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Research Opportunities for Students


SUNY Downstate is an important research facility where scientists and clinicians explore many urgent health problems. Historically, areas of research strength include cardiovascular biology, neuroscience, bioengineering-instrumentation and molecular and cellular biology. Current strengths include learning and memory mechanisms; pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiomyopathy; HIV/AIDS; immunology; pain and addiction; neurology; ophthalmology; and optical tomography imaging technology.

Downstate's role as the only academic medical center in Brooklyn is central to its powerful role in clinical, translational, and public health research. Downstate's research spans the entire "bench to bedside" spectrum as an integrated entity, bringing together biomedical scientists, clinical researchers, and practitioners with common interests. SUNY Downstate researchers have access to a diverse patient population.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center strongly encourages its medical students to participate in research. Although most students work on research projects during the summer between the first and second years of medical training, medical student research opportunities are available throughout the four years of medical school. There are a large number of student research choices, including projects in basic, translational and clinical science. A list of faculty research mentors and their areas of interest are on the institutional website. Students who wish to pursue research on a full time basis for a year at the NIH or elsewhere are encouraged to do so. Also, each year the Alumni Association sponsors one student for a full year of research between third and fourth year.

Many students participate in research during the clinical years for elective credit. Approximately 50 students each year participate primarily in clinical research at SUNY Downstate, although there are some who participate in basic science research as well. Approximately 20 students each year participate in research for credit at other institutions. In addition, the Clinical Neurosciences Pathway provides students interested in the clinical neurosciences with access to a number of stimulating clinical and basic research activities. Pathway students also are eligible for special summer and year-out opportunities. Research information and experience is shared within the Downstate Community, and the College of Medicine in conjunction with the School of Graduate Studies sponsors an annual Research Day where all students are given the opportunity to present posters on their work and discuss their research with other scientists and students.

Medical students who have participated in research may graduate with an award Distinction in Research or Commendation in Investigative Scholarship, or may receive departmental awards. Approximately 15 students per year receive this recognition. 

Petri dish under microscopeThe History of Research at SUNY Downstate

To learn more about research at SUNY Downstate, click here