Tools of Human Investigation (THI) is a two-week elective rotation that focuses on clinical investigation, analytic and presentation skills, and career development. The course is offered four to five times throughout the academic year in order to retain a small group, interactive atmosphere while ensuring that all junior residents participate. Residents do not have inpatient clinical responsibilities during the THI course. Residents are exposed to a broad array of investigators in the Mass General community at all stages of their careers. At each session, faculty members summarize their own early career path, describe their research, and teach interpretation of the literature, presentation, writing, and research skills, exposing residents to a wide variety of research and academic careers and preparing them for leadership regardless of their chosen field.

The specific aims of Tools of Human Investigation are to:

  • Introduce pathways for early career development
  • Provide an overview of hypothesis generation and testing using a variety of study designs
  • Provide introductory principles of clinical research, including clinical trials, genetics and genomics, epidemiology, health services research and translational research
  • Provide the critical thinking skills necessary to appraise the scientific literature and communicate their ideas effectively

Residents also work on existing research projects or develop a new research question and then propose methods to test their hypotheses. Residents present their projects to faculty mentors and program leadership on the final day of the course. Residents are also encouraged to submit their projects to the Annual Resident Research Day.

Selected Recent Lectures in the THI Course

Selected Resident THI Research Projects and Resident Research Award Titles


  • Aggregatibacter as a trigger of autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-discharge Outcomes in Critical Illness Survivors with Medicaid Insurance Status: A cohort study
  • Peer Mentorship in Diabetes: A pilot and feasibility study in a Hispanic population
  • The short telomere syndrome in a patient with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cirrhosis


  • Pilot of an Embedded Discharge Scheduler for a Patient-Centered Discharge Process
  • A Global Map of Genetic Diversity in Babesia Microti Reveals Strong Geographic Population Structure and Identifies Variants Associated with Clinical Relapse
  • The Effect of Mean Arterial Pressure on Renal Outcomes During Treatment of Hepatorenal Syndrome and Acute Tubular Necrosis in Liver Cirrhosis


  • The R21C Mutation in Troponin I has a Founder Effect in South Lebanon and Causes Malignant Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Impact of rapid diagnostic tests for the diagnosis and treatment of malaria at a peripheral health facility in Western Uganda: an interrupted time series analysis

Back to Top