Scholarly Pursuits

Beyond clinical excellence, our trainees develop an area of scholarly focus in Neurology. This can be broadly defined, ranging from social outreach, to quality improvement, to basic science. We provide residents with the time, resources, and mentorship necessary to develop an academic dimension to their career.

There is dedicated time for scholarly work, as well as didactic and discussion sessions focused on research activities. This begins in PGY-2 and continues throughout training (and can begin in the PGY-1 year for those completing their medical internship in Philadelphia). Time and funding is set aside for every resident to attend two national meetings during training. Residents can apply to the Research Track to obtain additional time for research during residency, and access to support for research activities during Fellowship.

The Research Track

Residents whose career plans include substantial involvement in research activities are encouraged to apply in the Fall of their PGY-3 year to join the Research Track. The application consists of a focused research proposal that includes aims to be conducted during Residency and Fellowship, and a career development plan that describes training and support from a mentoring team. Upon acceptance into the Research Track, residents are provided with additional elective time totaling 46 weeks during their PGY-3 and PGY-4 years (and 50 weeks total during residency) and spend at least 24 consecutive elective weeks completing their research project during their PGY-4 year.

The application to the Research Track also serves as the basis of applications for additional sources of research and training support. The University of Pennsylvania Neurology Residency holds an R25 grant from the NINDS to support the development of physician scientists in basic, translational, or clinical research. Participating residents are eligible to apply for 80% funding for 1-2 years of a research fellowship at any institution that has received an R25 grant. Additionally, the University of Pennsylvania Neurology Residency holds a T32 grant from the National Institute of Health to support a translational research fellowship for residency graduates who developed their research interest later in residency and did not participate in the R25 program. All residents interested in research have the opportunity to attend twice monthly lectures focused on research career development.

The Capstone project

As a requirement of residency training, all Penn neurology residents complete a “Capstone” project. The Capstone is an independent but mentored project that constitutes a substantive piece of scholarly work. While the scope of appropriate projects is broad, the Capstone is aligned with the development of a career in academic neurology. Hypothesis driven research projects target basic, translational, or clinical questions in neurobiology and neurology. For some residents, the Capstone is centered on a quality improvement or education project, or seeks to improve access to care for underserved domestic or global populations. In these instances, the project is still focused by the measurement of a quantitative outcome that can be used to evaluate the success of the intervention. All residents present their work during department Grand Rounds in the Spring of their PGY-4 year, and most residents report their Capstone work in a journal publication.

Below are the Capstone project titles from the prior academic year. A list of projects from prior years is also available.


  • The Pattern of Neurologic Disease in Tanzanian Tribal Populations
  • Measuring Abnormal Movement in Huntington’s Disease Using Wearable Sensors
  • The Natural History of Lyme Related Facial Palsy and Effects of Steroid Use in Children
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? Predicting Diagnostic Success for EMU Patients with Prolonged Non-Diagnostic Admissions
  • Interictal spike spatial distribution fluctuates over time
  • EEG Data Reduction: Where We Are, Where We Are Headed
  • Potential eligibility for hyperacute treatment in childhood acute arterial ischemic stroke: findings from a single-center 12-year cohort study
  • A Molecule of Madness (readings from an under-contract book)
  • Comparing Hospital Respiratory Outcomes Pre- and Post- Nusinersen Treatment in Children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
  • Cortico-hippocampal circuit dissection in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome
  • Developing and Implementing a Standardized Ictal Exam in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
  • A neural correlate for visual discomfort
  • D-Dimer and Detection of Occult Malignancy in Acute Ischemic Stroke
  • GAD-65 antibodies in epilepsy patients without autoimmune encephalitis
  • Virtual Cortical Resection Elucidates Epileptic Network Characteristics in Pediatric Patients
  • Effect of Fever on Cerebral Autoregulation

An academic environment

With over 21,000 students and trainees, the University of Pennsylvania is a large research institution. The Perelman School of Medicine alone (the home of the Department of Neurology) is the 3rd largest recipient of NIH funding support in the nation. Within the department of Neurology, most of the faculty engage in scholarly or research activity, and about one-quarter are tenure-track faculty who operate research laboratories. Department faculty are connected to the graduate groups across campus, and lead several of the University institutes and centers relevant to neuroscience.

Residents can avail themselves of research and scholarly opportunities from across the campus during the course of their training and are not limited to mentors within the Department of Neurology. Relevant resources at the University of Pennsylvania include:

Graduate groups:
  • Mahoney Institute of Neurosciences -- One of the world's preeminent institutions for neuroscience research and training. With almost 200 faculty from 18 departments and six schools from across the University, including the Department of Neurology.
  • The Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Group -- An interdisciplinary graduate group of over 300 faculty, again drawing from across the University and from within the Department of Neurology
Clinical, basic science, and policy centers:


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Contact Information

Department of Neurology
3 Gates, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
3400 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Frances E. Jensen, MD, FACP
Chair of Neurology

Raymond S. Price, MD
Program Director

Vanna Hing, Residency Coordinator
Telephone: (215) 662-3370