Medical Student Research

Medical research informs everything we do in medicine. Basic research helps us understand how the human body works at the molecular and cellular levels. Applied research in the lab gives rise to potential new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. Clinical research tells us what medical interventions work and do not work in humans. Health services research helps us understand the best way to deliver medical care, including ongoing issues with health disparities. Quality improvement research helps make our care better. Epidemiologic research, population health research, and health policy research guide us in the realm of public health. And finally, medical education research helps us understand the best way to teach the next generation of doctors. Translational research and dissemination and implementation science bring these different research approaches together to bridges the gap from bench to bedside..

Given the importance of research within the medical profession, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine requires a mentored research project and associated written MD Thesis to graduate. All areas of exploration on the biomedical research spectrum, detailed above, are open for these projects. The Office of Medical Student Research is committed to helping you have a productive and positive experience, whatever your previous research background. We have numerous resources available, including a needs assessment delivered to all incoming medical students, in-person workshops, online learning modules, an easy-to-use website that links faculty research mentors and interested students together, and a dedicated faculty and staff team give you individualized support through the research process.

Being involved in research during medical school will help you in your career at every stage, including residency, fellowship, and beyond. Understanding medical research—what it is, how it is done, what it shows us and its limitations—allows you to practice both the science and art of medicine after graduation and beyond, whether you are doing the research yourself in an academic setting or serving patients or communities.  Research can also be personally rewarding, opening doors to travel, collaboration, and lifelong learning.

If you are a CWRU faculty member interested in being a medical student research mentor, please click on the ‘Submit a Project’ link and take a few minutes to enter one or more projects that would be applicable to medical students. If you have many projects, enter your research interests and contact information and indicate that students should contact you.  As of 2023, the large majority of required medical student research occurs over 12 weeks of summer.  Many students continue the same project or join another one beyond this required experience.  You can submit projects that are appropriate for either timeline. 

If you are a current CWRU medical student, please click on the ‘Search for Project’ link to search the database for potential research mentors and projects. This requires CWRU single sign-on.

We also keep a partial list of potential student research opportunities external to CWRU, of which we are aware. Click on the ‘External Research Opportunities’ link to explore these.

If you need help or want more information, please email

Thank you,

Rosa K Hand, PhD, RDN, LD, FAND

Associate Professor, Nutrition
Director, Medical Student Research & Scholarship

Sharon Callahan 
Administrative Director, Medical Student Research & Scholarship