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The Summer Student Research Program (SSRP) of the Harvard Program in Neonatology (HPN) is administered by the Division of Newborn Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. The SSRP provides undergraduate and medical school students with an intensive laboratory and clinical research experience under the guidance of Faculty and Fellow mentors. Some of the many topics within Neonatal Research our mentors focus on include nutrition, radiology, lung vascular biology, epigenetics of fetal growth, rare disease, epigenetic mechanisms and more. Students who enroll in the Program will be appropriately matched with mentors based on their research interests expressed in their personal statement.
Summer Program students conduct work on a clinical, epidemiologic, or basic science research project under the direction of a mentor. Areas of study include developmental biology (vascular biology, nervous system development, molecular genetics), clinical research, and epidemiology/public health policy. The mentor guides the student through a summer long experiment. At the end of the summer, students are required to present a short PowerPoint talk to the rest of the group that provides a summary of their research.
As a supplement to the research experience, students are given the opportunity to observe the HPN's health care teams care for patients. Students will have the opportunity to sign up for electives for observation in the newborn nurseries, labor and delivery units, neonatal intensive care units, Center for Health Lung Development Clinic and Infant Follow-Up Clinic at Boston Children's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Students will need to coordinate their elective selections with their ongoing research schedule. The duration of an elective is between four and eight hours. At each hospital a Faculty member or Fellow is available to precept the student.
In addition to laboratory experience, students have the opportunity to attend weekly conferences. The conferences cover topics in Newborn Medicine in the areas of Basic Science and Clinical Correlation, Newborn Epidemiology, and Newborn Medicine Research.
Each week, a small group of students will learn about a patient in the NICU and they will present a summary of the patient’s clinical course and summarize the disease to the rest of the students. This weekly session is mentored by a Faculty member. This highly interactive tutorial is designed to provide students with insight into the pathophysiology and clinical management of specific neonatal diseases. Students will present their assigned clinical case to the group during the following week’s Clinical Case Presentation session.
Each student should plan to dedicate a minimum of 8 consecutive weeks, between June 1 and August 31, with a 30- to 40-hour commitment per week. Scheduling conflicts may be worked out with mentors on an individual basis.
In addition to the highly competitive and unique program that students experience, the SSRP offers a limited stipend to help offset the living expenses of Boston. Stipend levels are determined based on the student's academic level and amount of outside funding. Undergraduate Students receive $2000 total, including outside funding and stipend, Medical Students receive $3400 total, including outside funding and stipend. The stipends are provided for an eight-week period, and are paid bi-weekly. Medical Students are encouraged to apply independently for funding through the Society for Pediatric Research’s Student Research Program and supply a copy of this application. For more information about SPR’s Student Research Program please visit https://www.aps-spr.org/get-involved/student-research/. Both Medical and Undergraduate students are also encouraged to apply for their own funding through their academic institutions.
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”