Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Neuroinfectious Diseases at Columbia University Irving Medical Center for Physician-Scientists from Low Income or Lower Middle Income Countries

Program structure

  • Trainees will be supported as a clinical research fellow at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC, New York, New York) for 9 months and will facilitate hands-on mentored research projects in neuroinfectious diseases. In addition to being involved in daily research activities at CUIMC, the candidate will be expected to identify and develop a research proposal around a neuroinfectious disease topic relevant to their LIC/LMIC region and apply for a career development award during their time at CUIMC.
  • Adjunctive clinical training in neuroinfectious diseases and other facets of clinical neurology will be provided to the trainee at CUIMC through clinical observership, though the expectation is that the trainee will focus on their development as a researcher.
  • Ongoing research support and structured guidance will be provided through mentorship and faculty engagement established at CUIMC while the individual is conducting their research projects at CUIMC and most importantly, upon their return to the home country. This will be for the duration of the research project and early career development and will include support to produce scientific literature and develop infrastructure in country. A major fundamental priority will be to establish funding support to build individual and institutional research capacity in the LIC/LMIC institution. 

Program Objectives

  • To develop rigorous clinical research training opportunities and career development activities for a cadre of LIC/LMIC scientists and health research professionals to strengthen the capacity to conduct independent, sustainable neuroinfectious disease research at an LIC/LMIC institution.
  • To provide mentored training-related neuroinfectious disease research experience that is directly relevant to the health priorities of the LIC/LMIC. 
  • To strengthen the capabilities of trainees at LIC/LMIC institutions to lead, manage and train others in neuroinfectious disease research.

The research fellow will have the opportunity to develop:

    1. A strong foundation in clinical research design, methods, and analytic techniques appropriate for the proposed neuroinfectious disease research area and epidemiology;
    2. The enhancement of the trainee’s ability to conceptualize and think through research problems with increasing independence;
    3. Experience conducting neuroinfectious disease clinical research as well as trainees presenting and publishing their research findings;
    4. The opportunity to interact with members of the scientific community at appropriate scientific meetings and workshops; and
    5. The enhancement of the trainees' understanding of the health-related sciences and the relationship of their research training to health and disease.


Medical graduate with citizenship, residing and working in a low income or lower middle-income country as defined by the World Bank (

Individuals who have dual citizenship or permanent residency in the U.S., other high-income countries or ineligible countries are not eligible. The position will be held for 9 months at CUIMC, and salary support will be provided, including stipend for international travel of the trainee twice annually and living expenses while a fellow in NYC.

English language proficiency is required, Spanish speaking beneficial but not required.

Applicants will need to be eligible or hold a work visa.

The candidate will work closely with Dr. Kiran Thakur, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at CUIMC, senior faculty with clinical research expertise in the Neurology department and across departments (Infectious Diseases, Sergievsky Center, etc), and the Mailman School of Public Health, on clinical and translational research studies.

Columbia University Irving Medical Center is located in Northern Manhattan, Washington Heights in New York City, one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the United States. The hospital has over 2000 inpatient beds, serves over 2000 HIV-infected patients annually, and serves a large population of non-English speaking international patients.

We care for patients with a variety of tropical diseases (i.e. neurocysticercosis, TB meningitis), CNS opportunistic infections in HIV patients and post-transplant patients, and patients with immune-mediated and infectious meningitis/encephalitis/myelitis. Almost 30% of residents of our local area live below the Federal Poverty line, and nearly 25% have no access to health insurance. We thus have a strong commitment to training physicians who are committed to serving and improving the health of resource-limited populations, both locally and internationally.

Our inpatient neurology service is very busy, with an 18-bed neurological intensive care unit that manages complex neuroinfectious disease cases. All in close proximity to the hospital is the Mailman School of Public Health, School of Nursing, Medical School, and Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences, creating an exciting collaborative environment that will be accessible to the trainee.

Application Process

  • Personal Statement describing scientific and medical background including any background/training in neurological diseases and research, how the fellowship will fit into local research goals and particular areas/diseases of interest in neuroinfectious diseases
  • CV
  • visa status
  • three letters of reference preferably from senior faculty with whom the candidate has worked with clinically and/or scientifically, statement describing current position/faculty appointment, description of the facility working in/training in terms of research and clinical capacity
  • Letter from the hospital director and head of department stating that there is a commitment of the institution that the candidate has a position when they return.

A phone/video interview will be conducted with select applicants.

There will not be a formal degree obtained at the conclusion of the program.

Please send complete application materials to Dr. Thakur at


Columbia University Irving Medical Center


Kiran Thakur, MD