Research team in front of ATS 2019 sign

One of our Division’s primary missions is to produce the next generation of physician-scientists and academic clinician educators in the field of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. We have a strong track record of graduates who have gone on to successful careers in basic, translational, clinical, and health services research. Fellows select their academic track, either a research or clinician educator, by the end of their first year of fellowship (although select fellows may elect to apply into the UCLA Specialty Training and Advanced Research [STAR] program prior to matriculation).



  • The research tack is intended for fellows who are interested in pursuing an academic career as an NIH-funded physician-scientist. The track is designed to provide protected research time during the 2nd and 3rd years of the PCCM fellowship. Generally, a fourth year of training is encouraged to ensure ongoing protected research time while applying for extramural funding (e.g. career development award).
  • Fellows in the research track will have 75% protected time for research and/or coursework and with 25% clinical time. In order to ensure the maintenance and going training of clinical and procedural skills, the 25% clinical time includes high-yield core rotations, one weekly half-day of ambulatory continuity clinic, and the opportunity to participate in outpatient procedures with various services (e.g. interventional pulmonology and pulmonary vascular disease). If additional research time is necessary beyond the 3rd year of PCCM fellowship, fellows will maintain their continuity clinic with minimal clinical duties to prioritize protected research time.
  • We encourage and provide guidance for research fellows whose research interests are outside the realm of our Division. Our fellows have had success with both pulmonary and non-pulmonary faculty mentors (e.g. Immunology, Biophysics, Pathology, Health Services, Ethics, etc…), in addition to UCLA and non-UCLA mentors (e.g. University of Washington, University of Cincinnati, UCSF, Caltech etc…).

Mentorship and guidance:

  • During 1st year, fellows receive guidance from both the pulmonary division leadership and STAR program leadership (if applicable) to help select an appropriate research mentor.
  • By their 2nd year, research fellows are directed to either the 1) Health Services & Clinical Research committee, or 2) Basic & Translational Research committee. These interdisciplinary research committees are comprised of senior physician-scientists, junior faculty, and co-fellows. Their purpose is to provide feedback and guidance for scientific progress, grant writing, manuscript preparation, and career development.
  • Each committee meets quarterly, and fellows are expected to present their works-in-progress, including scientific content and grant outlines.

Funding and grant support:

  • Our funding sources include the Pulmonary Division’s NIH T32 grant, the DOM STAR program, and the IGNITE-MSCR program.
  • The vast majority of our fellows on our research track are part of STAR. This program provides the following: 1) funded advanced formal training in the form of a PhD or postdoctoral fellowship; 2) protected research time during fellowship with a path to transition to junior faculty; 3) special monetary support available for scholarly activities; 4) a structured STAR curriculum including seminars in grant writing, career development, etc... See the STAR website ( or our STAR Program page for more details.
  • The Department of Medicine will support select fellows via the 2-year IGNITE-MSCR Program. Fellows apply to this program during the first year of fellowship. This program provides the following over 2 years: 1) tuition for the MSCR program; 2) protected research time during fellowship.

Types of Research:

Basic & Translational Investigator Option

The basic investigator option is for fellows interested in the mechanisms of pathology and their translation to the bedside. Basic research fellows who enroll in STAR also have the option of pursuing a PhD or postdoctoral training in a graduate school discipline through UCLA or Caltech. In recognition of the basic science education already received in medical school, as well as the concurrent clinical responsibilities of fellows, STAR basic science fellows generally have limited coursework and no TA responsibilities.

The DGSOM campus includes prominent research laboratories, cutting-edge and comprehensive core and animal facilities, and opportunities for numerous collaborative relationships on campus and at the West Los Angeles VA. To demonstrate the breadth and depth of our Division’s research opportunities, a small sampling of current Pulmonary projects include: the mechanisms of allograft rejection following lung transplant, tumor immunology for vaccine development in lung cancer, novel -omics analyses in models of pulmonary hypertension, effects of tobacco and cannabis on lung physiology, mitochondrial metabolism in lung cancer, biomarkers of severity of disease in ARDS, cholesterol metabolism in pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, alveolar macrophage lipid immunometabolism in pulmonary fibrosis,  iron metabolism in critical illness and chronic lung disease, and many more.

Clinical & Health Services Investigator Option

Fellows interested in health services research are encouraged to pursue a PhD or postdoctoral fellowship through the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH), Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research, or the Pardee RAND Graduate School, supported by the STAR program. Available fields of study include epidemiology, biostatistics, precision medicine, study design, implementation science, health outcomes research, health economics, and other health services research areas, as applicable to the fellow’s chosen research project.

The Division also supports training for those interested in clinical trials research, with mentoring from senior faculty working on a variety of critical care and lung disease focused interventions. For those interested in pursuing a Masters’ of Clinical Research (MSCR), they are encouraged to apply for the IGNITE-MSCR program. Applications are accepted during the first year of fellowship and supports fellows during their second and third years. Learn more about this program here:

Cross-disciplinary research teams are common in these fields, and mentors are often selected from complementary disciplines within and without the division of Pulmonary or Department of Medicine. Facilities and programs available for clinical research training include the pulmonary function research laboratory, the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC), the VA Health Services Research & Development Center for the Study of Healthcare Implementation, Innovation, and Policy (CSHIIP), and an ongoing collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS). Current investigations include single-site and multi-site clinical and health services studies in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency, COPD, health care utilization and outcomes in critical illness and chronic lung disease, and disparities in lung transplant.



  • Fellows in the clinician educator track have ~40% time allocated during their 2nd and 3rd years of fellowship for research and scholarly activities, including clinical research, publishing case reports/book chapters/review articles, undertaking QI projects, and other activities.
  • Fellows have the opportunity to pursue a formal 1-2-year UCLA Medical Education Fellowship offered by the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Dean’s Office:
  • All clinician educators will also participate in the Medical Education Fellows Curriculum during their 2nd and 3rd years. This is a multi-part workshop series designed to prepare the clinician educator for a career in medical education, with a focus on teaching skills, curriculum development, and medical education research.


All fellows are expected to demonstrate productive use of their academic time, including presending abstracts at national conferences, publishing original research or review papers, and giving a research presentation at Pulmonary Grand Rounds at the conclusion of fellowship.

For further information about research and training opportunities available to our fellows, prospective applicants are invited to contact Heather Draper with inquiries:

Heather Draper
Fellowship Program Coordinator, Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship
Email: [email protected]