Fellows spend at least two thirds of their time, primarily during their second and third years, in a protected research environment during which they have no clinical responsibilities and no call. Fellows identify an appropriate mentor during the first months of their fellowship, although they are encouraged to explore opportunities prior to starting the fellowship. Research mentors and projects can be chosen from any of the three sponsoring institutions and any department where research related to infectious diseases is being carried out. Exceptional opportunities exist for training in clinical, translational and basic science research. Fellows interested in epidemiology and clinical trials have the option of participating in the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center Masters in Epidemiology program.
Research training begins in the first year and continues through the second and third years of the fellowship. Each fellow has a scholarship committee that provides ongoing advice throughout training. By completion of training, fellows are subspecialty board-eligible and have either published first authored manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals or participated as an investigator in clinical trials. Support to develop grant-writing skills is available and extended support to continue training beyond the third year is available in select instances.
Fellows participate in the biweekly Infectious Diseases Research Conference and monthly journal club.