Scholarly Pursuit And Thesis

The Scholarly Pursuit and Thesis (SPT) course is integrated longitudinally throughout the School of Medicine four-year curriculum.  It is designed to develop physicians who are life-long learners capable of critical inquiry and medical information literacy to produce physicians for patient-centric care. Students will rediscover curiosity and skills needed to understand and use evidence-based approaches for basic and clinical research. The students will work closely with mentors they chose, course directors, and faculty to utilize these skills to develop a scholarly research prospectus.  By the end of the SPT course, students will each write a capstone thesis and present their projects to the community at a research symposium showcasing their findings and innovative ideas for the future of medical research and patient care.

Mentors and Projects

Mentors and projects that the students and mentors develop can come from any field as long as the students can propose a project that has been researched effectively, includes some sort of intervention or examination (experiment, chart review, product design, data collection, etc.), has a good plan for analysis of results, and will include a discussion of the results with potential application and questions for the future.

Time with the student will vary from project to project. Overall, the mentor needs to commit to working with the student for 4 years (projects chosen and designed at approximately end of semester 1 and thesis submitted at approximately end of semester 7). However, during this time due to obligations and schedules of both, this may mean meeting from almost every day in some labs to maybe meeting every two to three weeks for some clinicians or mentors with overfull schedules. As the projects goes on, there may be less need for frequent interactions until data review and analysis. We anticipate that mentor-student meetings will also include some “life lesson” discussions and the potential to develop a lasting relationship. Perhaps we can estimate 1 hour per week face-to-face on average.

Mentor Benefits

1) All mentors will receive an academic affiliation with the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine. Mentors with current appointments will be placed at that level and mentors from outside of academia will be usually placed at the rank of Assistant Professor of Medical Education.

2) An enthusiast and curious student for 4-years who will receive additional research skills/training in the SPT program (see below). Many of the students will also have prior experience with research from their time as pre-med in college.

3) The curriculum design provides education in basic science (year 1) and clinical training (year 2) in an accelerated fashion producing an experience mini-physician to enhance the research team.

4) Students will have experiences all over Fort Worth with the potential to share or expand your research.


Before choosing a mentor and project, the students will be trained in literature search strategies and critical appraisal of literature. They will also have activities to regain their sense of childhood curiosity and become proficient questioners. They will have training in human subject’s research and general responsible conduct of research (including ethics, plagiarism, conflict of interest, etc.).

Contact Mike Bernas or Tristan Tayag for any questions or if you would like us to visit you.

Location of Scholarly Projects from Phoenix (expect to be similar at TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine)

Sample of every 10th project in database listed alphabetically

  • 3T MRI in the Evaluation of Acute Appendicitis in the Pediatric Population
  • Analyzing Unspecified Chest Pain Diagnoses and the Impact of Physician Staffing at the PVAHCS ED
  • Assessment of the baseline thoroughness of cleaning at one hospital dialysis suite
  • Case-based Facilitator Behavior Assessment Milestone Tool
  • Coccidioidomycosis as a Cause of Sarcoid in Arizona
  • Comparison of Postoperative Respiratory Function in Neonates with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome –Following First Stage Palliation
  • The Cryptic Peptides, Prepro-Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone 186-199 and 194-199, Suppress Anterior Pituitary Prolactin Secretion in vivo and in vitro