • Encouraged attendance at relevant WCMC lectures/Grand Rounds (i.e. David Rogers Colloquium, Medicine/Global Health Grand Rounds, Health Policy Grand Rounds, etc…) as well as local/regional/national meetings (Physicians for Human Rights, Consortium of Universities in Global Health,
  • Possible projects with the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene/Correctional Health Services on topics related to inmate health (i.e. chronic/non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases/HIV/HCV, mental health, etc…)

Example Projects:

  • Analysis of ethnic and social demographics of LGBT asylum seekers in NY
  • Creation of resource manuals identifying legal, medical, and social services available for asylum seekers
  • Development of novel methods to train medical students and professionals to conduct asylum evaluations
  • Review of historical, legal, medical, and human rights literature to identify changes in human rights and patterns in asylum over time.
  • Gender based violence study (already presented). A follow-up study on the evaluation of female genital mutilation and domestic violence.
  • Develop research programs identifying risk factors for among victims of domestic and international trafficking.  Conduct research, identifying barriers to accessing care or assistance among trafficking victims.  Develop evidence-based screening tools and education modules for practitioners to improve awareness and ability to identify at-risk patients.

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Joseph Shin (jos9223@med.cornell.edu)




Health Informatics

Focus: Health Informatics is the scientific discipline that studies the effective use of information technology in clinical care and population health, such as electronic health records and automatic disease surveillance. Measures of effectiveness of information technology include how well it is adopted, how easy it is to use, how well it supports efficiency, how much it improves health quality, and how much money it saves. This AOC provides training in how to study information technology in health and healthcare, and how to use the data produced by these systems to inform health policy and clinical decision-making. Students select from a variety of experiences, including seminars in the Center for Healthcare Informatics and Policy, informatics seminars in Clinical and Translational Science Center, interactive didactic sessions and online training modules in the Masters of Science program in Health Informatics, faculty meetings in the Division of Health Informatics, laboratory meetings of Health Informatics faculty, mentored research, and structured field experiences.

Significance: The scientific application of information technology has the potential to: improve health care quality and safety; increase the efficiency of health care and public health service delivery; improve the public health information infrastructure; facilitate clinical and consumer decision-making; and build health skills and knowledge. Health informatics is viewed as being critical to understand and address population health outcomes, health care quality, and health disparities.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To become fluent in the scientific principles of Health Informatics
  • To understand how health information technology can improve quality, efficiency and effectiveness in clinical care and population health
  • To conduct a mentored research project

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Stephen Johnson (johnsos@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Jessica Ancker (jsa7002@med.cornell.edu)




Healthcare Policy and Research

Focus: This AOC will make students to understand key issues in U.S. health care policy and will provide training in the study of effective ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high quality, affordable health care, with special emphasis on innovative models of payment and organization and on innovative processes to improve care.

Significance: Work in our department is directly relevant to ongoing issues in healthcare reform. This AOC should be relevant for any student who wants to understand the U.S. health care system and in particular for students who think that they might want to make helping to improve the system be part of their career.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand what types of organization of hospitals and physicians, given what kinds of incentives, using what kinds of processes, provide better quality care
  • To understand how research on the health care system is done
  • To understand key issues in the U.S. health care system

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Madelon Finkel (maf2011@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Lawrence Casalino (lac2021@med.cornell.edu) - on sabbatical until Oct, 2016

Dr. Michael Pesko (mip2037@med.cornell.edu)




High Risk Pregnancy

Focus: The focus of this AOC is to guide students to acquire in-depth practical, clinical and academic expertise in diverse facets of high-risk pregnancy, and to then concentrate on one area of high-risk pregnancy for a mentored Scholarly Project.

Significance: There are many conditions which present in pregnancy or are exacerbated in pregnancy which have different manifestations and outcomes because of the patient's pregnant state. Some are strictly medical (e.g. hypertension, diabetes), some are social and some are both (e.g. drug abuse, psychiatric illness). These conditions affect the mother and the baby in different ways.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To provide students with expertise in high risk pregnancy through the literature, by following patients throughout the course of gestation, through postpartum, and by conducting a mentored scholarly project
  • To understand the basic sciences of embryology, pharmacology and physiology as they relate to pregnancy

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Tirsit Asfaw (tsa9005@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Shari Gelber (shg7001@med.cornell.edu)




Infectious Diseases

Focus: This AOC will prepare WCMC students to be future leaders in any one of the many diverse facets of infectious diseases specifically through a longitudinal program featuring special lectures, invitation to weekly Division conferences and specialized conferences (based on specific interests), and student-centered mentorship with opportunities to pursue domestic or international research ranging from molecular projects in the lab to clinical ID research.

Significance: From emerging infections to the rising problem of multi-drug resistant organisms, Infectious Diseases is central to every field of Medicine. This AOC provides a diverse set of experiences and mentors with a unifying focus on the interactions between host and pathogen and how to understand the complexities of commensals versus pathogen and different mechanisms of host protection.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the breadth of infectious diseases
  • To identify infectious diseases priorities
  • To build a community of mentors among practicing, research and training infectious diseases physicians and scientists

Contact Faculty:

Harjot Kaur Singh (has9032@med.cornell.edu)

Laura Kirkman (lak9015@med.cornell.edu)




Integrative Health and Medicine

Focus: This AOC seeks to enable interested students to further their understanding and knowledge of the biological impact of chronic stress and its cumulative impact on health, with particular emphasis on the impact of the social environment. The emphasis is on conceptual, methodological, and practical foundations to enable the interested student to learn about interventions to prevent or ameliorate the impact of stress, and to be able to conduct methodologically sound projects in stress and health. Focus is on understanding the collaboration of basic, behavioral, and clinical science inherent in research about stress and health. Students will participate in interactive didactic session and mentored research tailored to the student's personal interest.

