Washington University School of Medicine has consistently been ranked as a top 10 research university with a mean rank in NIH funding of 4.1. For those residents interested in exploring research, we are able to provide outstanding research mentors from an internationally recognized faculty.

Faculty mentorship

One of the keys to a successful academic career is a knowledgeable faculty mentor. Our expert faculty take pride in developing quality interactions with trainees and routinely produce more than 200 publications each year, usually co-authored with trainees.  These papers make an impact with other researchers, at a median faculty h-index of 22.5. Faculty are well-connected nationally and internationally with service to various committees and panels. These connections are important as trainees begin to navigate their independent careers.

Faculty from other departments are also available to serve as research and career mentors to our residents. There are over 150 faculty at Washington University in St. Louis who conduct research in areas relevant to psychiatric disorders including cellular and molecular neuroscience, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, genetics, epidemiology, and public health.

Research training opportunities

During residency

Residents interested in an academic research career can participate in our Psychiatry Residency Research Education Program (PRREP). Residents who do not wish to pursue such an intensive research experience may select research for one or both of their selective blocks during PGY2 or for any of their 4 months of their PGY4 elective time.

After residency

Residents desiring a more intensive exposure to research after residency may be able to participate in one or more additional years of research training as a research fellow.

Psychiatry Residency Research Education Program (PRREP)

The Psychiatry Residency Research Education Program (PRREP) seeks to provide early training in research to enhance success at subsequent stages of residents’ careers.  PRREP represents formalized research mentorship to those residents who want to explore research.

This program is open to any resident, regardless of prior research experience. Whether you’re an MD/PhD with lots of research experience or you didn’t do much research during medical school, we tailor our program to develop and maximize your individual skills.

Most residents typically will choose to take part in the program starting in the first PGY. It is expected that some trainees will not pursue the more advance PRREP phase. Funds are available to support research and travel costs through an NIH R25 grant.

PRREP structure

PRREP has been structured to provide a longitudinal research training experience across all years to individuals in both the general adult psychiatry program (4 years) and the child and adolescent psychiatry program (5 years). The program is composed of two phases, details of which can be found below.

Phase 1: Exploration

The first phase of PRREP occurs during PGY1 and 2 and is designed to allow residents to explore the possibility of research as a career option.

In addition to mentoring and didactic time, residents will devote 2 PGY2 elective blocks (approximately 2 months) to research.

For those residents with substantial research experience (e.g. MD/PhD), the available PRREP time can be used to address research skill needs and begin their formal research projects.

Phase 2: In-depth training

The second phase is a more intensive program that begins in PGY3 and runs the rest of residency training. It is designed for those residents who, after Phase 1, have decided to continue pursuing a career in academic psychiatry.

This second phase provides for in-depth training in research, including a formal research project, career mentoring, and didactics. Residents will have 15% of their third year dedicated to research efforts.

Residents staying in the general adult program will then have 8 months of their PG4 year to finish carrying out their research projects. In total, adult residents will have 12 months of hands-on research time over the four years.

Residents who decide to pursue training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Washington University can continue to be in PRREP and will have approximately 10 months of dedicated research time spread over their two CAP training years.

PGY

Time on Research Rotations

Didactics, Courses, Meetings

Milestones

Phase 1

1

Monthly advisor and/or mentor meetings

Weekly department research conference

10-hour research seminar

Identify research mentor

Create career development goals

Create PGY2 research proposal

2 16% FTE

Mentor Meetings

Weekly research conference

12-hour research course

Individualized coursework

Work on initial career development goals

Carryout PGY2 research

Develop initial Phase 2 research proposal

Phase 2

3 15% FTE

Mentor meetings

Weekly research conference

PRREP research seminar

Individualized coursework

Modify career development goals and research proposal by end of PGY3

Adult Residents

4 67% FTE

Mentor meetings

Weekly research conference

Leadership course

Individualized coursework

Present results at poster and oral sessions

Publication/presentation of results at meetings

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows

4 30% FTE

Mentor meetings

Weekly research conference

Leadership course

Individualized coursework

Modify career and research goals as needed
5 50% FTE

Mentor meetings

Weekly research conference

Individualized coursework

Present results at poster and oral sessions

Publication/presentation of results at meetings

Joining PRREP

PRREP is not a specific training track (with a separate ACGME number) to which applicants must apply prior to joining our program. Rather, it is a training path available to any resident in our program.

Residents typically request to join Phase 1 of PRREP in their first year so that they can have the time to meet with a mentor and optimally plan for their second year research rotations. There is no maximum number of residents that can take part in PRREP, nor is there a minimum educational requirement.

Residents opting to continue into Phase 2 submit a detailed research and career development plan, which has to be approved by the supervising faculty before entering into Phase 2.

Applicants to the residency program who are interested in PRREP are encouraged to indicate such interest at the time they apply so that we can be prepared to discuss the interest during the interview process.

Mentorship in PRREP

We have created a core group of faculty advisors and mentors whom the majority of participants will likely use for their training. Each PRREP resident will begin working with one of these individuals during Phase 1 in order to identify an area of research interest and a research project.

Trainees might also use one of over 150 university faculty members who have significant research experience and extramural support in the broad areas of research relevant to psychiatry as a co-mentor for their Phase 2 research projects. These areas of research include cellular and molecular neuroscience, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, anesthesiology, genetics, epidemiology, and public health.

Faculty

Department

Group

Arpana Agrawal Psychiatry Genetics*
Deanna Barch Psychology Imaging
Laura Bierut Psychiatry Genetics
Kevin Black Psychiatry Imaging
Azad Bonni Neuroscience Basic
Patty Cavazos-Rehg Psychiatry Genetics
Theodore Cicero Psychiatry  Basic
John Constantino Psychiatry Clinical
Richard Grucza Psychiatry Genetics
Andrew Heath Psychiatry Genetics
Tamara Hershey Psychiatry Imaging
Eric Lenze Psychiatry Clinical
Joan Luby Psychiatry Clinical
Steven Mennerick Psychiatry Basic
Robi Mitra Genetics Basic
Susan Perlman Psychiatry Clinical
Steven Petersen Neurology Imaging
John Pruett Psychiatry Imaging
Cynthia Rogers Psychiatry Clinical
Paul Taghert Neuroscience Basic
Denise Wilfley Psychiatry Clinical

*Human Genetics, Public Health, Epidemiology