Research opportunities for fellows include development of an independent project under the guidance of a Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) and participation as a co-investigator in ongoing sponsored clinical trials. Fellows are guided through the process of mentor and project selection, hypothesis development, study design, statistical planning, data collection, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation by program leadership, SOC members, and the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics. Mentors and projects can originate from the Department of Pediatrics or the broader West Virginia University research community. The West Virginia Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute also offers resources including biostatistical support, pilot grants, etc.

Fellows have 20 months of research time in the fellowship to complete their scholarly activities including a quality improvement (QI) project. However, fellows also need longitudinal clinical experience to become an independent neonatologist at the end of training, so overnight calls, outpatient clinics, educational conferences, etc. run concurrently with research time. For this reason, it is important to approach the research months with a focused plan. The following timeline is intended to guide fellows in developing their individualized scholarly work plan.

Year 1
Months 1-3
• Make a list of research ideas.
• Meet with at least 3 faculty members who could serve as a mentor.
• Sort possible project ideas based on whether they are ongoing or new research projects.

Months 3-5
• Confirm your mentor & research project.
• Make sure your project is one that you will lead.
• Meet with Dr. Cottrell to finalize research question and link with biostatistician.
• Form SOC & hold first SOC meeting.

Year 2
Months 6-7
• Meet with biostatistician to develop an analytical plan that supports your research question.
• Calculate sample size and other elements you will need for the research design.
• Meet regularly with mentor to plan study in collaboration with analytic plan.

Months 7-8
• Hold SOC meeting
• Submit IRB / Animal Subjects Application
• Write introduction and methods for your manuscript based on your preparatory work.

Months 8-10
• Meet with Dr. Cottrell or biostatistician to develop database structure and data entry plan.
• Start study once approved.
• Begin collecting data.
• Meet regularly with mentor to discuss study challenges.

Months 10-12
• Check entered data for accuracy.
• Meet with biostatistician to run preliminary analyses.
• Compile preliminary data into abstract & submit to regional and national research meetings.
• Hold SOC Meeting.
• Continue collecting data if applicable.
• Schedule Pediatric Grand Rounds presentation for 3rd year.

Year 3
Months 13-15
• Start data analysis.
• Finish writing introduction & methods of manuscript.

Months 15-18
• Hold SOC meeting.
• Review data analysis with statistician.
• Submit abstracts to national meetings.
• Start personal statement for ABP.
• Finish writing manuscript and have mentors & SOC members review and edit.

Months 18-20
• Hold final SOC meeting.
• Submit manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal.
• Submit personal statement to ABP on your research experience.
• Present Pediatric Grand Rounds on project.

The calendar month when you have each research month will vary depending on your clinical schedule. Please keep the following dates in mind.

PAS Abstract Deadline: Early January
PAS meeting: Late April/Early May AAP meeting
Abstract Submission: Early April
AAP NCE meeting: Mid Sept. – Early Nov.
WVU Van Liere Research Day: March
Vermont Oxford Quality Collaboratives: Teams form in November, and QI work starts in January.

Fellows are strongly encouraged to present their research at local and national conferences. Recent fellows have received the following honors and engaged in the following scholarly activity.


  • Oral and Poster presentations at the AAP National Conference in New Orleans, LA
  • ASPEN (American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) Neonatal Fellowship Travel Grant Awardee in Tampa, FL
  • Attendance at Vermont Oxford Network National Quality Conference
  • Attendance at the IHI National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care
  • Certification in NeuroMovement Method training
  • Certification in Lactation Counseling through the WV Perinatal Partnership and WV Breastfeeding Alliance


  • Attended Hot Topics Conference Washington DC
  • Attended Annual Neonatology Conference, Nemacolin, PA
  • Attended AAP National Conference, Orlando FL
  • Fellow Instructor at CHOP Simulation Boot Camp, Philadelphia, PA


  • Attended Hot Topics Conference Washington DC
  • AAP NeoPREP An Intensive Review and Update of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
  • AAP Section on Neonatal Perinatal Medicine -- Central Conference on Perinatal Research, Louisville, KY
  • Presentation at West Virginia University Annual Quality Improvement Fair, Morgantown, WV
  • Attended Annual Neonatology Conference, Nemacolin, PA
  • Attended and presented at AAP International Conference and Exhibition, Orlando, FL


  • Attended Hot Topics Conference Washington DC
  • Poster presentation at 89th AAP Perinatal Neurodevelopment Symposium, Bonita Springs, FL
  • Attended Annual Neonatology Conference, Nemacolin, PA
  • Attended NICHD Conference on Maternal-Fetal-Neonatal-Reproductive Medicine, Chicago, IL
  • Platform presentation at West Virginia University Van Liere Research Day, Morgantown, WV 


  • Poster Presentation at PAS, Baltimore, MD
  • Poster Presentation at WVCTSI Conference , Charleston WV
  • Attended Annual Neonatology Conference, Nemacolin. PA
  • Attended  PAS, Baltimore, MD 

Our Neonatal-Perinatal faculty and staff members also regularly attend the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, AAP National Conference & Exhibition, Vermont Oxford Network Annual Quality Congress, AAP NeoReviews Plus Committee Meetings, The Gravens Conference in conjunction with March of Dimes, Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD) meetings, and CORD Academic Assembly as a cross-pollination educational event.