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During the three-year fellowship program, all subspecialty trainees have time to conduct academic research. The objective is that the trainee develops and completes a mentored hypothesis-generated project leading to publication of results in a peer-reviewed manuscript. The program has established the following activities to attain this objective:

Research Activities/Opportunities

  • Establishing a research project: First year fellows spend several months during their first year of training to develop hands-on skills in a basic science laboratory and/or develop a clinical research project. Our fellowship program is flexible, and research projects can be conducted in areas such as basic science, global health, public health, quality improvement or antibiotic stewardship. The fellow is expected to choose a research project and mentor by the close of their first year.
  • Mentorship: Fellows can have a mentor within the Pediatric Infectious Disease division or seek mentorship from those in other divisions such as Adult ID or Gillings School of Global Public Health.
  • Scholarly Oversight Committee: Developed for and by the fellow during their first year of fellowship, this committee includes Dr. Belhorn (Program Director) or Dr. Thompson (Associate Program Director), an additional ID Faculty Member chosen by the fellow, and one to two additional mentors with expertise in the area of scholarly activities. The fellow meets semi-annually with this committee every six months throughout the training program to review the progress of the fellow, assist in securing research funding, and help design plans for their future career. At the conclusion of the training period the Scholarship Oversight Committee submits a final report to the Program Director summarizing the scholarly activity of the subspecialty fellow during their years of training.
  • Presentation at national/international conferences: We expect fellows to present results of their scholarly activities annually at the UNC Pediatrics Evening of Scholarship and at a national or international conference of their choosing. We also support our fellows to attend the St. Jude’s/PIDS conference.
  • Grant preparation/submission: Under the direction of the research mentor(s), the trainee writes a grant proposal during the initial year of training for funds to support a mentored hypothesis-generated project. This proposal will be submitted either internally (i.e. NIH T32, or funding through the Children’s Research Institute, NC TraCS, or the Office of Global Health Education) or externally (i.e. PIDS Foundation awards or others).
  • Manuscript preparation/submission: During the third year, the fellow will have generated sufficient data for preparation and submission of a manuscript to a peer-review scientific publication. Our goal is for each fellow to publish at least one original research manuscript before the completion of fellowship.

Continuing Education

  • If desired, we encourage fellows to pursue Master’s Degree at UNC’s world-renowned Gillings School of Public Health (
  • Fellows are encouraged to attend research seminars in various basic science and clinical departments as soon as they arrive to UNC. These seminars allow early exposure to faculty on campus involved in research as well as exposure to high quality and topical research projects.
  • Fellows participate in the NCTraCS (, Responsible Conduct of Research, course and the Pediatrics Department Core Curriculum and Seminar Series to enhance their education in topics including research skills and biostatistics.