University of Nebraska Medical Center

Initiating Research

Claire Xi, PhD, looking through microscope in research lab

As with many things in medicine, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We suggest that you start by collecting the most comprehensive information possible.

You may have come across an interesting and relevant clinical question that you would like to explore in the laboratory or the clinical research setting. The first step is to get a thorough overview of the literature. This should involve a structured and standardized literature search using medical subject headings (MeSH) terms on your topic of interest.

If you have never done one, watch this introduction, and then you can schedule a 1:1 session on how to do this effectively with UNMC library staff.

If you have not attended instruction on how to do a structured literature search, we can assure you that you will come away with the knowledge that will save you a lot of time. These skills will make your literature searches faster and more complete, reducing the likelihood of you embarking on a project lacking novelty because you missed major published findings on the topic. Tip: Leverage your literature search by publishing it as a review; grow your publishing portfolio while preparing your research project.

The UNMC library liaison responsible for the Department of Anesthesiology is Emily Glenn, Associate Dean, Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library. You can reach out to her directly and to library staff at askus@unmc.edu.

If you are not doing so already, start working with a citation management software as soon as possible. The standard tool that is used most commonly in the research world is Endnote. Endnote is available freely from UNMC to campus members. 

For more tips including how to write a research paper, please visit the Practical Resources page.

Regulatory Requirements

Research in the US is highly regulated, and it is all our responsibility to know and play by the rules. This encompasses multiple domains, including protecting human subjects, responsible oversight of animal care and use and appropriately managing and disclosing relevant conflicts of interest.

Clinical Research
Visit the Institutional Review Boards webpage to find important information. Complete the Human Subjects Research course via the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative with instructions, if needed. Please complete groups One and Two of the training.
Media Authorization Consent Form
Presentations containing individual patient case descriptions, photographs, videos, or medical imaging must be accompanied by a Media Authorization Consent form signed by the patient or an authorized representative.
UNMC Conflict of Interest Statement
Your annual UNMC Conflict of Interest (COI) statement needs to be current.  

COI, IRB, and CITI training must be in place before collecting patient data.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
To uphold UNMC’s determination to assure the finest care and most humane utilization of our laboratory animals, we must adhere to applicable Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee regulations. Consult with your primary investigator and follow all applicable coursework and certification before engaging in animal-related work.
Grant Funding
Note that any funds coming to or leaving UNMC have to be pre-approved by UNMC administration. This is administered through the UNMC Sponsored Programs Administration. Reach out to us well ahead (i.e., 4-6 weeks prior) of any grant deadlines to start this process.