In addition to academic and clinical training, our fellowship program provides a structured, supervised research experience that includes 3 months of protected research time in the first year, 7 months in the second year and 8 months in the third year.
The first and second year includes a series of didactic lectures on experimental design and data collection and analysis sponsored by our academic partner Thomas Jefferson University.. You’ll have opportunities to learn laboratory techniques by observing and participating in current research projects. You’ll also attend a mandatory statistics course that includes lectures on experimental design also sponsored by Thomas Jefferson University.
To enhance your research experience, you’ll work with a mentor chosen from our critical care faculty. Thomas Shaffer, MSE, PhD, Director of the Center for Pediatric Lung Research, also shares his knowledge and experience with our trainees and sometimes serves as a mentor.
Your mentor will follow your progress and supervise the research process from hypothesis through experimental design, use of laboratory methods, data collection, analysis, presentation, and finally to abstract/poster presentation and manuscript preparation.
You’ll meet with your research mentor for at least 1 hour per week during research months and with the program director every 6 months. You’ll also report on your progress at monthly departmental research meetings. In addition, each fellow is assigned a Scholarship Oversite Committee (SOC). It consists of experienced researchers both from within and outside of the division who will meet with you every six months to review your research progress and help navigate you through difficulties that may arise.
We run weekly mock codes for fellows and residents rotating through the PICU. All mock codes are fellow-driven where you will have the opportunity to create your own scenarios and make your own education points. More recently we have also included mock codes that run through a virtual reality system and shared over a teleconferencing platform, so that we have been able to continue this educational experience while being socially distanced.
There is always opportunity to practice procedural skills on mannequins owned by the department. This is especially helpful for first year fellows, and something that we do periodically throughout the year.
Additional opportunities to partake in simulation exist as well. There are interdisciplinary mock codes that fellows choose to become involved with and also have the opportunity to facilitate and serve as team leader for. There is a mannequin that allows for practice of CPR skills with real-time feedback and performance indicators.
Didactic and Research Links
The Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware Life Science Center has current approval from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC) and houses the research facilities for the Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware. The center has the necessary facilities to house both large and small animals.
Our department has a research laboratory within the Life Science Center, , formally the original Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware founded in 1940. The center is fully equipped with all necessary equipment, including invasive catheters, mechanical ventilators and respiratory monitoring equipment, intubation and tracheostomy equipment, and hemodynamic monitoring equipment. Many hospital and research departments have laboratory space within this building, and collaboration and borrowing of necessary equipment is easy and common.
In addition to this laboratory, the 2,500-square-foot laboratory of Dr. Thomas Shaffer will be available. Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding sources, his lab is outfitted with Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) equipment, hemodynamic flow transducers, critical care monitors, data recording instruments, computers, image analysis equipment, and cell and muscle bath setups. The lab also offers the capability of running in vivo studies with rats, rabbits, newborn lambs, weanling lambs and adult sheep. The animal research coordinator is Anne Heseck.
Finally, you will have access to research space at the duPont Experimental Station, formerly the home of duPont Chemical. Founded in 1903, it now serves as a collaborative research science and business development facility and is home to many fledgling companies and incubator/startups. Located less than 2 miles from the hospital, it is a short drive for fellows and serves as the home lab for Dr. Yosef Levenbrown, one of our critical care attending who investigates hemodynamic physiology in swine models.