The fellows are encouraged to participate in the ongoing research projects, including serving as sub-investigators in over 30 clinical trials currently conducted at the PDCMDC.
The MDFTP is designed to inspire the fellows to pursue clinical or basic research in the area of movement and neurodegenerative disorders. They work with individual faculty and are mentored to develop their own research projects. In the process, they are trained to conduct clinical research closely adhering to the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and to uphold the highest scientific standards.
In addition to their daily training in the clinic and through various educational meetings, the fellows are trained and certified in various rating scales, including the UPDRS (Parkinson disease), UHDRS (Huntington disease), TETRAS (essential tremor), BFM Scale (dystonia), TWSTRS (cervical dystonia), and YGTSS (Tourette syndrome). These and other rating scales are often used as outcome measures in the various clinical trials.
The fellows are encouraged to take courses and learn about the scientific method and trial design, as well as acquire skills in grant writing. Fellows may choose to enroll in Baylor's Clinical Scientist Training Program. Fellows are also taught critical scientific thinking by reviewing and evaluating published and yet unpublished scientific reports. To facilitate their research projects the fellows have full access to various databases that are constantly being updated, including the Patient Database, DNA Bank Database, DBS Database, Video Library, video log, and EPIC.