Significance: There is a large body of literature on the cumulative impact of stress resulting from increased activity across multiple biologic systems. Chronic stress and resulting health damaging behaviors lead to adverse physiologic responses by disrupting basic biological regulatory processes central to homeostasis.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To develop knowledge, skills, and experience of the biologic impact of chronic stress and its cumulative impact on health
  • To understand the interventions to prevent or ameliorate the impact of stress
  • To complete a course, Stress: Biology, Behavior, and the Social Environment

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Mary Charlson (mecharl@med.cornell.edu)




Medical Education

Focus: The AOC in Medical Education will encompass core didactics, experiential teaching activities, and a scholarly project in Medical Education culminating in peer-reviewed dissemination. This AOC will prepare students to be leaders in medical education throughout the continuum.

Significance: Medical Education has evolved tremendously over the last few decades. Consequently, numerous outside agencies and accrediting bodies (e.g., ACGME and LCME) are making calls for medical educators who can develop, implement, and evaluate educational strategies and techniques to prepare students to become physicians. Academic medicine requires a cadre of people who are not only great teachers themselves, but are also experienced and knowledgeable in the development and evaluation of educational programs. Therefore, this proposed AOC will also focus on opportunities for students to incorporate medical education scholarship into their future academic careers.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Employ the basic constructs of medical education (e.g., Adult Learning Theory, Curriculum Development, Learner Assessment, Program Evaluation)
  • Demonstrate ability in multiple pedagogical models by participating in experiential educational activities with structured feedback to improve their teaching skills
  • Applying research methodology, develop a structured medical education scholarship project that will have ultimately impact the learners at our institution and will result in oral and/or written dissemination on a local, regional, or national level

Core activities and/or Practical Experiences:

  • Participation in various ongoing Educational Committees
  • Various curriculum committees at the medical college
  • Various departmental educational committees
  • GME meetings

Workshops on:

  • Adult Education Theory
  • Kolb Inventory of Learning Styles
  • Curriculum Design
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Diversity Needs in Medical Education
  • Technology and Medical Education
  • Assessment
  • Pedagogical Methods (e.g., small group [PBL teaching, bedside or ambulatory teaching] and techniques for large group venues])
  • Evaluation/Assessment/Feedback Techniques
  • Research Methodologies in Education
  • Curriculum Development
  • Journal Club on Medical Education Scholarship
  • Teaching ethics, professionalism, humanities

Practical Experience(s)

  • Participate on Medical School Education Committees, e.g., CCC
  • Teaching observations using multiple modalities in various venues with
  • Reflection and evaluation
  • Peer OSTE
  • Peer Tutoring
  • Engagement with Center of Teaching Excellence in Ithaca

Examples of suggested student projects

  • Conduct a systematic review of the medical education literature (e.g. approaches used to address an educational concern)
  • Develop an e-learning module with evaluation of effectiveness
  • Develop an OSCE w learner assessment
  • Develop of Medical Education Grand Rounds Program
  • Develop a peer assessment tool for PBL
  • Develop, pilot and assess an e-teaching based tool for a module
  • Assess the effectiveness of integrating radiology curriculum across clerkships
  • Develop service learning curriculum for medical school organizations
  • Design a curriculum for Professionalism in medicine
  • Design a tool to measure Professionalism in students
  • Create an interprofessional curriculum (e.g., for medical, nursing, dentistry, and PA students)
  • Create a rubric to analyze the outcomes of an educational intervention (e.g.,” The Art of Observation elective; “Foundations of Narrative Medicine” elective)
  • Participate in the analysis of data from the new curriculum
  • Create a rubric to analyze the outcomes of an educational intervention (e.g., “The Art of Observation elective; “Foundation of Narrative Medicine” elective)
  • Develop an elective using the arts to enhance students’ humanism as future physicians

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Susan Bostwick (sbbostwi@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Carol Capello (cfc2002@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Thanakorn Jirasevijinda (thj2002@med.cornell.edu)




Medical Ethics and the Humanities

Focus: The AOC in Medical Ethics and the Humanities offers students a wide range of topics from which to choose, from clinical ethics case consultation, end-of-life decision-making and futility, research ethics, neuroethics and disorders of consciousness, ethics in reproductive and genetic medicine, the ethics of addiction medicine and the ethics of disability to the medical humanities, professionalism, social justice in healthcare, health disparities, and the philosophy of medical technology as well as medico-legal questions. Students may choose from these or related topics, or you may meet with Division faculty to explore and refine another area of interest within biomedical ethics and the humanities. Should a chosen topic require collaboration with additional faculty mentors outside medical ethics, we will assist you in identifying them. Students may combine an ethics AOC with their work in a specialized scientific area. For example, a student interested in systems neuroscience and brain injury could also study the ethical challenges posed by these conditions. Methods include rigorous scholarship in medical ethics and the medical humanities whose constituent disciplines include history, literature, philosophy, as well as other areas of study.

