The UCLA CTSI Research Associates Program (CTSI-RAP) provides undergraduate UCLA students with the opportunity to gain exposure to hospital-based medicine as well as clinical research in an academic medical center. The program also builds a stronger support infrastructure for the research initiatives of UCLA faculty physicians and investigators. Research associates play a key role in the implementation and integrity of research protocols in which they are involved. They are also given the opportunity to make rounds with medical teams, observe common procedures, and experience didactic teaching sessions during the course of their research days.
The unique blend of first-hand clinical experience and scientific research gives alumni a unique advantage in public healthcare.
Research associates are trained to conduct clinical research studies, collect and maintain securitized data, assist in the authorship of research protocols, aid in statistical analyses, and co-author abstracts, posters, and papers. In addition to research, students are exposed to experiences meant to educate and prepare them for a career in healthcare. As a result, research associates become comfortable with the workings of a hospital and gain skills in professionalism, patient communication, and research methodology.
News Articles and Social Media:
Mona Reddy Kurra
Alumni: Paul Abraham, Shagufah Ajmal, Eli Aminpor, Fiza Baloch, Ashraf Beshay, Udayvir Birdi, Gregory Bogie, Jack Buckanavage, Tanya Budarina, Emaan Burney, Quang Cao, Jolene Chan, Janice Chang, Tiffany Chen, Nathan Cheung, Hussain Chharawalla, Ipsita Dey, Crystal Dickson, Andrew Dionson, Sherry Dorosk, Jagjot Dosanjh, Aria Fariborzi, Victoria Ford, Christen Gerhart, Kereat (Kiki) Grewal, Michelle Guan, Omar Habib, Sohini Halder, David Ho, Hyejin Hong, Erin Hu, Joshua Hughes, Kashif Iqbal, Kelsey Jiang, Adrian Jones, Neha Joshi, Daniel Kadden, Sne Kanji, Ratushtar Kapadia, Rabia Khan, Gyunho (Justin) Kim, Marilyn Kimbrough, Rachel Kipp, Megan Kirschner, Amy Kumar, Gabrielle Le, Connie Lee, Harrison Lee, Victoria Lee, Sonia Lele, Michelle Liang, Jar-Yee Liu, Franklin Liu, Oria Mimi Lu, Karrie Ly, Joyce Ma, Aditya Mamtora, Mario Martinez, Nikita Mathew, Vineet Mathew, Ryan McLaughlin, Muskaan Mehra, Rohit Mohindra, Xena Morataya, Elizabeth Murguia, Ankita Nair, Varshni Nandakumar, Disha Nangia, Cassia Ng, Jewel Ng, Katherine Ngo, Alan Nguyen, Kevin Nguyen, Maria Nguyen, Terry Nguyen, Matthew Obusan, Stephanie Ong, Stevyndennis Onggo, Jessica Osanyinpeju, June Pan, Joyce Ye Hee Park, Alyssa Parry, Mili Patel, Shreya Patel, Hannah Pham, Rebecca Phelan, Sandhya Rajkumar, Vaidehi Ramanarayanan, Katherine Reckamp, Bryanna Reinhardt, Dean Renna, Sienna Ringgenberg, Afrida Sara, Pegah Savehshemshaki, Ellery Schlingmann, Katherine Sheu, Alec Simoni, Manpreet Singh, Joshua So, Clara Song, Bhavanna Spreepad, Michelle Tengarra, Ekaterina Tiourin, Elizabeth Tran, Joyce Tran, Matthew Tran, Hailey Valles, Zoey Wang, Shirley Wong, Jessica Yang, Qi (Vera) Yang, Douglas Yao, Jordan Young, Hamzah Yusuf, Daniel Zaki, Lily Zhang, Edmund Zhi
Adolescents and Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)
ATN-CARES Study - Adolescent HIV Medicine Trials Network (ATN); Comprehensive Adolescent Recruitment and Engagement Studies (CARES) [IRB: 16-001819]
Developmental Synaptopathies Associated with TSC, PTEN, and SHANK3 Mutations [IRB: 15-000205]
Magnetic Resonance Elastography for the Quantification of Liver Fibrosis in Children with Liver Disease [IRB: 16-002044]
Neurocognition, Depression, and Alzheimer's [IRB: 15-000184; 17-001218;17-001876; 18-001442]
Pediatric Oncology Studies [IRB: 19-000353, 18-000211, 16-000073, 18-001815]
Potential THC- and opioid-sparing effects of myrcene and beta-caryophyllene [IRB: 19-001519]
Smoking and Vaping in People Living with HIV/Smoking QT [IRB: 20-001179]
Therapeutic Response of Cannabidiol in Rheumatoid Arthritis [IRB: 19-001123]
Use of a Wearable Sweat Sensor to Detect Electrolytes and Biomarkers in Patients with Heart Failure [IRB: 19-000388]
Study Liaison: Alec Simoni
The Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) is the primary outpatient unit for clinical research conducted at UCLA. Specialized areas of research include Cardiology, Neurology, Neuro-oncology, Oncology, Endocrinology, Pediatrics, and Sleep Study. RAP students are granted a great opportunity to closely observe bedside clinical research as well as to interact with patients. Common procedures include, but not limited to, intravenous (IV) injection, blood draw, ultrasound testing and minor surgery. Additionally, you will be mentored one-on-one by highly experienced nurses, who can explain each procedure/study in detail. Rounding in CTRC also offers you an extensive exposure to different healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurses, clinical research coordinators, and basic science researchers. This would help you consolidate your career goal in the healthcare field or other industries.
