StARR Program

The UCSF Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) Program seeks to recruit, support and train outstanding clinical residents with the potential to become successful clinical and translational researchers. 

With funding from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), StARR supports UCSF residents for a contiguous year (July to June), in which residents devote 80% time to research and research-related training, with the remaining 20% of their time spent on patient care.

The goals of the StARR program are to:  

  • Guide promising residents in obtaining the methodological, analytic, and collaborative research skills they need to advance their research and career goals
  • Create and maintain effective, influential, and long-lasting mentor relationships for residents interested in research
  • Support residents in conducting high-impact research to improve prevention, detection, or management of cardiac, vascular, pulmonary or hematologic health conditions
  • Enable residents to compete for other forms of support to help them pursue future careers in clinical or translational research

The program builds upon a longstanding, successful Resident Research Training Program within the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Training program, which has helped more than a thousand UCSF residents obtain introductory research skills and pursue and present short-term research projects in the past decade.

For more information about the StARR program see:

Eligibility and Selection

To be eligible for the UCSF StARR program, residents should:

  • Be currently enrolled in a UCSF residency (Non-UCSF residents are not eligible to join the UCSF StARR program.)
  • Be a US citizen or a permanent US resident
  • Show evidence of interest in clinical or translational research (Prior research experience in cardiovascular, pulmonary or hematologic health is desirable but not required.)
  • Have a strong interest in conducting research related to an aspect of cardiovascular, pulmonary or hematologic conditions
  • Belong to a residency program or department that will co-sponsor their participation, including 20% salary and benefits during the StARR year

Of note, the departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Anesthesia and Laboratory Medicine have already confirmed their co-support of medicine, pediatrics and anesthesia residents selected for StARR.

Scholar selection process

Scholar selection is designed to identify the most promising candidates as well as guide candidates in identifying mentors and developing preliminary research plans before the start of the StARR year. This approach ensures that residents begin the StARR program with at least one committed research mentor and a preliminary research plan already in place.

Residents are encouraged to contact co-Program Director Dr. Alison Huang for a preliminary informal consultation prior to submitting an application. Following this, promising candidates will pursue a two-stage application process:

Stage 1

During stage 1, during the summer or fall before the proposed StARR year (before November 1 preferred), applicants submit:

  • A one-page cover letter describing their clinical and research background, any prior research training, and current or future research interests
  • A resume or curriculum vitae emphasizing any past research training, experience, or products
  • A brief statement of eligibility/support from the applicant’s residency director (see template)

Preferred format is PDF.

Stage 2

Following review of materials from stage 1, promising applicants will be guided in preparing additional materials by February 3 before the start of the StARR year, to ensure they have viable StARR research programs.

An online form will be sent to applicants to complete and attach required documents. All documents must be in PDF format. These include:

  • A letter of support from the proposed primary research mentor confirming interest in and ability to mentor the resident. If an additional secondary mentor or co-mentor has been identified, the applicant should include a brief letter from the co-mentor as well.
  • 2-3-page research proposal synopsis describing the objectives, methods and expected outcomes of a proposed project (with input from the primary mentor)
  • An NIH-style biosketch summarizing education/training, research goals and any past contributions to science or research support

Before appointments are confirmed, stage 2 applications are reviewed by the Program Directors and Steering/Advisory Committee, who consider the qualifications of the resident, the experience or resources of the mentor, and the appropriateness of the research plan.

Residents from internal medicine or pediatrics seeking to pursue StARR via the short-track pathway are strongly encouraged to make preliminary inquiries by the end of internship, to ensure that they can pursue a program of clinical care and research that will lead to board eligibility.

StARR Program Leadership

Alison Huang, MD, MAS, MPhil ([email protected]) is Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Co-Director of the CTST’s Resident Research Training Program at UCSF.

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PHD, MA ([email protected]) is Professor and Chair of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, the Lee Goldman, MD, Endowed Chair and Professor of Medicine and Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Training Program at UCSF.

Steering/Advisory Committee

These distinguished UCSF clinical and translational researchers also guide the program directors:

  • Douglas Bauer, Professor of Medicine and of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
  • Michael Cabana, Professor of Pediatrics and of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
  • Carolyn Calfee, Professor of Medicine and of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care
  • Jeffrey Fineman, Professor of Pediatrics 
  • Peter Ganz, Professor of Medicine
  • Deborah Grady, Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean for Clinical & Translational Research
  • Judith Hellmann, Professor of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care
  • Michael Matthay, Professor of Medicine and of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care
  • Steve Miller, MD, PhD, Professor of Laboratory Medicine
  • Jeffrey Olgin, Professor of Medicine
Administrative Leadership

Christian Leiva ([email protected]), the administrative manager for the UCSF CTST Resident Research Training Program, provides administrative oversight.