Significance: Clinicians and biomedical researchers face an ever increasing number of moral challenges. The rapid expansions in medical technology and molecular medicine, demands to treat more patients quickly, at lower cost and to decrease length of stay, and the pressure to produce groundbreaking research in order to get more grants and be promoted require that clinicians and researchers possess a strong moral compass, a commitment to professional integrity, a recognition of their primary obligations to patients and society, and an ability to engage in moral problem-solving.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Understand emerging issues and ongoing controversies in medical and biomedical ethics
  • Learn about key events in the history of medical ethics and contemporary models for framing ethical issues in medicine
  • Develop a practical approach for identifying, analyzing, and facilitating resolution of ethical challenges that arise in clinical medicine
  • Apply research methodologies in biomedical ethics that can be utilized to advance the field
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of a particular issue in medical or biomedical ethics, or the humanities through completion of a capstone project

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Joseph Fins (jjfins@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Ellen Cowen Meltzer (elc9076@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Inmaculada de Melo-Martin (imd2001@med.cornell.edu)

Ms. Cathleen Acres (cacres@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Pablo Rodriquez del Pozo, MD, PhD, JD (Qatar) (prd2002@qatar-med.cornell.edu)




Musculoskeletal Medicine

Focus: Students who select this AOC will be given a broad exposure to all aspects of the musculoskeletal medicine including targeted laboratory exposure, out patient clinical care, diagnostic methods, and orthopedic surgery. Students will have the opportunity to attend seminars covering the biology, pathophysiology and clinical approaches to the field of musculoskeletal medicine. The strengths of the program include an extensive array of laboratories performing basic and translational research, a detailed and successful system of service oriented registries directed at musculoskeletal diseases/disorders, and a strong team of clinical outcome professionals with extensive successful research experience.

Significance: Approximately twenty percent of patient complaints relate to musculoskeletal dysfunction. Among the key areas of morbidity, musculoskeletal disorders and diseases rank among the highest. Recent developments in drug discovery, stem cell therapy, diagnostic techniques, and mini-invasive surgery are changing our approach to musculoskeletal disease. HSS is at the front of innovation and there are many opportunities for students to perform meaningful discovery from basic science through clinical and population studies. As the citizenry ages and seeks to partake in an active life style, there is continued pressure to advance our ability to maintain musculoskeletal function throughout life.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand common musculoskeletal diseases and disorders and how they impact patients’ quality of life
  • To learn the basic aspects of diagnosis of the musculoskeletal system including physical examination and radiologic modalities
  • To become familiar with therapeutic modalities including orthopedic surgery, minimally invasive procedures, physical therapy and others
  • To develop facility with at least one area of research methodology, and gain exposure to a wide variety of approaches used in musculoskeletal research including biomechanics, molecular and cellular biology, animal models, clinical research and others
  • To complete a mentored research project culminating in oral and/or written dissemination on a local, regional, national or international level

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Joseph Lane (jml2002@nyp.org) - orthopedic surgery

Dr. Edward Parrish (ejp2001@med.cornell.edu) - rheumatology

Dr. Douglas Mintz (mintzd@hss.edu) - skeletal radiology

Dr. Vijay Vad (vadv@hss.edu) - sports medicine

First Contact:

Dr. Chisa Hidaka (chisa.hidaka@gmail.com) - coordinator




Nanomedicine

Focus: This AOC is designed to enhance the knowledge and expertise of medical students in translational and basic science research in the field of nanosciences applied to medicine. Part of this AOC, including the block period for the Scholarly Project, will be on-site in Houston at the Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute (HMRI), where a preeminent group of Weill Cornell Medical College faculty engaged in clinical and basic research related to nanomedicine has been established. While in New York, students will be able to participate via skyping and teleconferences with HMRI faculty. (Appropriate research support, travel, and accommodations are provided.)

Significance: The field of Nanomedicine provides vast opportunities for enhanced therapeutics, personalized medicine, medical diagnostics, imaging, screening, prevention, and regenerative medicine.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To educate and prepare medical students to learn and apply emerging new technologies in biomedical technology, regenerative medicine, and engineering
  • To expose students to the vast array of opportunities to apply nanosciences to medical practice

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Mauro Ferrari (mferrari@tmhs.org)




Neurodegenerative Diseases

Focus: This AOC is intended for students who have a strong interest in understanding the molecular and cellular basis of neurodegenerative diseases with the opportunity to explore a research project in the laboratory setting, in addition to understanding relevant translational and clinical research.

Significance: Despite the recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's Plus disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and others, most of these diseases have no cure or even effective treatments. There is a large unmet medical need in advancing our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, and students training now will be future leaders as the prevalence of these diseases explodes worldwide.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To provide students with an in-depth exposure to neurodegenerative diseases
  • To develop skills in laboratory methodology and pursue a research project under the guidance of a faculty member
  • To gain a broader view of neurodegenerative diseases and the challenges facing clinicians and biomedical research scientists in the field by participating in the activities of sponsoring laboratories and corresponding outpatient clinics in the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Makoto Ishii (mishii@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Giovanni Manfredi (gim2004@med.cornell.edu)




Neurogenetics

Focus: This research-intensive AOC will focus on guiding students to pursue a research project under the mentorship of one or more faculty members, ideally over a period of two or more years. The program will be supplemented by participation in laboratory meetings within the Neurogenetics research community. It is intended for students who have a strong background or aptitude in either computational or cell biological disciplines.

Significance: Neuroscience and neurology are unique in the extent to which a satisfactory grasp of normal and abnormal function requires understanding at multiple levels of scale – not only from molecules to cells, but also from cells to local circuits to large neuronal populations to the brain and, ultimately, to behavior.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To give students an in-depth exposure to neurogenetics and genomics as they relate to neurologic and psychiatric disorders
  • To guide students through the pursuit of a mentored research project
  • To gain a broader view of systems neuroscience and its challenges through participation in activities related to neurogenetics

Contact Faculty:

Dr. M. Elizabeth Ross (mer2005@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Conor Liston (col2004@med.cornell.edu)




Neuroinflammation

Focus: This AOC is intended for students with diverse interests and skills. Students who join this AOC will have the opportunity to choose from projects that span the biological sciences from ecology and epidemiology, to basic cell and molecular biology, to clinical research and neuroimaging.

