The Research Concentration within the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency Training Program provides an individualized and mentored research training experience.

Research Concentration Program

RCP Leadership: Assistant Director: Rachel Ross, MD, PhD Senior Faculty Advisors/Co-Directors: Justin Baker MD, PhD, John Denninger, MD, PhD, Andrew Nierenberg, MD, Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD Co-PI’s (R25): Maurizio Fava, MD, Shelly Greenfield, MD, MPH

Program Mission:

The Research Concentration Program’s (RCP) mission is to prepare residents for careers as investigators in academic psychiatry by facilitating greater exposure to research activities and training during residency. Up to four individual trainees will be selected annually, two to three at the PGY1 level and up to two from current MGH/McLean residents. Membership in the RCP provides residents with:
  • Protected time for focused research activities
  • Funding support of sanctioned research and educational activities
  • A mentored research experience
  • Committee oversight of the resident’s development as a researcher
  • And an individual research curriculum tailored to each resident’s interests and stage of training
Please see the Research Concentration Program webpage for more detailed information.

Research for the General Resident

While clinical training remains at the core of the MGH / McLean residency experience, the program is committed to fostering career development and academic pursuits throughout residency training. All residents are encouraged to develop an academic project that can come to fruition during residency, either through presentation at a local, regional, or national meeting (e.g., Harvard Psychiatry Research Day, Harvard Education Day, Senior Talks, the APA Annual Meeting, Society for Biological Psychiatry, ACNP, etc.) and/or publication in a peer-reviewed journal. To facilitate this, the program will assign interested residents a Research Career Mentor, a member of the MGH/McLean faculty with research interests similar to that of the resident. During the neurology and psychiatry months of PGY1 year, residents are encouraged to take time to meet with possible mentors on both campuses. Opportunities to meet with the training directors to explore interests and find suitable mentors is readily available. Additionally, all PGY1 residents can dedicate two weeks of their four-week elective time to research activity. By the beginning of PGY3, each resident will have established a research mentor for their academic project that can be accomplished by graduation. All RCP residents are expected to spend one day per week (10 hours) pursuing academic or research interests during the eight months of the year not spent on the MGH Consult Liaison (C-L) Rotation. All residents have a flexible PGY4 curriculum in which up to 35 hours per week are available for their individual design around interests and experiences they want to complete prior to graduation. Many residents use this time to carry out academic projects that form the basis for fellowship applications or clinical jobs following residency.

Applying to the Research Concentration Program

The following information must be submitted electronically as a single PDF document to Rachel Ross by April 1 of the academic year prior. Only current or matched MGH/McLean Residents are eligible to apply. Each section must be on a separate page. Please follow the order of the application as follows and adhere to the maximum number of pages allowed for each section indicated in parentheses. Label each section and include applicant’s name in upper right corner of each page. Please follow NIH format guidelines: Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype, or Georgia fonts with a font size of 11 or larger with minimum of ½-inch margins. All applicants must provide: (1) Applicant C.V. (4 pages) – NIH biosketch OR Harvard format preferred. (2) Research Training/Career Plans (1 page) – brief description of present or recently completed research training, and applicant’s future career plans.
Applicants applying during PGY-1 or later must provide: (3) Proposal (2 pages with no appendices) – a statement from the applicant outlining training and/or project goals that will be accomplished during the program. For residents with more established interests and project goals (i.e., PGY2 and PGY3), one representative project should be described in sufficient detail to elucidate hypothesis, significance, and central methodology. Figures, tables, diagrams, etc., must be included within the 2-page limit. Applicants are encouraged to include a rough timeline of proposed research activities, including local and national conferences, research education seminars, and other anticipated benchmarks (e.g., application for research awards, manuscripts submissions, IRB applications, etc.). Applicants should also describe other scientific collaborations they are either considering or already pursuing. (4) References (1 page, optional) – a listing up to ten bibliographical references may be included. (5) Abstract (less than 250 words) – a summary of the research project written in layman’s terms. If the applicant is accepted into the program, this material may be used in the Program’s website. (6) Mentor C.V. (4 pages) – NIH biosketch OR the biography portion of the curriculum vitae only. (7) Current grant support of the mentor (2 pages) – this must be included. If an applicant has two mentors, NIH biosketches and current grant support must be included for both mentors. (8) Mentor Letter of Support (1 page) – Applicants must obtain a letter of recommendation providing details about the candidate’s accomplishments and activities that demonstrate the applicant’s research potential, and justify additional protected time from clinical responsibilities during PGY2 and PGY3. The letter should describe the preceptor’s accomplishments as both a researcher and mentor as well as a description of the specific responsibilities that preceptor would have with regard to the applicant’s research training program. Preceptors must be approved by the RC Executive Committee based on their track record of research, mentorship, and dedication to supporting the unique challenges faced by research-oriented psychiatry residents. One additional letter of support from either a co-mentor or graduate school advisor is permitted.
The breadth of research opportunities I continue to learn about between the two campuses is tremendous, and I’m confident that I will find opportunities to further explore my interests. Michael Nevarez, Class of 2014
During my PGY-1 year, I joined the lab of Dr. Naoshige Uchida in Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. The RCP provided me two months during my PGY-2 year where I could be nearly all of my time in the lab (except an afternoon each for psychiatry didactics and clinic). During my PGY-3 year, I had protected time almost daily to conduct experiments. Vinod Rao, Class of 2015