Serum Collection in Healthy AB Donors [IRB:18-000099]
An Exploratory Study of Nivolumab with or without Ipilimumab in Advanced Metastatic Cancer [IRB:18-001539]
Monocyte E-cigarette Study[IRB:18-001147]
Sleep Health Aging Research for Depression [IRB:16-000583]
ICVD Diagnosis by PhekB [IRB: 18-001167]
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome [IRB: 12-001780]
The Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) Consortium
Pediatric Immunodeficiency Study [IRB:11-002303]
Desmoid Tumors/Fibromatosis [IRB: 18-001815]
Peanut Oral Immunotherapy [IRB:18-000124; 18-0001392]
Pre-Operative Telemedicine Consultation [IRB:19-000554]
Microbiome and Diet in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) [IRB:13-000080; 15-000691]
Cannabis Questionnaire in Rheumatology Patients [IRB:19-001123]
Prospective Assessment of Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) Supression in Cardiomyopathy (PAPS): A Pilot Study [IRB:18-001006]
The Caregiver Sleep (CARES) Study [IRB:16-001256]
BrainMapD - Threat and Reward Neurocircuitry
Undiagnosed Disease Network
POMA Phase 1 Interaction Study
PREDICTS - QRISK3 and Lupus and Depression [IRB:13-001285; 15-000786]
Asthma Phenotypes Assessment [IRB:18-002015]
Visual Aid - PrEP in HIV High Risk Youth
USIDNET Registry for Immune Disorders [IRB:17-001393; 16-001950]
Carotid-corrected Flow Time
2021 Abstracts - Featured at the virtual 2021 Undergraduate Research Day at UCLA:
2020 Abstracts - Virtual presentations featured at the 2020 Virtual Undergraduate Research Day at UCLA (due to the COVID-19 pandemic, abstracts are shared in lieu of poster presentations):
2019 Posters - Featured at the 2019 Undergraduate Research Day at UCLA:
2018 Posters - Featured at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Day at UCLA:
2017 Posters - Featured at the 2017 Undergraduate Research Day at UCLA:
2016 Posters - Featured at the 2016 Undergraduate Research Day at UCLA:
Join our mailing list to receive email updates throughout the application process: bit.ly/ctsi_rap_recruitment
Zoom Information Sessions:
In-Person Coffee Chats:
Q: What types of students are you looking for?
A: We encourage students of all backgrounds and experience interested in clinical research, healthcare and medicine to apply. We review and evaluate all applications and interviews very carefully to determine those students best suited to participate in the program and benefit from its mission and goals. Even if you are unsure, we still encourage you to apply.
Q: What are the weekly commitments to the program?
The program has a required weekly 1-hour meeting and then 8 hours of volunteering on one or more studies for a total of 9 hours. There is some flexibility during exams and university breaks and holidays.
Q: What if I am a freshman or in my final year at UCLA and will be graduating in June 2024?
A: Unfortunately, we are unable to accept freshmen and senior students at this time. Since most students remain in the program past the one-year commitment to continue their research involvement, only 2nd and 3rd years students are eligible to apply.
Q: How has the program changed with the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: We have resumed numerous in-person volunteer research activities and are working on transitioning into more shadowing. The Volunteer Office continues to evaluate the possibilities and our leadership and advisors actively explore available opportunities for our members. This is a continual process, and we actively communicate with UCLA Health to monitor updates.
Q: What is the admission process like? Is the application process holistic?
A: The admission process includes an application and resume submission, followed by interviews for candidates invited to move forward in the process. There are two stages of interviews during fall quarter. Our application process is holistic and takes into account all elements of the application and interview processes. We encourage anyone interested in the program to apply.
Q: Will my research qualify for SRP 99/199 credit?
A: Many of our students partake in SRP 99/199 research for course credit. Depending on the study(ies) that you onboard onto, there may be an opportunity to pursue SRP 99/199 credit.