Significance: The relationship between inflammation and CNS disease is unfolding but remains complex. The prototypical CNS inflammatory disease is Multiple Sclerosis and serves as one of the most instructive models involving the interaction between immunity and the CNS. A deeper understanding of the complex relationship between immunity and the CNS will pave the way to sophisticated therapeutics that protect the CNS from inflammatory injury while enabling its reparative capacities.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To foster the curiosity of students in a supportive and nurturing environment, including through devoted mentoring
  • To usher the student through basic concepts, experimental paradigms, central questions, and a multifaceted approach to discovery
  • To foster a fundamental understanding of inflammatory processes in the CNS such that the student can intelligently choose a career path

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Timothy Vartanian (tiv2002@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Susan Gauthier (sag2015@med.cornell.edu)




NeuroRestorative Medicine

Focus: The AOC in NeuroRestorative Medicine is designed to provide research opportunities for students interested in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease and CNS injury, along with the therapeutic strategies to combat them. The goal is for students to gain a working knowledge of the laboratory science that underlies the development of clinical treatments. Students will be exposed to new therapeutic approaches for a host of neurological impairments that cause disability, including paralysis, sensory loss, language problems, and dementia. This AOC provides students with access to Principal Investigators working on various aspects of repair of the motor, sensory, and cognitive systems in the context of a host of neurological disorders. With these mentors, students will engage in scholarly projects that focus on brain development (recapitulating development as a strategy for repair), systems neuroscience (interfacing molecules with behavior), and restorative neuroscience (employing stem cells, drugs, robotics and training to improve functional outcomes).

Significance: The explosion in neuroscience research over the past 2 decades is now being translated into treatments for people with neurological diseases. The mission of the Burke Medical Research Institute is to use neuroscience discoveries to restore neurological function. Students will participate in the creation and application of treatments for brain and spinal cord injury and disease. Damage to the CNS is a complex and variegated problem; accordingly, this AOC offers a diverse set of research opportunities to develop new tools to promote CNS recovery, ranging from gene- and molecular-based therapies to clinical interventions.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Foster talented medical students who will lead the next generation of studies on repair of the CNS
  • Provide students with an understanding of the many stages of the translational pipeline in neurorestoration research, from pre-clinical models to clinical interventions
  • Guide students through a hands-on, mentored research project with one or more principal investigators, in a research area chosen or developed by the student

Contact Faculty:

Botir Sagdullaev, Ph.D. (bos2005@med.cornell.edu)

Dianna Willis, Ph.D. (diw2004@med.cornell.edu)

John Cave, Ph.D. (joc2042@med.cornell.edu)




Neurovascular Biology and Stroke

Focus: This AOC will focus on initially providing its students with exposure to various research programs in neurovascular biology and stroke by attending laboratory meetings and scientific talks, and then guiding its students to pursue a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Between the Brain and Mind Research Institute's multiple neurovascular-focused laboratories and its clinical and translational science unit, students will be exposed to a wide variety and spectrum of research focused on neurovascular biology and stroke, including peripheral immune response to cerebral ischemia, mechanisms of cerebrovascular regulation, the link between cardiac arrhythmias and stroke, and neuroimaging and computational approaches to prognosis and management.

Significance: Understanding neurovascular biology and stroke, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the US population, demands broad, multidisciplinary approaches from the laboratory to translation to the clinic.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To first give students a broad exposure to various general approaches to research in neurovascular biology and stroke
  • To then extend this to deeper exposure within a chosen area via a hands–on, mentored research project

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Hooman Kamel (hok9010@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Josef Anrather (joa2006@med.cornell.edu)




Palliative Care in Women's Health

Focus: This AOC focuses on either end of life care in Gynecologic Oncology patients or in the neonatal population (via the mother/parents). These patients who have a terminal diagnosis would be followed by the student in an interdisciplinary fashion, combining the clinical and medical science with the social and psychological aspects of the condition.

Significance: As we extend the timeline in many of our terminal diseases, we often do not have the information about how this impacts on our patients. In Gynecologic Oncology the physician cares for the patient not only for the surgical treatment but throughout the process of chemotherapy/radiation therapy and further. For neonates with a terminal diagnosis, we now have improved prenatal diagnosis, preparing patents and providers with a diagnosis before delivery, and improved neonatal care which can provide comfort before the child succumbs to the disease.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Students to work with all the teams involved with these patients – medical social workers, psychologists, support groups, etc. to gain a sense of what it might be like to live with a terminal disease or to be carrying a child that may have a very short life
  • To provide opportunities for students to identify social groups to help with decision making or support, or even forming support groups of their own
  • To review the current literature in both medical and social sciences in the area to generate novel perspectives

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Divya Gupta(dig2010@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Shari Gelber (shg7001@med.cornell.edu)




Palliative Medicine

Focus: The AOC in Palliative Medicine will encompass care didactics, experiential teaching activities and clinical exposure, and a scholarly project in Palliative Medicine culminating in peer-reviewed dissemination. This AOC will prepare students to be leaders in palliative care throughout the continuum.

Significance: Palliative care is interdisciplinary medical care focused on the prevention and relief of suffering: to provide the best quality of life for patients at any stage of illness, as well as to attend to the needs of their families. Palliative care is not just end of life care, and is not dependent on a patient's prognosis. Rather, it is offered in conjunction with curative and all other appropriate forms of medical treatment. It concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms through formal assessment of physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of seriously ill patients and their families, and addressing all of these areas.
Palliative care thus accesses the personhood of the patient - the total human being rather than just the disease. One key aspect of this is the development of communication skills, which are essential for the practice of palliative care. Palliative care teams have extended meetings with patients and families to discuss their treatment, which is increasingly a rarity in medicine today. This promotes patient-physician communication and also well-developed interdisciplinary communication. Ultimately, nurturing skills in palliative care is essential for all physicians, whatever subspecialty they practice.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the conceptual framework of palliative care throughout the continuum of illness.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply palliative care principles by participating in experiential educational activities and classical exposures with structured feedback.
  • Applying research methodology, develop structured research project in palliative medicine that will result in oral and/or written dissemination on a local, regional or national level.

