School of Medicine

SOAR - Student Opportunities for Advancement in Research


SOAR Office

The Office of Student Opportunities for Advancement in Research (SOAR) educates and supports BCM medical students in pursuing research opportunities. The SOAR database helps faculty and students find matching research projects. We provide information on how to complete the NICER attestation form, participate in Scientific Conferences, and learn from the Student Research Educational Resources. We also provide SOAR Travel Awards to support student research presentations at scientific and medical conferences. Medical students could also schedule one-on-one research advising sessions with the SOAR Director by emailing the SOAR office. 

SOAR Database 

The searchable SOAR database helps medical students to identify projects in their area of interest and to connect with faculty willing to serve as research mentors. Projects include basic, translational, clinical, health services, medical education, quality improvement/patient safety, and community medicine research.

Students: Learn how to search the database for specific terms or filter it by department, type of research, or keywords. You can also generate alerts for future projects that match your interests. After identifying a project, you must complete the NICER Authorization for Research Activities Form. Learn how here. If you cannot find a project that meets your needs or interests, you may search the VIICTR profiles website, or email the SOAR Director Mabel Perez-Oquendo, Ph.D. (

BCM Faculty: Learn how to list projects in SOAR or start here. A staff member in your group can submit projects on your behalf. The projects will be reviewed by the SOAR office before they are made public. After identifying a student, please guide them to specific training resources associated with your research (safety training, IRB, etc.). Email the SOAR Director Mabel Perez-Oquendo, Ph.D. ( for assistance.

Travel Awards and Presentation Opportunities

Presenting your work to others is an integral part of the scientific process. Learn how to find opportunities to present your work and obtain funding for your travel.

Student Research Educational Resources

The SOAR office provides resources aimed at helping medical students develop research skills. Visit the Student Research Educational Resources page to view the on-demand library on the following topics presented by a BCM expert in the field:

  • Research Knowledge and Skills: Strong Research Question, Rationale of the Study, Research Literature, Hypothesis, and Statistical Approaches. 
  • Scholarly Writing and Research Dissemination: Writing Abstracts, Research Poster, Presenting through Digital Platforms, Peer Reviewed Publications, and Research Papers.
  • IRB and Case Reports: Informed Consent, Survey Design, and Case Report 
  • Tools for Research Development: JoVE, All of Us Research Program, and Quality Improvement Project Registry

Research Advising Session

Research advising sessions are available to guide medical students at BCM in the process of identifying research activities. Advising sessions are in a one-on-one format for 30 minutes with the SOAR Director. Topics include using SOAR resources, finding a research mentor, discovering new research opportunities, and determining the suitability of short- or long-term research commitments. To schedule a research advising session, please email the SOAR Director, Mabel Perez-Oquendo, Ph.D., at

Contact Information

Should you want to discuss any topics, opportunities or questions related to research, you may email the SOAR Director Mabel Perez-Oquendo, Ph.D. (