Research team in front of ATS 2019 sign

One of our Division's primary missions is to provide state-of-the-art research 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 clinical, basic, and translational research. Fellows select one of the two tracks by the end of their first year of fellowship (although select fellows may elect to apply into the STAR program prior to matriculation).


  • 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 their 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.
  • 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.
  • Fellows are required to present talks within the Division at least once during each research year and are encouraged to present at local UCLA conferences as well as regional and national meetings. This experience is considered an important part of the training program.
  • In addition to their chosen research mentors, research fellows meet regularly with an interdisciplinary research committee comprised of senior physician scientists to assist the fellows with career planning, choice of courses, grant writing, and appropriate laboratory experience. Fellows will be matched to one of two committees depending on whether they are pursuing health services/clinical research or basic science research.

Types of Research:

Basic Investigator Option

The basic investigator option is for fellows interested in mechanisms of lung disease or critical illness. 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 Ph.D. program in a graduate school discipline through the STAR program, during which they take graduate courses in biological chemistry, immunology and molecular biology as appropriate.

The Division’s facilities include state-of-the-art laboratories in molecular biology, cell biology, and immunology with extensive collaborative relationships on campus 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, effects of marijuana on lung biology, pulmonary host defense against viral and bacterial pathogens, bioinformatics, and molecular mechanisms underlying lung cancer pathogenesis.

Clinical Investigator Option

The clinical investigation program is for fellows wishing to pursue careers in clinical research. Fellows can apply to obtain a Master's of Clinical Research (MSCR) degree, also through the STAR program. Alternatively, fellows interested in health services research are encouraged to pursue a Ph.D. in health services. Depending on the trainee's research interest, fellows study in such fields as epidemiology or health services research while developing their research program. Many mentors are available in these areas within and outside the Division. Facilities and programs available for clinical 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. Ongoing investigations include clinical trials for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension, the utilization and outcomes of critical care, and novel therapies for asthma and COPD.


  • Fellows in the clinician-educator track will have approximately 50% time allocated during their second and third 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 4-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 papers or review papers, and giving research presentations at Pulmonary Grand Rounds.

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: hdrap[email protected]