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Ronald Adelman(rdadelma@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Randi Diamond (rrd2002@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Sonal Mehta (som9015@med.cornell.edu)




Pediatric Neurooncology

Focus: The intent of the Pediatric Neuro-oncology AOC is to provide the student with a comprehensive awareness of the biologic basis, the diagnostic methods, the contemporary therapy, and the disease and therapy-related outcomes for children diagnosed with tumors of the central nervous system (CNS). Students will get exposed to clinical services including medical oncology, radiation oncology, neurological surgery and have the opportunity to concentrate in one of these fields.

Significance: Optimal management of the child with a CNS neoplasm demands an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. Neuro-imaging has provided a major impact in the diagnostic and therapeutic management of these patients. MR and nuclear medicine based systems offer insights into the growth characteristics, surgical planning, and tumor response. These technologies have offered a real possibility of transitioning from a macroscopic view of the tumor to a molecular vision.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Learning epidemiologic methods of monitoring through direct participation in the practical patient management work or via a focused emphasis using a mentor
  • Learning to interpret and critically assess germane publications. Presentation of contemporary publications in the form a journal club at clinical management meetings will be expected.

Contact Faculty:

Mark M. Souweidane (mmsouwei@med.cornell.edu)

Ira Dunkel (dunkeli@mskcc.org)




Precision Medicine and Computational Biology

Focus: This AOC covers two complementary and important topics: Precision Medicine and Computational Biology. As both topics will increasingly shape the future of healthcare, the Precision Medicine and Computational Biology AOC will prepare WCM students to be future leaders in developing and deploying computational methods to achieve improved patient care. This will be achieved by a program featuring special lectures across the Tri-Institutional partnership, and student-centered mentorship with opportunities to pursue research centered on machine learning, genomic analysis, computational mechanics, multi-scale modeling, enhanced diagnostics, data visualization and treatment optimization.

Students who choose the Precision Medicine and Computational Biology AOC may either be specifically interested in helping develop new Precision Medicine approaches perhaps based on epigenomics, single cell omics, cell-free DNA; develop predictive models using machine learning and artificial intelligence; leverage data from sensors to predict and model health outcomes; develop applications and pipelines that will directly aid patient care or illuminate disease processes, or may have an area of investigation that falls into the AOC, or may specifically wish to work with a faculty member who is a member of this AOC faculty.

As Precision Medicine and Computational Biology are diverse in their manifestations, the program will offer students exposure to the breadth of insights generated by computational methods, as well as develop expertise in a niche of their choosing. Students will engage in practical and academic exercises that will further refine an individual area of focus within the AOC, which will then be expanded upon in a scholarly project under direct mentorship. Students will be encouraged to think broadly and from an interprofessional practice perspective.

Cross-disciplinary collaboration as part of the student's activities and as the basis of the scholarly project will be highly encouraged where relevant.

Significance: Precision Medicine and Computational Biology have the potential to revolutionize the field of medicine. Adjacent disciplines, such as computer science and mathematics, have delivered a variety of new techniques that can have broad-ranging impacts in medicine, particularly surrounding the analysis of large datasets and prediction of clinical outcomes. The application of these techniques, as well as the development of improved methods, will continue to generate insights across the biomedical landscape, and as such, there are innumerable areas of fertile investigation.

Goals and Learning Objectives: To explore the potential of genomic testing, precision medicine and other modalities for patient care; To come up with new and improved approaches for precision medicine; To understand the wide range of applications for computational techniques in medicine; to understand basic techniques to design and/or implement a subset of these techniques; to understand the benefits and challenges of computational techniques as applied to medicine; to identify an area suitable for application of a computational technique, under the mentorship of a faculty member from the Institute for Computational Biomedicine or Institute for Precision Medicine at WCM or Tri-Institutional Program in Computational Biology & Medicine, or any other suitable faculty member; to acquire data for and implement computational technique toward further understanding of medical sciences, improved clinical decision-making, decreased cost, increased area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) for diagnostics, or decreased latency to results.

Core activities and/or Practical Experiences

Educational:
  • Attendance at computational biomedicine seminars at Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Rockefeller University, and Hospital for Special Surgery (seminars would be as related to student's interests). This includes the Institute for Computational Biomedicine Seminars (held semi-monthly and coordinated by Drs Elemento and Betel); the CME-accredited Institute for Precision Medicine Seminars (coordinated by Dr Elemento, Rubin and Beltran); the Machine Learning in Medicine Monthly Seminars (organized by Dr Amy Kuceyeski)
  • Attendance at Precision Medicine and Computational Biology meetings such as Friday 11am meeting of the Computational Biology team of the Institute for Precision Medicine; group meetings of mentoring faculty members
  • Attendance at lectures from related fields that relate to computational biomedicine (e.g. the use of machine learning in global health)
  • Web-based educational material recommended by the faculty
  • Career seminars with local and visiting faculty to learn about how they deploy and utilize computational methods to improve understanding of disease and better treat patients
  • Journal clubs focusing on how computational methods are being deployed in biomedicine in the latest research
  • Research conferences at Stanford, NIPS, and related events

Practical experience(s): the development of Precision Medicine and Computational Biology projects, with a specific emphasis on coding said applications, including collection of requisite data in wet lab or in the clinic for patient data collection. For specific projects focusing on the deployment of projects that directly guide clinical decision-making, students will participate in the care of said patients that are beneficiaries of precision medicine pipelines.

