Biomedical Research Career Award (BMRCA) Program
The Biomedical Research Career Award (BMRCA) is a unique research and didactic program that the MGH Reproductive Endocrine Unit developed nearly 20 years ago to offer students a combined mentored research experience and educational program in clinical investigation in a group of world-class clinical researchers in human reproduction. The BMRCA program’s ultimate goal is to provide students with a background in research that will influence their subsequent career directions.
The BMRCA research experience a competitive program lasting 12 months in duration but on occasion may last a second year when a project’s pace and a students career goals dictate. It may occur in the middle of college, as a post baccalaureate experience, or during medical school depending upon the candidate’s career goals.
It is required that students entering this program have completed a certain number of basic science courses. The BMRCA experience within the Reproductive Endocrine Unit will also be tailored to the individual’s goals and previous scientific background.
Since this is not a strict employment situation but rather an educational experience, no stipend is available. However, on occasion a stipend may be available for some students, depending on the availability of resources and the chosen research project.
1. Mentored Research Project: Each BMRCA student is assigned to the personal tutelage of an established Clinical Investigator who is a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty and oversees their specific research project. The mentor is responsible for the coordination of the overall laboratory, clinical, and educational program of their student; this one-to-one relationship between student and investigator mentor is a core component of the entire experience. The Research Project will be part of the Unit’s ongoing portfolio of investigations into clinical and laboratory physiology and molecular genetics of male and female reproduction.
Students are expected to quickly become members of the appropriate clinical research teams in the Unit and present their new findings, participate in research team meetings, and assist in the preparation of manuscripts relating to their work. In addition, each student is expected to give a final presentation of their research project to the entire Unit which includes the results and discussion of their work. If the student is also involved in the MGH Summer Research Training Program for minority students (SRTP) or the HMS Pre-matriculation Summer Program sponsored by Office of Recruitment & Multicultural Affairs, their presentation will occur in the context of this program. If not involved in these programs, the mentor, and student will arrange an appropriate international forum for the presentation. Specific experiences will vary depending on the mentor and chosen project and will be tailored to the student’s interests and previous scientific and research experience.
2. Required Educational Opportunities: In addition to their research experience, each BMRCA student will be expected to participate in specified weekly clinical, research, and/or educational conferences of the Reproductive Endocrine Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital that will round out the experience of the student in more didactic settings. These include:
The Medical Grand Rounds program of the Department of Medicine; The Research and Clinical Conferences of the Endocrine Division of the Department of Medicine and in particular the Reproductive Endocrine Clinical Conferences Series, Endocrine Grand Rounds, and Pediatric Endocrine Grand Rounds; The P50 Seminar Series of the Reproductive Endocrine Unit; Weekly journal clubs conducted by Faculty Investigators of the Reproductive Endocrine Unit; Courses offered by the Clinical Research Program of the MGH; and Clinic sessions of the Staff Investigators.
The Students will also be given a schedule of all such didactic offerings on their first day to review with their mentor and fit into their laboratory schedule.
It has been our experience with this popular program that the educational experience is significantly diluted if students take other course work outside of the MGH during this year. However, there may be specific instances in which courses in statistics or other research techniques may be appropriate. There is no additional stipend to support the tuition for any such courses. Course enrollment must be discussed in advance with the mentor, and time away from the lab during key working hours must be a serious consideration.
Applicants should apply by enclosing their resume accompanied by a personal statement detailing why they believe the BMRCA program is appropriate for their career. Applicants will also be asked to furnish three letters of support from past teachers or research mentors outlining the suitability of the applicant for this competitive position. Qualified applicants will be invited to visit the Reproductive Endocrine Unit to interview with appropriate investigators. The selection process will be rolling.
Minority students are actively encouraged to participate in the program. This program may be a part of or independent from the 8 -week (SRTP) summer experience that is administered separately by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Mass General Hospital or the Pre-matriculation Summer Program sponsored by the HMS Office of Recruitment & Multicultural Affairs.
Reproductive Endocrine Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street, BHX-5
Boston, MA 02114
Email : MGHReproductiveEndocrine@partners.org