Medical School

Molecular and Cellular Research Pathway

The Molecular and Cellular Research (MCR) Pathway provides core research skills in the area of basic science research.

About the Pathway
The MCR Pathway provides core research skills in the area of basic science research. This Pathway is focused on competencies that can be gained from scientific research that are transferable to clinical practice, including communication (oral and written), time management, information gathering, critical thinking/critical assessment (i.e. data analysis, critical reading of scientific literature), and problem solving. Students learn to work in teams and/or independently. 
Examples of Topics and Activities

Examples of Core Session Topics

  • How to take a clinical question and turn it into a research question 
  • Authorship Ethics 
  • Scientific Writing 
  • Journal Clubs 
  • The importance of accurate documentation 
  • How to write an abstract and develop a poster 
  • How to peer review and give constructive feedback 

Examples of Non-core Activities

  • Completing IACUC training 
  • Attending classes about citation management software 
  • Attend research Lab team meetings or meeting with mentor 
  • Performing experiments and analyzing data 
  • Attending seminars or conferences related to research topic 
  • Writing abstracts and/or manuscripts 
  • Developing a poster or oral presentation 
Goals and Competencies


The MCR pathway seeks to provide students with core research skills in the area of basic science at the level of the animal, cells and molecules. This will be accomplished through a combination of core curricular activities, and mentored research in order to directly apply those core skills.  Students participating in this pathway will be able to describe and apply key principles associated with the design, implementation, analysis, and reporting/dissemination of research. The pathway will support those students who seek to pursue research throughout their medical careers.  The pathway will also allow the students to sharpen other skills important for the practice of medicine including communication, documenting observations, teamwork, time management, and critical thinking. A central component of the pathway is participation in/completion of a mentored research project. 

Pathway Competencies or Objectives:

  • First-hand experience in the acquisition and synthesis of new knowledge by executing experiments and analyzing data 
  • In-depth understanding of a health-related issue through research, synthesizing this understanding by writing abstracts, manuscript or presentations 
  • A mentoring relationship with a faculty mentor outside the usual course structure 
  • Interpret theory and empirical findings in one's own research area by collecting and interpreting research findings 
  • Develop critical thinking and independent learning skills 
Pathway Directors

Alison Kriegel, PhD
Associate Professor, Physiology

Joe Carroll, PhD
Professor, Ophthalmology, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy