Research Scholars Students meeting

Research Scholars Program


The Research Scholars Program is a 4-year, elective program to recognize SIU medical students for their research efforts completed while in school. Qualified students receive a certificate at graduation and will be recognized as SIU School of Medicine Research Scholars in both their residency applications (via ERAS) and the MSPE (Dean's letter).​

For two years, medical students Matt Mannion, Nic Revelt, Taylor Badger, Sam Mounce, Emma Johns, Bridget McClain and Hannah Roberts collaborated with faculty both at SIU and at outside institutions to find a model that works best for the curriculum.

Research Scholars Program
Research Scholars Program


Over the last 50+ years, the school of medicine has produced numerous physician scientists who have improved health care through basic, translational and clinical research. SIU alumni have gone on to research roles that include acting director-level positions at the NIH, Harvard, Mayo Clinic and more. For many of these investigators, their interests were nurtured during their time at SIU, when lab and clinical research opportunities were offered alongside medical training.

The purpose of this new track is to acknowledge these accomplishments and build on the excellent research already being done. The Research Scholars Program will allow students to graduate with recognition for their research efforts and create a venue to increase accessibility to research experiences for additional learners.


A group of faculty associated with the Research Interest Group (RIG) will administer the curriculum on the Springfield campus. In Carbondale, Dr. Diana Sarko will guide the program, with input from faculty directors of the Mentored Professional Enrichment Experience (MPEE) and Clinical and Research Experience (CARE). 

  • ​Completion of MPEE or CARE or another approved research project (outside institutional work is welcome but pre-approval is recommended)
  • Participation in the MPEE research symposium after M1 summer (only required for MPEE participants)

  • ​​Completion of required benchmarks including an abstract submitted to a local, regional, national conference or submitted to a journal.
  • ​​Participation in the SIUSOM Research symposium or the Teaching and Learning Symposium

  • Completion of required benchmarks including an abstract submitted to a regional or national conference or submitted to a journal
  • ​Participation in the SIUSOM Research symposium or the Teaching and Learning Symposium 

  • ​Completion of 6-week research elective. If research elective is registered on a student’s schedule by the ERAS due date, SIUSOM will articulate to residency programs that this student is on track to graduate as an SIUSOM Research Scholar.
  • ​Completion of required benchmarks including an abstract submitted to a regional or national conference or submitted to a journal

  • Students must remain in good academic standing throughout the program.​
  • Students must attend 60% of Research Interest Group (RIG) meetings, as a formalized curriculum to supplement research work.
  • ​Students must have a faculty member serve as a research mentor. Students can change this mentor at any time.  


Students within the Class of 2024 are the first eligible for the Research Scholars Program. They are eligible if they completed CARE (with a research emphasis), MPEE, or another summer research project and complete an abstract before July 1, 2022 (the beginning of M3). The Class of 2025 is eligible if they complete CARE, MPEE or another research project in the summer of 2022. Both classes of the Lincoln Scholars Program are eligible, but some adjustments will be made to allow for the program to be completed in a shortened time frame. All following classes at SIU School of Medicine will be eligible.

Research Scholars Program
Students in SIU Lab

Contact information

The program launched on July 1, 2022 (or the beginning of the academic year) for Y1 and Y2 students). If you are interested in this program, please notify Dr. Vidya Sundareshan, Dr. Andrea Braundmeier-Fleming, Dr. Sowmyanarayanan Thuppal, Dr. Boyung Suh or Dr. Diana Sarko.


Need more information?

Yes. Your RSP mentor is a faculty member that should guide you through the RSP pathway. Ideally, you will want this person to be intimately familiar with your research project they don't need to be your research supervisor. Also, you will want to have a strong and trusting relationship with this faculty mentor to ensure that you meet the RSP pathway requirements. 

If you decide to change your RSP mentor, you need to identify a new mentor, notify either Dr. Sundareshan or Dr. Braundmeier-Fleming of the new mentor and then the new mentor will be sent the RSP mentor toolkit. All Mentors must formally acknowledge and accept that they are serving as the RSP mentor. 

No. You can have a research project mentor that is non-SIU faculty, but your RSP mentor must be a SIUSM faculty member. 

There should be no letters of concern/warning or academic probation from the SPC for that year for the student to be eligible to participate. 

Yes, you can complete the program, but you will need to identify a conference locally or regionally to present your work for review. 

The student must ensure that the mentor has completed the evaluation at the end of the year. 

Yes. We encourage you to stay involved irrespective of your ability to complete the RSP.