Research Opportunities

The mission of The Saban Research Institute is to foster an environment of scientific excellence where biomedical research will lead to discoveries involving the molecular and clinical understanding of childhood development and the implementation of procedures to diagnose, treat and prevent pediatric diseases and promote child health. The Saban Research Institute ranks among the top federally funded pediatric research facilities around the country. Additionally, support is given by private individuals, granting agencies and private foundations.

Our research efforts are directed towards specific areas, in particular, cancer, AIDS, Immunology and immune defense, metabolic disease, adolescent medicine, and cardiovascular biology and surgery.  These efforts concentrate on fundamental research aimed at improving the understanding of diseases, on the exploration of novel therapeutic avenues (in particular, gene therapy), and on developing innovative approaches to prevent disease.

The Department of Pediatrics and The Saban Research Institute have made a strong commitment to support individuals interested in establishing successful careers as physician scientists. To serve this commitment, we established the George Donnell Society for Pediatric Scientists.

The Donnell Society is dedicated to improving the health of children by training pediatric scientists to perform innovative and high-quality research. The society includes pediatric residents, subspecialty fellows and faculty who are interested in performing pediatric research. The society provides mentorship, infrastructure, and a community for pediatric scientists in training. 

In addition, The Donnell Society sponsors one Donnell Fellow per year, chosen at the beginning of his or her pediatric internship year. Pediatric residency applicants submit a supplemental application prior to their interviews, and are interviewed by physician-scientists in their fields of interest. At the time they are appointed, Donnell Fellows are guaranteed admission into the fellowship program of their choice. The Society covers 50 percent of fellow salaries during the research years in fellowship. 

Donnell Fellows also receive:

  • An individual development plan, developed in consultation with the fellow, mentor, fellowship director and steering committee
  • Tuition for outside coursework
  • Annual travel allowance
  • Educational allowance for purchase of books, software, etc.

The Saban Research Institute also provides opportunities for pediatric residents who have an interest in research to spend part of their elective rotations in a research laboratory with one of the 100 faculty investigators within The Saban Research Institute. Our philosophy is to recruit the brightest and most devoted young physicians and to provide them with the proper environment and resources to establish a successful career in research. Applicants with previous research experience also have the opportunity to apply for the research tracks established by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Candidates for the Pediatric Residency Program who have an interest in adding research experience to their clinical training and who are considering a career as a physician scientist will have the opportunity to meet with The Saban Research Institute director and other research faculty members during interview day.