Research Training

Our MFM fellowship program provides for outstanding opportunities for research training and conduct of basic science, translational and clinical research. The academic facility of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology houses over 12,000 square feet of laboratory space. Specific laboratories are dedicated to molecular biology, cell biology, neuroendocrinology, reproductive immunology, electron microscopy, radioimmunoassays, and infectious disease.

Our fellows may utilize any of these facilities to acquire specific laboratory skills. A major feature of the research program will be the opportunity for fellows interested in basic science to work with several different animal models, including the baboon. We have ongoing research programs into a variety of maternal and fetal disorders using different animal models.

For fellows with interest in clinical research, the institution has substantial clinical volume to accommodate clinical studies and trials of interest. Numerous databases are available for fellow use from recent studies our center has participated in including trials/studies involving preterm birth (NICHD MFMU) and dental hygiene (MOTOR), stillbirth (NICHD Stillbirth Network), and diabetes in pregnancy.

Depending on the research area of interest and planned thesis project, the 12 months of required research can be allocated into large multi-month blocks, or smaller blocks. Our fellows will have access to an extensive number of highly qualified potential mentors, both within and outside our department from which to choose for their research training. Faculty and fellows in our program have full access to the UT Health Scholars web portal to assist with identification of potential collaborators for research endeavors. The full faculty and laboratory assets of the Department and Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research are available to our fellows to promote their research endeavors.

Training in both basic science and clinical research occurs throughout the fellowship program. Fellows will gain core training in study design, feasibility assessment and animal/human subjects protections.

Fellows are encouraged and supported to attend the Exxcellence in Clinical Research course offered by the Foundation for Exxcellence in Women’s Health, as well as the NICHD Young Investigators Conference on Maternal-Fetal-Neonatal-Reproductive Medicine. In addition to the core research training, individualized training is available to teach fellows research techniques, experimental design, data evaluation, and manuscript submission for publication of their research project.

The institutional RIA/Cell and Molecular Biology laboratories are available to provide fellows training in standard molecular biology techniques including in situ hybridization, RNA/DNA isolation and Northern and Southern blotting, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), RNA estimation using reverse transcription PCR and other methods.

The fellowship director works with the fellows to identify areas of interest and potential research opportunities in the first few months of the fellowship to allow for early research engagement during the program.

Fellows are actively encouraged to submit research abstracts to the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Society of Reproductive Investigation, Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics & Gynecology (IDSOG), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO), and other national meetings.

Completion of thesis project and defense is a requirement for the fellowship. It is anticipated that our fellows will have completed and submitted a manuscript for publication before completion of the fellowship training program.