Example projects:

  • Building genomics-driven predictive models of disease risk and treatment response
  • Predicting drug toxicity profiles with machine learning applied to chemical structures
  • Predicting patient response to immunotherapy based on tumor genomic profile
  • Improving diagnosis of prostate cancer by analysis of miRNAs in biopsy
  • Discovering new purposes for FDA-approved drugs by means of receptor localization
  • Mine genomics databases for novel drug targets
  • Use text mining and NLP to identify relevant Pubmed articles

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Olivier Elemento (ole2001@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Harel Weinstein (haw2002@med.cornell.edu)




Psychiatry, Neurodevelopment, and Behavioral Sciences

Focus: The AOC in Psychiatry, Neurodevelopment and Behavioral Science serves as a forum for students interested in focusing their scholarly activities on the study of disorders of the brain, mind and behavior. Our faculty includes experts in diverse areas of psychiatry and neuroscience. Students will engage in practical and academic exercises that will further refine an individual area of focus within the AOC, which will then be expanded upon in a scholarly project under direct mentorship. Students will be encouraged to think broadly and from an interdisciplinary perspective about topics within psychiatry, neuroscience, and behavioral health during normal development and in response to stress, before narrowing down their focus. Prospective students may be interested in psychiatric illness and treatment, addiction, the neuroscience of the mind and behavior across the lifespan, related issues of healthcare policy and health disparities; students may elect to study assessment of treatment using methods of comparative effectiveness research. Cross-disciplinary collaboration as part of the student's activities and as the basis of the scholarly project will be highly encouraged where relevant.

We expect that students will arrive at the Psychiatry, Neurodevelopment, and Behavioral Science AOC from different directions and have a common interest in the basis of mental and behavioral disorders and their treatment in patients. Some students may have a general interest in psychiatry, while others will want to work with a specific faculty mentor or on a selected topic. Other students may choose to address mental illness and behavior at the level of public health, healthcare policy, or in vulnerable populations such as in children, elderly, in chronic medical illness, or work with victims of traumatic injury. Some students, who would not initially identify themselves as interested in psychiatry, may have a question that falls within an area that could be most adequately addressed from the perspective of psychiatric or behavioral health research.

Significance: Disorders of emotion, cognition and behavior impact individuals across the lifespan, and may coexist with many other medical disease states. The impact of mental illness - on the individual, healthcare and society - is substantial. Depression, for example, is a leading cause of disability worldwide, contributing significantly to the overall increasing global burden of disease. Despite this, our scientific understanding of most psychiatric illnesses remains rudimentary, limited by difficulties in finding suitable models for studying human mental disorders, and the lack of specificity in diagnosing or subtyping the various phenomena of the mind, brain and behavior. Expanding what we know about, how we study, classify, and how we treat psychiatric and behavioral disorders is critically necessary to advance our evidence base and to become able to address the medical, social, and economic consequences of mental stress and psychiatric illness.

Goal: For medical students interested in psychiatry, neurodevelopment, the basis of mental stress responses, or related behavioral health fields, the goal of mentored scholarly activity in this AOC is to generate academic proficiency for future independent clinical or translational research and to support the development of skills capable of enduring over a career and contributing to healthcare improvement.

Learning Objectives (skills; knowledge, attitudes, and competence):

  • To gain knowledge of specific areas of academic psychiatry, pharmacology, neuroscience, behavioral sciences, healthcare policy, and related basic scientific and clinical investigation.
  • To become an expert in an aspect of psychiatry, neuroscience, or behavioral health scholarship.
  • To produce an original scholarly product that will advance the field and develop the student's expertise and competence in that area.

Practical experience(s): Engagement in clinical and/or research activities, such as participation in the treatment of a particular psychiatric illness, or engagement in a research project or lab

Examples of suggested specific student projects:

  • Investigating a novel form of exposure therapy in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Laboratory work studying a biological mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of depression.
  • Involvement in a school-based intervention addressing youngsters at high risk for developing major mental illness.
  • Developing a scholarly expertise in the history of psychiatry and producing a publishable paper on a specific topic within the field.
  • Epidemiological analysis of access to care and health care needs among patients with schizophrenia living in an urban environment.

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Jack D. Barchas (jbarchas@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Elizabeth Auchincloss (elauchin@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Susan Samuels (sus9079@med.cornell.edu)




Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response

Focus: This AOC introduces students to the field of public health emergency response research and provides opportunities to partner with faculty who have ongoing studies and/or "real life" activities in this field.

Significance: Natural and human–caused disasters are increasingly common features of modern life, and research on predicting, assessing, mitigating and recovering from their health-related impact is becoming increasingly important.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the major risks to continuity of healthcare provision from public health emergencies with special attention to the unique needs of medical vulnerable populations
  • To undertake a hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA) for a local medical facility

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Nathaniel Hupert (nah2001@med.cornell.edu)




Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

Focus: The AOC in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety introduces students to the major conceptual frameworks through which quality and safety are measured in healthcare and operationalized in a hospital or outpatient setting. Students who choose this concentration will receive formal didactics in the core principles of quality and safety, have the opportunity to work and interact with physicians, nurses, social workers, care coordinators, pharmacists and hospital administration on quality and safety initiatives, attend select committee meetings and engage in teaching activities.

