Areas of Research

Students have the freedom to select a basic, translational or applied biomedical research project from an array of research fields and laboratories. The project should provide the student with a scientifically rigorous, high-quality research training experience doing hypothesis/discovery-based research.

Mentor Selection

Students have the flexibility to choose their own mentor at any academic or nonprofit research institution in the United States (excluding the National Institutes of Health or any other federal agency), or they can choose to work with an investigator at their home institution. Students can also conduct research abroad as long as the proposed mentor is affiliated with a U.S. fellowship institution (on faculty).

Students are encouraged to work with an HHMI investigator, early career scientist, or HHMI professor, but are not required to do so.

The student’s choice of a mentor can significantly affect the outcome of the application. It is important that the mentor has:

  • experience in the research techniques involved,
  • external grant support from the NIH or other major agencies and the ability to support the student’s project during the entire fellowship term,
  • strong publications in the area of research the student is investigating,
  • a solid training track record, and
  • the time and interest to train the student.

Each mentor is limited to two Medical Fellow applicants in the annual competition.

Students can have a co-mentor if their research plan crosses several areas of expertise, or if the primary mentor is more junior and a senior co-mentor would strengthen the research training experience.

"Working in Dr. Engle's lab has given me the opportunity to investigate the etiology of rare neurodevelopmental diseases and see firsthand how our findings affect the lives of her patients. She has taught me how to use clinical reasoning to focus research questions that I can explore as a scientist, which will inform the way I approach problems in the clinic and lab throughout my career."

Sheena Chew
HHMI Medical Fellow