The Robert J. Lefkowitz Society provides a home for MD and MD/PhD post-graduate trainees who are in the Duke University School of Medicine, including the Department of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency and Fellowship programs, and who are pursuing careers with a primary focus on basic and translational research as physician-investigators.
Through formal and informal mentoring relationships, the Lefkowitz Society provides promising post-graduate trainees with a greater understanding of how to develop successful academic careers.
The Society helps members grow opportunities to develop successful research projects, and helps them find appropriate research mentors and investigative teams as early as possible in order to enhance their future research success and productivity. Members will benefit from direct interactions with senior physician-investigators at Duke through a series of dinner programs and other activities.
The Lefkowitz Society is named for Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2012.
In his 40 years as a Duke researcher, Dr. Lefkowitz has mentored more than 200 trainees who have come through his lab. He has embraced the opportunity to serve as a role model and informal mentor for members of the eponymous Lefkowitz Society.
The Lefkowitz Society comprises selected Duke internal medicine post-graduate trainees with either an MD or MD/PhD dual degrees and a significant interest in pursuing a research-intensive academic career.
The Society will engage 5-10 new members per year and membership will extend throughout their training as long as the career focus remains.
- The Society will be overseen by a program director appointed by the chair of the Department of Medicine. The program director will also assist members in selecting their primary research mentors and in identifying funding opportunities.
- Members will be selected through a nomination and review process coordinated by the Society program director, with input from internal medicine residency program leaders, the department chair, division chiefs and the Medicine Research Council.
- Potential candidates will be vetted by internal medicine residency program leaders and respective fellowship directors and division chiefs.
- Following the vetting process, a formal letter signed by the program director and the department chair will be issued to each approved candidate, inviting the post-graduate trainee to be a member of the society.
- The Lefkowitz Society will hold up to six dinner meetings per year on campus or at the home of a faculty member. Senior physician-investigators, from Duke and elsewhere, will be invited to these meetings and asked to share career advice and scientific perspectives. Selected fellows may also be invited and engaged to participate in the process.
- Society members may request financial support to attend scientific meetings over the course of residency training. These requests will be coordinated by the Society program director and chief residents to ensure that no scheduling issues affecting patient care staffing arise.
- Society members will also be supported to attend institutional career development activities, such as the grant writing seminar and leadership programs offered by the School of Medicine.
- Once the Society is fully established, an annual symposium will be developed to highlight Society members' research activities. In addition, members will be invited to represent the Society at Duke Clinical and Basic Science Days, and other opportunities as they arise.
- A dinner for prospective research-focused residents will be hosted by the Society on the evening prior to residency interviews.
- Society members will be given priority for selection into fellowship training programs in the Duke University Department of Medicine, as well as priority consideration for the Chair's Research Award if they remain on faculty at Duke after completion of their training here.
- Society members will be eligible for additional research support to allow continuation of research projects through the course of residency training, based on specific requests made through the Society program director and department chair's office.
- Selected fellows in the Department of Medicine will be encouraged to engage with Society members and their mentors in order to provide additional guidance and perspective.