skip to content

Research Track Preclinic

At a glance

The two-semester Research Track lecture series will start in winter semester 2012/13 and will be open to all interested medical students from the second semester onwards. As part of the lecture series various laboratories and departments will present their current research topics in a fashion understandable for first-year students. Students of the Research Track will have the opportunity to perform 2-week internships in various research laboratories, allowing them to get in touch with biomedical and clinical research at an early stage of their academic career.

To support the scientific interest of the students performing the Research Track curriculum, the attendance of the lecture series and carrying out an one-week internship are creditable as first scientific project. In agreement with the scientist of the host laboratory, it maybe possible to extend the duration of the internship. If the internship is extended is a at least for one week, it will be possible to get credit for the internship as elective course Biology to the student.

Furthermore, it is planned to extend selected fields of competence with a Research-Appendix. Research-related content relevant to the subject of the respective field of competence will be offered with 1 – 2 additional hours of lecture.

Lecture series

The Research Track lecture series aims to fascinate and motivate young medical students for science by giving insights into the diversity of the biomedical and clinical research areas. Currents research topics at the University of Cologne and other research facilities will be presented at a comprehensive and understandable level suitable for young students. The lecture series is open-to-everyone but mandatory for students pursuing the Research Track. The students have to take part on at least 50% of the lectures to get credit for lecture series as part of the first scientific project. The lecture series will be held mainly in English to acknowledge English as the predominant language in scientific communication.


The, at least, two-week internship offers a first contact with the “bench” to the students. The students should be actively involved in a current research project of a master, doctoral or postdoctoral student. The central educational objective is the understanding of the scientific question behind the project, which should be answered by the experiments that are performed during the course of the internship. By the way, the working space where life scientists perform their actual experiments is called the “bench”.

In preparation for the internship the student should learn how to write a concise project proposal in which he/she defines the scientific question, the associated working hypothesis and the experimental plan to test the working hypothesis. The experiments performed during the internship should help to reject or confirm the working hypothesis. Problem-based thinking and designing scientific projects in the laboratory are a key aspects to which the students should be introduced. Especially to impart the ethical and practical principles of good scientific praxis to the student should be an important part of the first scientific project in the curriculum of the Research Track. The results of the internship should be summarized in a short report in the style of a scientific paper.

Fields of Competence

Currently selected fields of competence are broadened scientifically. The following information is therefore representative for the current situation and maybe a subject of change.

It’s planned to add a scientific addendum, the so-called Research-Appendix, to selected fields of competence. Within the frame of the Research Track, 1 to 2 additional lectures will be offered in which scientific topics related to the specific field of competence are discussed. This may include the molecular basis of pathogenesis, successful application of findings of biomedical basic research in clinical settings (translational medicine), new type of therapies and new drugs (e.g. based on small molecules) or personalized medicine. Research Track students attending the Research-Appendix will be rewarded by exempting them from the term paper/written exam of the respective field of competence.