Department of Internal Medicine Research

The Department of Internal Medicine is dedicated to excellence in research, education and patient care. Our overarching mission is to achieve preeminence as an exceptional academic department through expansion of our national reputation for innovation in fundamental research and patient-centered investigation. We are committed to the creation of new knowledge and for the translation of these findings to the overall well-being of patients from our community, region and nation.

The reputation of the Department of Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University Health Sciences as a nationally prominent research department continues to be sustained by substantive extramural funding from prestigious agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. Total extramural research funding in 2016-17 was approximately $45.6 million dollars annually, and we are ranked 28th nationally in NIH funding among departments of Internal Medicine for NIH fiscal year 2017. Several new investigator-initiated programs by physician-scientists, clinical investigators and research-scientists in several Sections throughout the Department have contributed importantly to our success.

A major feature of the environment within the department is facilitation of collaboration. Multidisciplinary collaboration is a vital attribute of our character and has been the reputation of this institution for many years. We strongly believe our culture of collaborative investigation combined with new research initiatives and training programs will ensure a bright and successful future for research within the Department of Internal Medicine.

Training Programs

Tinsley R Harrison Research Training Program

The Tinsley R. Harrison Translational Research Training Program is a new departmental initiative designed to provide an introduction to clinical and basic research for residents and fellows. Internal Medicine residents who have already had substantial research training may apply to enter the Internal Medicine Resident Research Pathway which provides an intensive research experience for promising future academic physician-scientists.

Many of the Sections within the department have excelled in the career development of young investigators through a strong mentoring experience. It is our hope that residents, fellows, and faculty in this department will succeed in such a system.

Molecular Medicine Graduate Training Program

A unique feature of our department is a graduate training program in Molecular Medicine. Over 30 students are currently working towards a PhD or MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine and several junior faculty are participating in a masters level program.

The curriculum emphasizes translational research and, unlike standard graduate programs, provides students with significant clinical exposure with the goal of linking knowledge from the bedside to the laboratory and back in order to more directly benefit patients.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty in the department are vital to the success of several major research programs at Wake Forest University Health Sciences including the Center for Human Genomics, the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation, the WFU Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Diabetes Research Center, the Section on Molecular Medicine, and the Clinical Research Unit.

Many of the essential faculty participating in the development of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) application from this institution reside within the department. Opportunities exist within these free standing WFSM Centers of Excellence for development of multidisciplinary research groups consisting of both bench investigators and clinicians.

See all Internal Medicine Research Faculty and Staff

Internal Medicine Research Projects

Also, the Department of Internal Medicine Informatics and Analytics Team aims to improve provider satisfaction and patient care, as well as serve as a leader in a Learning Healthcare System model. This is achieved through leveraging electronic health record (EHR) workflows and data extraction and visualization to develop innovative interprofessional clinical programs and quality-improvement initiatives. These efforts implement the best available evidence while embracing cross-departmental collaborations.

Internal Medicine Clinical Trials

The department has also developed a Clinical Trials Unit to help match faculty interest with that of potential sponsors. This unit, nearing completion will occupy ample space that is contiguous with our major clinic operation and will encourage participation in research protocols of more of our patients.

Medical research drives innovation in technology, treatment and process. Research is a top priority of the Department of Internal Medicine. Currently ranked 44th based on the most recent figures on National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, the Department’s goal is to move into the top thirty Departments of Internal Medicine. This year total extramural research funding was approximately $28 million. Of this, approximately $17.6 million was Federal funding, with $7 million from foundations and other sources, and $3.3 million from industry. The Department is actively seeking to increase extramural research funding from multiple fronts.

Research relies on intellectual capital. Department faculty members play vital roles in major interdisciplinary research programs at Wake Forest, including