Research Curriculum

A major goal of Duke’s training program is to train the next generation of clinical, translational and basic researchers in the disciplines of Hematology & Oncology.  While the first year of fellowship is primarily directed through patient-based learning, the program provides the following resources to support research planning for the 2nd and 3rd years.

Activities for the Clinical Investigation Fellowship Track

For fellows interested in a career in clinical investigation, a formal research curriculum has been established consisting of formal didactics and in person experiences designed to expose the fellow to a variety of topics that are essential for a successful career. Basic expectations for participation include the following:

  1. Develop a Scholarship Oversight Committee consisting of the primary mentor, Program/Associate Program Director, a faculty in the area of research and a clinical faculty member to meet with the trainee twice a year to review research progress.
  2. Consistent participation (>70%) in the Year 2 Clinical Investigation Lecture Series (see below).
  3. Participation in Cancer Protocol Committee (CPC) review(s) with a mentor and observation at CPC and IRB meetings.
  4. CRTP (Statistics course)
    1. CRTP 241 Introduction to Statistical Methods (Fall Semester)
    2. Other CRP courses (e.g. CRP 245 Statistical Analysis) optional. Will require discussion with Program Director and research mentor.
  5. ASCO/ASH/AACR/Foundation Early Career Grant submission in Years 2/3
  6. Apply to ASCO/AACR Clinical Research Methods (Vail) Workshop or AACR Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology Workshop in Years 2/3
  7. Concept/Protocol Development
    1. Year 2 – Protocol Concept Development (with mentoring team)
    2. Year 3 – Write Protocol (with mentoring team)
  8. Publications: Minimum of 1 paper (research paper, review, or case series/case report) per year.

Clinical Investigation Lecture Series – Year 2

  1. Introduction to Clinical Trials Lecture Series
  2. Regulatory/compliance issues in clinical trials. Good Clinical Practice/Data and Safety Monitoring
  3. Assessing preclinical data for oncology drug development/scientific review of clinical research (CPC)
  4. Phase I clinical trials: Design, evolution, statistical designs
  5. Phase II clinical trials: Design, endpoints, statistical aspects
  6. Phase III clinical trials: Design, endpoints, statistical aspects
  7. Correlative science in oncology clinical trials: feasibility, reproducibility, and statistical considerations
  8. Incorporating imaging endpoints into clinical trials
  9. Incorporating digital health data, patient-centered outcomes and patient-reported outcomes into clinical trials
  10. Health Services Research
  11. Overcoming barriers to accrual and enhancing trial diversity/minority accrual
  12. Elements of the Informed Consent and role of the IRB
  13. Presenting your work
  14. Biomedical writing/publishing your work
  15. Investigator-initiated trials: Grant writing principles and resources
  16. Working with Sponsors: CDAs, Contracts and Budgets
  17. Science, Culture and Accountability: Application to clinical investigation
  18. Clinical trials in special populations –
    1. Brain metastases
    2. Cardio-oncology
  19. Immuno-oncology trials
  20. Leadership skills –
    1. Leading a clinical research team
    2. Leadership: Leading a research program
  21. Career planning -
    1. Clinical research positions in academia; transitioning from fellow to faculty
    2. Career planning: Clinical research positions in pharma

Year 2/3 – Protocol Writing with mentor and mentoring team

Curriculum for the Basic Science Fellowship Track

The training program in basic research is designed to give each trainee a substantive foundation in basic research, taking into consideration the level of prior research training.  Research training occurs in a carefully supervised apprentice/tutorial system, in which a trainee works on a project of her/his own within the laboratory or clinical area of the preceptor, combined with didactic components, including research seminars and graduate studies, designed to expand each trainee’s knowledge of the field.  Duke offers several T32 institutional training programs that offer a gateway for research for the MD-only trainee with limited prior research experience. The T32 training programs offer novice researchers with necessary skill sets to develop a research portfolio, while providing experienced researchers opportunities to contribute and advance disease-based research programs.

Activities for Basic Research Fellowship Track

  1. Develop a Scholarship Oversight Committee consisting of the Mentor, Associate Program Director, a faculty in the area of research and a clinical faculty member to meet with the trainee twice a year to review research progress.
  2. Enroll in the Office of Physician Scientist Development (OPSD) Scholars Program
  3. Participation in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course. This 5-week course   fulfills the NIH requirement for RCR education for trainees on institutional training grants and covers: Ethical issues and underlying challenges in research, Authorship, peer review, and publication, Bias and other subjective influences in science, Intellectual property and conflicts of interest and Principles, codes, and practices to promote ethics and integrity.
  4. All research trainees are encouraged to enroll for the full  Basic Science Track offered through the Clinical Research Training Program (  or take selected courses
    1. CRP 275 Research Project & Proposal Development (Fall Semester)
    2. CRP 276 Statistical Methodology for Basic Research (Spring Semester)
    3. Other CRP courses (e.g. CRP 27 Scientific Communication) optional. Will require discussion with Program Director and research mentor.
  5. Generate preliminary data; present twice a year in monthly Hem/Onc Research In Progress Meetings.
  6. Gain experience in Early Career Grant submissions to foundations ASCO/AACR/ASH/AHA/Damon Runyon in Years 2/3.
  7. Publications: Minimum of 1 paper (research paper, review, or case series/case report) per year.

Basic Research “Strategy” Lecture Series – Years 2/3

The following sessions are provided in conjunction with Research In Progress meetings where trainees present their ongoing research to peers and their Scholarship Oversight Committee.

  1. Strategies for Basic Research success: This seminar discusses the purpose and goals of research training during fellowship and provides an overview of T32 training resources, Individual Development Plans, educational resources, laboratory documentation, research planning and milestones, responsible conduct of research and career planning.
  2. Strategies for Individual Development Plans: This hands-on session covers goal setting preparing and reviewing IDPs. 
  3. Strategies for Effective Mentoring: This seminar discusses effective practices for mentoring and being mentored. Mentor/Mentee pairs will discuss their individual approaches to mentoring.
  4. Strategies for Funding Success: This session will discuss funding mechanisms available to trainees, understanding grant finances (direct/indirect costs) and preparing budgets.
  5. Strategies for the 3Rs of research: Responsibility, Rigor & Reproducibility: This panel discussion will feature 2-3 individual faculty and discussion of best practices.