Significance: Improving the quality, safety, and efficiency through which healthcare is delivered is a national priority. Several landmark Institute of Medicine reports, including To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm, have highlighted areas of improvement in healthcare access and delivery, resulting in the ongoing reform of healthcare. New York Presbyterian Hospital is committed to continuous quality improvement and the delivery of safe, effective, efficient, equitable, timely and patient-centered care. This AOC provides students with a unique opportunity to delve into this area in depth and to acquire and practice the core principles in quality and safety that will shape their future careers in medicine.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Understand and apply conceptual frameworks for measuring and improving quality, including Six Sigma, LEAN and the Model for Improvement
  • Describe the key concepts of patient safety science including the epidemiology of error and communication challenges in healthcare
  • Recognize the complexities of systems in healthcare and identify factors that contribute to medical error and harm
  • Recognize the departmental and hospital-wide initiatives to improve the safety and quality of care at NYPH/Weill Cornell with direct access to key committee meetings and activities
  • Participate in a quality improvement project and/or safety initiative with direct mentorship from core faculty
  • Perform a teaching activity related to quality and safety delivered to other medical students and/or residents (e.g. safety conference, root cause analysis)

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Jennifer Lee (jel9026@med.cornell.edu) - Medicine

Dr. Laura Gingras (lfg9003@med.cornell.edu) - Medicine

Dr. Erika Abramson (err9009@med.cornell.edu) - Pediatrics

Dr. Brenna Farmer (bmf9001@med.cornell.edu) - Emergency Medicine




Rehabilitation Medicine

Focus: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is the field of medicine which focuses on function in persons with neurological or musculoskeletal disease or injury. There are several specialties within PM&R including stroke and brain injury, sports medicine, women's health, and spine disorders. In this AOC students will have the opportunity to gain exposure to each of these fields, with an expectation that they will eventually choose to become involved in a clinical research project based on the ongoing projects of faculty in the division. These are currently, broadly divided into four various topic areas but may change and expand over time:

  1. Stroke Rehabilitation - application of technology (functional electrical stimulation, robotics), prediction of outcomes, and psychometric properties of assessment scales used in persons with neurological disease
  2. Musculoskeletal rehabilitation research - correlates of pain, function, biomechanics and inflammatory markers in joint, tendon and muscle disorders, as well as refining injection techniques used in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain using ultrasound and other modalities
  3. Women's Health Rehabilitation - education techniques and assessment of knowledge of lumbopelvic pain in pregnant and postpartum women in Ob/Gyn residents

Significance: With the aging population in the United States, the prevalence of neurologic and musculoskeletal disease is expected to increase. With this increase comes a pressing need to better understand the physical limitations and psychological impact of chronic disease and pain and how they impact daily performance and quality of life. In addition, treatment methods for pain and various injuries are rapidly changing and options expanding. PM&R is primed to help lead the way for new therapeutics.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the International Classification of Function and how it serves as an infrastructure for rehabilitation medicine clinical care and research
  • Outline the common signs and symptoms seen in persons with stroke, how they affect physical, psychological and cognitive performance, and how they might best be measured
  • Discuss the presentation of osteoarthritis in the knee joint, hip joint and spine
  • Describe the approach (history and physical exam) to the clinical assessment of pain and musculoskeletal function
  • Explain the various treatment modalities used for common musculoskeletal complaints such as osteoarthritis and back pain
  • Describe the role of ultrasound in refining diagnostic and treatment strategies
  • Complete and submit an abstract to AAPM&R Annual Assembly, AAP, ACRM, or AMSSM on chosen research project

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Jaclyn H. Bonder (jab9155@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Michael O'Dell (mio2005@med.cornell.edu)




Reproductive Medicine and Infertility

Focus: The purpose of the REI AOC is for medical students to gain a greater understanding of the field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility. There will be many opportunities to be involved with patient care of the most advanced infertility technologies as well as time for potential research.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • Broad exposure to clinical skills involved with REI
  • Understand the basics of REI
  • Understand and be involved with all aspects of ART
  • Involve the students with the basic sciences of new and upcoming technology
  • Involve the students with ongoing basic and clinical research
  • Promote opportunities for independent learning in REI

Core Activities and/or Practical Experiences:

  • Shadowing physicians in clinical daily practice involving office hours and ART procedures - ---- Scrub in surgical cases
  • Monthly journal clubs
  • Monthly guest lecture series
  • Fellowship lecture series given by the attendings
  • Clinical mentor-ships as desired
  • Clinical and basic science research
  • Clinical involvement in genetic counseling, psychological counseling activities

General and Specific Examples of Suggested Student Projects:

  • Cytokines as predictors of ectopic pregnancy after IVF
  • Psychological impact of donating oocytes
  • Impact of stress on IVF outcome
  • Age and predictor of IVF outcome
  • Many other types of ART clinical research

Contact Faculty:

Steven D Spandorfer (sdspando@med.cornell.edu)




Scholarly Activity in Surgery

Focus: With participation spanning all four years of medical school, the Scholarly Activity in Surgery is designed to integrate with the other elements of the surgical department's medical school curriculum to engage the enrolled student and progressively foster their interest and enhance their knowledge within the field.

Significance: The Department of Surgery is committed to enhancing surgical education throughout the medical school curriculum. The department has also emerged as a major contributor to basic, translational, and clinical research in areas that influence the practice of surgery. The Scholarly Activity in Surgery is designed to synthesize these two aims - to incorporate with the other facets of the department's medical school curriculum and to enrich the medical student experience with a scholarly project - in order to nurture the development of future surgical scientists.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  1. Clinical Sciences:
    • Exposure to the clinical practice of surgery during pre-clinical years as well as advanced clinical experience during the clinical years
    • Acquisition of basic technical and procedural skills in accordance with the American College of Surgeons' medical student curriculum
    • Experience in clinical presentation skills
  2. Laboratory Sciences:
    • Exposure to the dynamics of a robust and productive laboratory group
    • Acquisition of basic laboratory skills, eg cell culture techniques, imaging and analysis, etc
    • Gain critical thinking skills regarding surgically impactful problems
    • Experience in research presentation skills

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Shaun Steigman (shs9161@med.cornell.edu)




Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Focus: This AOC will provide students with in-depth expertise and experience in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology. It will provide instruction and mentoring for understanding both the promise and challenge of regenerative strategies, including the meaning of embryonic stem cell pluripotency and reprogramming differentiated cells into the stem cell state.