Q: What benefits will I gain from the program?
A: CTSI-RAP offers its students many benefits, ranging from: clinical research experience, hospital volunteer hours, providing and receiving mentorship and career guidance, patient contact, shadowing/rounding with medical teams, observing procedures, leadership opportunities, interaction with healthcare specialists, professional networking, and abstracts/posters/publications.
Q: What if I am not pursuing a pre-med major?
A: You do not have to be pursuing a pre-med major to apply. All majors are welcome. We would expect that one of your career goals is in medicine, health care, or research to reach your full potential in the program.
Q: Is there any special coursework required as prerequisites?
A: No, there is no required coursework, although an introductory biology or physiology class taken either in high school or at UCLA would be beneficial.
Q: What does the one-year commitment require?
A: The one-year commitment requires participatory hours throughout the academic year and does require some summer hours. Summer hours are to be determined by leadership and our study portfolio at that time. If a student is unable to commit to summer hours, there may be other alternatives to arrange for participatory hours.
Q: Which days of the week and what times do I need to be available to commit to the program?
A: A total of 9 hours per week is required for active participation in the program which consists of a 1-hour weekly meeting and 8 hours of research. The weekly 1-hour meeting is typically scheduled in the early evening on Mondays. Most research is conducted Monday through Friday 7am-7pm. However, there are opportunities for research activities outside these hours in the evenings and/or on weekends. If you are unable to commit to these requirements, you will not be able to fulfill the needs of our investigators who depend upon us for assistance with their studies.
Q: I have other activities that I am involved with at UCLA and/or I have to work to earn money for my education; will there be times that this will conflict with those schedules?
A: We would hope that you will be able to balance your academic, extracurricular, and work commitments with those of RAP. You might choose to be on studies that do not conflict with those other schedules. However, prior to applying, please consider whether you will be able to balance the strict standards of this program with your other commitments. Only you will be able to make that determination. We are very supportive of your main academic purpose at UCLA and want to ensure that you continue to maintain high academic excellence.
Q: What details should I provide in my resume?
A: The resume should include any work or volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, and special skills/talents. Tips and pointers for your resume may be found on the UCLA Career Center website at https://www.career.ucla.edu.
Q: How important is prior work and/or volunteer experience in a research or medical setting?
A: Prior work and/or volunteer experience in a research or medical setting is not required, however, including such activities in your application and/or resume would be viewed favorably.
Q: What if I did not have prior opportunities to participate in activities outside of school due to family, work, health, or other obligations?
A: There is a section in the application to include this additional relevant information at the end.
Q: Will you be verifying the information in my application?
A: No, we will not be verifying the information in your application prior to the interview process, however, we may choose to verify relevant information including references for final candidates. In order to volunteer in the UCLA Health System, all final candidates will undergo volunteer screening, background checks, and orientation requirements. We strongly advise that you be completely honest in all your responses prior to submission and during the interview and final evaluation process.
Q: How competitive is admission to the program?
A: We receive many applications from interested students every year. Accepted RAP students have routinely been very satisfied with their experience and have encouraged fellow students to apply.
Q: When will interviews and final selection take place?
A: Interviews will be conducted late October to mid November and final selection will take place by late November.
Q: How can I prepare for my interview?
A: Tips and pointers for your interview as well mock interviews may be found on the UCLA Career Center website at https://www.career.ucla.edu.
Q: How many students will be accepted in Fall 2024?
A: We expect that 15-20 new students will be offered participation in the program.
Q: What if I am not accepted?
A: If you are not accepted into the program this year, we encourage you to seek out other research opportunities on campus including those offered through the Undergraduate Research Center – Sciences Program. Those opportunities may be accessed at http://sciences.ugresearch.ucla.edu. If you are still interested in RAP, we always encourage reapplying next year if you remain eligible for the program.
Q: Will I be notified if I am not accepted?
A: Yes, all applicants will be notified of their application status at the end of each round. If you do not hear from us, we encourage you to please follow up and e-mail: email@example.com.
Q: If I am one of the accepted students, when will I start in the program?
A: Students will participate in the volunteer screening, onboarding, and orientation process during the months of December and January.
Q: What are the policies of the program?
A: The policies of the program are articulated in our CTSI-RAP Student Manual and in the CTSI Human Resources and Office of Volunteer Services policies.
Q: What if I need assistance with completing the application and/or have additional questions not answered here?
A: Please contact the CTSI-RAP Recruitment Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Application: RAP Application
For student inquiries, please contact email@example.com. If you are a PI or study staff member, please contact Dr. Shaker-Irwin.
Dr. Laurie Shaker-Irwin
Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Dr. Noah Federman
Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Clinical and Translational Science Institute