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National Eye Institute Pre-doctoral (T-35) Summer Research Fellowship Program

The Graduate Center for Vision Research at the SUNY College of Optometry runs a summer research program supported by the National Eye Institute. The program is designed to help avoid a future shortage of clinician-investigators by attracting health professional students into clinical and health-related research as a career. Optometry students who participate in the program receive an NEI (T-35) Pre-doctoral Research Fellowship stipend of $4,775 for a full-time, ten week, summer commitment (June 1 to August 7 , 2015), and up to $875 for research-related expenses. Students will be paid twice, in early July and then at the end of the 10-week period. Thus, all students should be prepared to cover their own expenses early on.

We have 8 trainee fellowship slots that are open to students who have just completed their first or second years in any U.S. optometry program. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required. Students from underrepresented ethnic minorities are encouraged to apply.

Requirements for SUNY Optometry’s NEI (T-35) Summer Research Fellowship Program an Applicant include:

  • U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency
  • Completion of the 1st or 2nd Year in any U.S. Optometry Program
  • Submission of OAT Scores
  • Submission of Two Letters of Recommendation (Sent directly by the Recommenders by email or regular mail)
  • Submission of Official Transcripts of all Undergraduate and Optometry grades (including Fall 2014 Semester Grades)

The deadline for receipt of all application materials is March 16, 2015. Acceptance announcements will be made on or about April 1, 2015. To apply, please use the link below to submit the on-line application form.

Please send all supporting application materials to:
Debra Berger
Staff Associate
Graduate Center for Vision Research
SUNY College of Optometry
33 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Email: dberger@sunyopt.edu

Description of Training Program

Optometry is a rapidly growing health-care profession. Many of its procedures are based on the clinical experiences of practitioners and, in many cases, the scientific bases of them are still not clearly elucidated. For the advancement of vision health practices, there is a great need for clinicians with research training. The proposed training program is intended to introduce students to basic, translational and clinical research, as well as provide them with an appreciation of research and critical thinking as essential for improved clinical practice and patient care.
The research training may include experimental work in basic, translational or clinical research. Students are expected to gain knowledge of research techniques and strategies, and hopefully will bring these to bear on their own developing clinical experience.

Summer Schedule
The program will run for (10 weeks) each summer. All students will be required to take Responsible Conduct of Research Training, which will consist of two online programs and a one 3-hour seminar. In addition, students will take a graduate seminar of their choosing in order to provide the trainees with the sense of belonging to a community of research scholars with a common goal of advancing basic and clinical research knowledge. In addition laboratory research will be conducted through the whole ten-week training period. The first few weeks will be devoted to presentations on topics such as the strategy of scientific research, a survey of areas of clinical research that are in need of investigation, and presentations of research currently being conducted here. In later sessions, trainees will make presentations on the specific area of research in which they are involved. At the end of the summer session, trainees will be expected to write a 10-15 page summary of their experiences and results, as a trainee, and these will be collected, bound, distributed appropriately, and placed in the library.

Example of a proposed student program
A typical week’s activities for a trainee will be apportioned as follows:

(1) Three and one half days in laboratory research with a mentor. Generally, the trainee will participate in on-going research in the mentor’s laboratory, or develop a specific project for summer completion.

(2) One day doing library research and individual study. (3) One-half day in the trainee seminar.

During the last two weeks of the program, a large proportion of the trainee’s time will be devoted to writing a report on the summer’s research activities.

Please use the link below for a list of T-35 Research mentors and descriptions of their Research Program areas.

Download Icon T-35 Research Mentors