Significance: Regenerative Medicine seeks the application of therapies to restore tissue and organ homeostasis either by cellular therapies that exploit stem or progenitor cell sources, or therapies that stimulate (or block) endogenous regenerative programs. Currently the only active stem-cell based therapies are for the hematopoietic system. However, there are already numerous progenitor-based cellular therapies being developed, and the clinical mission for almost any surgical procedure, including cancer, involves regeneration. Regenerative stem cell-based strategies are currently in development for many degenerative disorders including for the brain, heart, lungs, and pancreas.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the challenges of allogeneic and autologous cell transplantation
  • To understand embryonic/adult stem cell types, pluripotency networks, and the cancer stem cell hypothesis
  • To appreciate stem/progenitor cell interactions with their niche
  • To guide students to a mentored Scholarly Project in the area

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Todd Evans (tre2003@med.cornell.edu)




Systems Neurology

Focus: This AOC will provide in-depth exposure for students in systems neurology, leading to a research project under the guidance of one or more faculty mentors, ideally over a period of two or more years. Opportunities for scholarship are diverse, including studies of visual processing, non-human primate neurophysiology and functional imaging, brain dynamics and functional imaging in patients with disorders of consciousness, and computational modeling of neurons and neural populations. This AOC is intended for students who have strong backgrounds or aptitude in mathematics, physics, biophysics, or computation.

Significance: Neuroscience and neurology are unique in the extent to which a satisfactory grasp of normal and abnormal function requires understanding at multiple levels of scale. Original work in this area requires an understanding of ways to approach this multiscale challenge, including experimental, computational, and mathematical techniques.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To provide students with an in-depth exposure to systems neuroscience as it relates to neurologic disorders
  • To gain a broader view of systems neuroscience and its challenges by participating in the activities of the Division of Systems Neurology and Neuroscience
  • To develop skills in laboratory methods (e.g. behavioral assessment, invasive or non-invasive neurophysiological testing) and the appropriate methods of applied mathematics
  • To guide students to the pursuit of a mentored research project

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Jonathan D. Victor (jdvicto@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. Nicholas Schiff (nds2001@med.cornell.edu)




Transplantation Medicine

Focus: The Transplantation AOC is designed to prepare students to have an in-depth knowledge of solid organ and stem cell (bone marrow) transplantation, gain expertise in areas including transplantation immunology and surgical techniques, and help develop approaches to minimize transplant complications of rejection and infections. Transplant medicine is a multi-disciplinary field that involves aspects of immunology, surgery, nephrology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, infectious diseases, hematology/oncology, and pathology. Students who choose the Transplantation AOC may have a specific interest in becoming a transplant physician or an area of investigation that involves one of the multi-disciplinary fields of research. Students will have hands-on practical experience as well as a didactic curriculum throughout the 4 years leading to an in-depth understanding of transplantation.

Significance: Transplantation is considered the treatment of choice for end-stage organ diseases such as end-stage renal disease and end-stage liver disease. In the US alone, there are over 15,000 kidney transplantations each year. While transplantation has improved quality of life as well as increased lifespan in solid organ transplant recipients, solid organ transplant recipients still encounter both infectious and immunological complications. Acute rejection is one of the major causes of transplant organ failure, and infections cause significant morbidity and mortality in this immunocompromised population. A major goal in transplantation is to determine the right balance of immunosuppressive medications as over-immunosuppression leads to infectious complications and under-immunosuppression leads to organ rejection.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

The goal of this program is to give students broad exposure to different components of transplantation. Students will have hands-on clinical exposure as well as didactic experiences throughout the 4 years.
By graduation, students are expected to understand:
  • immunology of transplantation including the immunologic basis for acute and chronic rejection
  • pharmacology of immunosuppressive medications
  • surgical techniques and complications
  • infectious and other-immunosuppressive related complications.

Examples of projects/ products:

  • Urinary cell mRNA profiling for the anticipation of acute rejection
  • Urinary cell mRNA profiling for the personalization of immunosuppressive therapy and practice precision medicine
  • RNA sequencing to characterize mRNA and miRNA transcriptomes to improve knowledge of transplantation biology and develop targeted therapy.
  • Prognostication of BK virus nephropathy via urinary cell mRNA profiling and metabolite profiling
  • Microbiome profiling to anticipate infectious complications in kidney transplant recipients
  • RNA sequencing of peripheral blood for the development of biomarkers of graft vs. host disease in stem cell transplant recipients and acute rejection of kidney or liver transplantation

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Manikkam Suthanthiran (msuthan@med.cornell.edu)

Dr. John Lee (jrl2002@med.cornell.edu)




Vascular Biology and Vascular Medicine

Focus: Students will have the opportunity to experience and participate in state of the art vascular research spanning a variety of disciplines, including biochemistry, physiology, genetics, stem cell biology, and animal model systems. Activities will include discussion groups, attendance at seminars, and mentored individual scholarly projects, and encouragement of translational interactions between vascular biology and medicine.

Significance: Vascular biology is the study of structure and function of blood vessels. Advances in the basic vascular biology research has led to the realization that the impairment of vasculature is germane to various diseases, ranging from heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, among others. Consequently the emergence of vascular biology as a discipline has stimulated tremendous growth in this area of research which led to major increases in our understanding of biology and disease. Vascular biologists use modern tools of biomedical research to investigate the structure and function of cells of the vessel wall, namely, endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, pericytes, adventitial fibroblasts and infiltrated hematopoietic cells. This knowledge base has also helped develop new drugs and therapies for many human maladies.

Goals and Learning Objectives:

  • To obtain basic molecular biology techniques, cell culture, imaging techniques.
  • To obtain in-depth understanding of principles of developmental biology.

Contact Faculty:

Dr. Annarita Di Lorenzo (and2039@med.cornell.edu)





 
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