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UR Medicine / Neurology / Education & Training / Neurology Fellowships / Experimental Therapeutics Fellowship

Experimental Therapeutics Fellowship

Program Description

The Experimental Therapeutics fellowship (NS-07338) at the University of Rochester is the only NIH funded fellowship specifically aimed at developing clinical researchers focused on neurotherapeutics in neurology. The program has been continuously funded since 1990 and since that time has trained over 80 fellows who are now at over 25 institutions. Virtually all fellows completing the program have secured grant funding as part of their training with many receiving multiple grants.

The fellowship, which can be completed in any field of neurology or clinical neuroscience, has four principal components:

  1. Experimental Therapeutics ModelClinical training – While the fellowship’s focus is research, you will receive excellent clinical training in the subspecialty of your choice. The University of Rochester has national and international leaders in neuromuscular diseases, movement disorders, epilepsy, HIV, dementia, multiple sclerosis, neuro-oncology, neurocritical care, vascular neurology, pediatric neurology and global neurology.
  2. Coursework – Training in biostatistics, clinical trial design, bioethics, and grant writing, is tailored to the needs and interests of the fellow. Fellows have increasingly chosen to pursue a masters in translational research or clinical investigation, offered through the University’s NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Institute, as part of the fellowship. The fellowship provides funds to cover the cost of the masters programs, which can be completed during the two year fellowship.
  3. Experimental therapeutics – The heart of the fellowship is training and first-hand experience in experimental therapeutics. You will be actively involved in the design and conduct of clinical trials, funded by NIH, foundations, and industry. Many fellows serve as a clinical monitor, responsible for assuring the safety and welfare of research participants, for multi-center and often multi-national, clinical trials. Through that role, fellows are members of steering committees comprised of the leading researchers in their discipline. Fellows, depending on their interests, can work with investigators on designing first in human studies to translate therapies from animal models to humans, serve as site investigators, and help plan phase III clinical trials or all of the above.
  4. Independent research projects – Fellows may come with their own research projects that they want to continue, or during the course of their fellowship, develop new research interests. To help pursue these ideas, fellows are mentored and expected to write their own grants. Fellows in the program have successfully competed for NIH career development (K) awards, American Brain Foundation fellowships, NIH Loan Repayment awards and foundation awards.

This training program draws upon the strengths of:

  1. More than twenty-five clinical investigators with major research programs in neuromuscular disease, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, psychiatry, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, stroke, neurovirology, and neuro-oncology.
  2. Interactions with faculty in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, all of whom have extensive experience and ongoing collaboration with the clinical investigators.
  3. Strong research collaboration with the Departments of Pharmacology and Physiology, and of Neuroscience.
  4. The resources of the Center for Health and Technology which oversees more than 30 multi-center clinical trials.

The program is aimed at training clinical neuroscientists in:

  1. The clinical, pathophysiologic, and pharmacologic aspects of neurological disorders
  2. Design implementation, data management and statistical methodology of controlled clinical trials
  3. Methodologies for examining of the natural history of nervous system disorders

By the conclusion of the fellowship, fellows have subspecialty clinical training, formal training (often including a masters degree) and experience in experimental therapeutics, collaborators in multiple disciplines, including biostatistics and neuroscience, and a rich network of clinical investigators across the country and frequently the world. Fellows are very well positioned for research careers in academic medicine or related fields. Over 90% of fellows have obtained academic positions and continue to be successful. Other program graduates work in the Pharmaceutical industry.

The program offers competitive compensation, travel opportunities, generous tuition benefits, and additional features designed to help fellows realize their potential. The University is collegial and welcoming to fellows and investigators who want to work across disciplines. Rochester, NY is a family friendly, affordable city that provides a rich array of cultural and outdoor activities that are readily accessible to fellows and their families.


Most first year fellows receive a salary of $67,827 per year plus benefits. Compensation in the subsequent year(s) is based on performance and fellows’ developing portfolio of research support.

Travel Expenses

The fellowship provides a travel stipend and additional funds are available for fellows presenting their research. Fellows attend and frequently present at national and international meetings in their field of interest. In addition, fellows are encouraged to attend FDA Advisory meetings as several faculty have served or serve on FDA Advisory Committees.


The fellowship and University provide educational funds sufficient to cover the costs of courses or obtaining a Masters in Translational Research or Clinical Investigation or an MPH.

Other Features

  • Mentoring Team: Fellows benefit from broad mentorship including a primary mentor (an established investigator in the fellow's field of interest), a biostatistician, and a neuroscientist who provide a broad, multi-disciplinary exposure and experience for fellows.
  • Participation in extramurally-funded clinical research: Fellows have hands-on experience in 3 or more clinical studies while developing their own independent project(s). Fellows become co-authors on papers reporting the results of these projects.
  • Grant Preparation: Fellows learn to design, research, and develop extramural grant applications in a highly-mentored environment. Most fellows completing the program have had successful grant applications prior to the end of training.
  • Working Group on Clinical Trials: This seminar series includes faculty and fellows interested in experimental therapeutics. Bi-weekly meetings consist of general discussion of experimental therapeutics issues, particularly the design, performance and analysis of clinical trials.
  • Mellow Fellows: Informal research-social lunch meeting held monthly designed to provide fellows an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas with experienced investigators and biostatisticians, and with each other.
  • Journal Club: Monthly journal club focused on pre-clinical literature in experimental therapeutics.
  • Advanced Degree Programs: Fellows have the opportunity to pursue a curriculum leading to an MPH or a master's degree in Translational or Clinical Research
  • Ethics in Research: All fellows must take a course on scientific integrity and the responsible conduct of research. This requirement is met by Ethics in Research, which is offered during the Fall semester. This cost is covered by University benefits and the training grant. Fellows also obtain experience reviewing proposals seeking approval by the committees on human subjects research.


Applications are now being accepted for fellowship positions starting in July 2021 and July 2022. The University of Rochester provides equal opportunity for fellowship positions, regardless of sex, race, handicap, color, and nationality or ethnic origin. Applications from minority candidates are encouraged. Funding sources require United States Citizenship or Landed immigrant status.

Applicants must have a M.D., D.O., or Ph.D. degree and have completed training in neurology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, neuropsychology, pediatrics, neurosurgery, or related field and be committed to two years of fellowship training related to clinical neuroscience. We accept 2-8 fellows per year.

To apply for the program, please provide the following:

  1. A brief statement of your interest in the program and your subspecialty of interest
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Three letters of recommendation (Ideally, one from your Program Director and one from your Department Chair)
  4. A photo (optional)

Please mail the materials to the attention of:

Dr. Robert C. Griggs
Department of Neurology
Channelopathy and Muscle Study Projects
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 669
Rochester, NY 14642-0669

OR email:

Contact Information

For additional information about the fellowship, please contact:

Robert C. Griggs, M.D., 585-275-3707