Research team in front of ATS 2019 sign

One of our Division’s primary missions is to provide state-of-the-art research and scholarship training in pulmonary and critical care medicine, with the goal of producing the next generation of physician-scientists and academic clinician educators. We have a strong track record of graduates who have gone on to successful careers in health services, clinical, basic, and translational research. Fellows will select either a research or clinician educator track 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).

Please review our division’s research and available mentors on the “Faculty Scholarship Profiles” page.



  • Fellows pursuing an academic career as a physician-scientist will generally spend two to three years in research training, unless previous research experience provides an adequate background in a fundamental discipline. Generally, a fourth year of training is encouraged to provide the fellow with ongoing protected research time and time to apply for research funding.
  • Fellows in the research track will maintain ongoing clinical experience during the first two research years. They will have 75% protected time for research and/or coursework, with 25% clinical time, including one half-day of ambulatory patient care per week and the opportunity to participate in outpatient procedures with our faculty in order to keep up procedural training. If additional research time is needed, they will maintain their continuity clinic and only minimal clinical time, allowing for ongoing sustained and protected research time.
  • When appropriate, fellows are encouraged to pursue their major research interest with a faculty member or co-mentor outside the Division in areas such as biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, immunology, epidemiology, or health services research. They then can apply their newly acquired concepts and methods working with Division faculty.

Mentorship and guidance:

  • During 1st year, fellows will be provided with guidance from both the division leadership and STAR program leadership (if applicable) to help select an appropriate research mentor.
  • By their 2nd year, research fellows will be matched to one of two committees depending on whether they are pursuing health services/clinical research or basic/translational science. Each interdisciplinary research committee is comprised of senior physician-scientists, junior physician-scientists, and co-fellows. The purpose of the committee is to assist the fellows with career planning, choice of courses, grant writing, and appropriate laboratory experience, as well as provide real-time feedback on their research project.
  • Each committee will meet quarterly, and fellows will be expected to present their research works in progress periodically allowing for ongoing feedback from the group.

Types of Research:

Basic & Translational Investigator Option

The basic investigator option is for fellows interested in mechanisms of lung disease or critical illness and their translation to the bedside. It is supported by a training grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Admission to this program and support for this grant are highly competitive. While conducting research in the laboratory of a mentor, fellows have the option of enrolling in the PhD program in a graduate school discipline through UCLA or CalTech, supported by the STAR program, during which they take graduate courses in biological chemistry, immunology, and molecular biology as appropriate. For fellows who already have a PhD, the STAR program will provide support for a post-doctoral research position.

The Division’s facilities include state-of-the-art laboratories in molecular biology, cell biology, and immunology with extensive collaborative relationships on campus, at the VA, and nationwide. In the Division, active research programs include examining mechanisms of allograft dysfunction and chronic rejection following lung transplant, iron metabolism in mediating anemia of chronic disease and in critical illness, effects of tobacco and cannabis on lung biology, pulmonary host defense against viral and bacterial pathogens, bioinformatics, and molecular mechanisms underlying lung cancer pathogenesis.

Clinical & Health Services Investigator Option

Fellows interested in health services research are encouraged to pursue a PhD through the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) or RAND Pardee Graduate School, supported by the STAR program. Depending on the trainee's research interest, fellows will study in fields such as epidemiology, biostatistics, implementation science, health outcomes research, health economics, or other health services research areas while developing their research project. Fellows with a prior PhD in a health services-related field may also seek post-doctoral mentorship with senior faculty in the FSPH or the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research.

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), there may be departmental funding available for this degree as well.

Cross-disciplinary research teams are common in these areas, and mentors are available in these areas both within and outside the Division. Facilities and programs available for clinical research training include the pulmonary function research laboratory, the medical intensive care unit, the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute and CTRC (Clinical Translational Research Center), the UCLA School of Public Health, the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research and the RAND Corporation in nearby Santa Monica, the VA Health Services Research & Development Center for the Study of Healthcare Implementation, Innovation, and Policy (CSHIIP), and through relationship with Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS). Ongoing investigations include clinical trials for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, novel therapies for asthma, alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency, and COPD, health care utilization and outcomes in critical illness and chronic lung disease, and understanding disparities in lung transplant care.



  • Fellows in the clinician educator track will have approximately 40-50% time allocated during their 2nd and 3rd years of fellowship towards research and scholarly activities, including clinical research, writing case reports/book chapters/review articles, undertaking QI projects, and other activities.
  • Fellows will also be provided with opportunities to enhance their skillset in medical education with the opportunity to pursue a formal 1 or 2 year medical education fellowship offered by the UCLA Dean’s Office within the David Geffen School of Medicine.
  • 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 submitting abstracts for national conferences, writing 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]