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Master of Science in Clinical Investigation Program
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Master of Science in Clinical Investigation

The Master of Science Degree in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) Program emphasizes the development of strong clinical investigation skills based on a solid foundation in study design, conduct of observational studies and randomized trials, clinical epidemiology, and biostatistics. Students acquire excellent writing and oral presentation skills through formal classroom work as well as by participating in several oral presentations. 

Trainees completing the MSCI Program acquire the necessary skills to successfully

  • Design, conduct, and analyze the results of clinical investigations at the individual and population-wide level. 
  • Design and analyze the results of studies that provide insights into the molecular pathophysiology of disease.

Trainees are grounded in the principles of clinical investigation with a flexible multidisciplinary focus providing curriculum tailored to their needs and interests as researchers aspiring to become successful independent clinical investigators. 

Our clinical investigation research program is primarily intended for individuals already trained in the medical sciences as well as others with relevant scientific backgrounds and experiences who desire further training in research design and methodology. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, medical students, other health care professionals, and PhD level scientists desiring to pivot to clinical investigations.


The MSCI Program offers two concentration tracks:

  1. Population based clinical research 
  2. Bench-to -bedside translational research

These concentrations allow students to enhance their knowledge based on their current interests and career objectives. The participating faculty, representing the interdisciplinary nature of our MSCI Program, come from the disciplines of epidemiology, biostatistics, clinical research, biomedical informatics, molecular medicine, genomics, advanced therapeutics technologies, and drug development. 


Students in the MS in Clinical Investigation Program complete a structured series of courses, seminars, and workshops related to the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical research. The core curriculum is enhanced with presentations by invited speakers, participation in journal clubs and research in progress seminars, research conferences, and extensive contact with their mentoring teams.

Students must satisfactorily complete a total of 36 credits to obtain the Master’s Degree. This includes a core curriculum, elective courses, and the satisfactory completion of their thesis research. Each student develops an individualized curriculum based on research goals, clinical responsibilities, and other factors. Students typically complete this degree over the course of 18 months to 2 years. Medical students take a year leave of absence from medical school to complete the MSCI via an intense 1-year curriculum.

For the satisfactory completion of a thesis, students must design a research project, defend a formal proposal, perform the described study, and prepare a scholarly scientific paper on the principal study findings. The thesis must be relevant to the student’s concentration track and written in the format of an article suitable for submission to a scientific journal. The initial thesis project, and final write-up of the research project must be approved by the student’s Thesis Committee which is comprised of three faculty members from the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. An oral presentation of the findings is required.

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Robert Goldberg, PhD
MS in Clinical Investigation Program Director
email Dr. Goldberg


Our faculty and students conduct science that makes a difference in several areas of excellence, including:

  • Aging
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Health Disparities
  • Health Informatics and Implementation Science
  • Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
  • Health Services Research
  • Pharmacoepidemiology

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Headshot of Alison Asirwatham

Alison Asirwatham, MD

Alison Asirwatham is Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UMass Memorial Medical Center. She received a Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences from the University at Buffalo where she also received her Medical Degree. She then completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UMass Chan Medical School. Her research interests include maternal cardiovascular disorders and improvements in surgical outcomes as well as medical education.

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Courtney Birchall, MD

Courtney Birchall is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UMass Memorial Medical Center. She received a Bachelors in Neuroscience from Stonehill College and a Doctor of Medicine from UMass Chan Medical School. She then completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn State Medical Center. Her research interests include improving surgical outcomes following cesarean delivery, as well as maternal substance use and exposure in pregnancy.

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Zachary Ballinger, MD

Zachary Ballinger is a general surgery resident in the Department of Surgery at UMass Memorial Medical Center. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, then received obtained a Doctor of Medicine at New York Medical College. He is currently on two academic development years, where he will be working closely with the Department of Pediatric Surgery on a variety of clinical outcomes, injury prevention, and quality improvement projects.

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Kathryn Delaney, MD, MA

Katie Delaney is a fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received a Bachelor's degree in English and Non-fiction Writing from Brown University, a Doctor of Medicine and Masters of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities from Northwestern University, and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Her academic interests include ethics and decision-making in prenatal diagnosis and ethics instruction in medical education. 

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Andreas Filippaios, MD

Andreas Filippaios is a T32 Cardiovascular Research Fellow and a Digital Medicine Fellow at the UMass Chan Medical School. He grew up in Athens, Greece and received his medical degree from the University of Athens Medical School. He completed his Internal Medicine training at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and practiced as an internist at Lowell General Hospital. His research focus spans across the intersection of cardiology and digital medicine, predictive analytics, and examining the impact and usability of novel point-of-care technologies and wearable devices. He aspires to pursue a career in cardiology. 

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Vincent Kan, MD

Vincent Kan is an emergency physician and a Clinical and Translational Science Research Fellow in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UMass Chan Medical School. He received his medical degree from Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine and fellowship in Emergency Ultrasound at UMass Chan Medical School. His research interests include evaluating the role of medical decision-making and practice variations in patient outcomes, health care disparities in emergency care, and improving trauma care in the geriatric population.

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Lara Kovell, MD

Lara Kovell is a non-invasive cardiologist and associate professor of medicine and obstetrics-gynecology, where she serves as the director of Pregnancy and Heart Disease and the Internal Medicine Residency Research Track. A Pittsburgh native, she completed her undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon, then received her medical degree, residency, and fellowship training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Kovell’s research interests are in improving maternal health and reducing health inequities in cardiovascular disease prevention, specifically for pregnant and postpartum women with hypertension. 

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Laurel O'Connor, MD

Laurel O’Connor is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UMass Chan Medical school, where she serves as an EMS medical director and medical director of the regional Mobile Integrated Health Program. She is also faculty in the UMass Chan Program in Digital Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Arts in the College of Letter and French Studies from Wesleyan University, and her medical degree from UMass Chan Medical School.  She completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at UMass Chan, and a fellowship in Emergency Medical Services at Boston Medical Center. Her research interests focus on the use of technology-augmented mobile integrated health programs to improve health equity and care delivery to older adults.

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Alexandra Onyiego, MD

Alexandra Onyiego is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Colorectal Surgery UMass Memorial Medical Center. Her General Surgery residency is at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans where she also received her Doctor of Medicine. Prior to this she received her Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. Her research interests include Colorectal Cancer in young and disadvantaged populations, specifically disparities that lead to poor outcomes. She is interested in researching new techniques and procedures in the field of colorectal surgery to improve patient outcomes.


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Inbar Plaut, MD

Inbar Plaut is a fellow in Pediatric Emergency Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics. She received a Bachelor's degree in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and a Doctor of Medicine degree from UMASS Chan Medical school. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Her research interests include using machine learning to develop algorithms that standardize and improve care in the Pediatric Emergency department.

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Justin Rucci, MD

Justin Rucci is a pulmonologist, intensivist, and post-doctoral research fellow at the Boston Veterans Affairs Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research. He received his medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and then completed a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Yale University followed by fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Boston University. His current research evaluates practice pattern variation across intensive care units and the associated patient outcomes. 

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Joseph Tejan, MD

Joseph Tejan is a T32 Research fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine. A native of Dallas Texas, he completed his undergraduate degree at Washington University in Saint Louis, then his medical degree at UT Southwestern medical center and completing his residency at Johns Hopkins Bayview. Dr. Tejan's research interests include biomedical devices and the integration of devices into patient's lives. He is working under the mentorship of Dr. McManus on digital health and device implementation for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Alexander Wilkins

Alexander Wilkins, PhD

Alexander Wilkins, Ph.D., is a Deaf Assistant Professor in the UMass Chan Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Co-Director of the DeafYes Center for Empowerment and Recovery. He has a degree in clinical psychology from Gallaudet University. He was a recipient of a Diversity Supplement Grant and is currently funded by a K23 Early Career Investigator Grant, both awarded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). His K23 research focuses on adapting motivational enhancement therapy for use with the deaf and hard of hearing community. His general research interests include improving access to mental and behavioral health services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.