Writing Your Professional Summary: Researchers

Your professional summary describes your research or clinical expertise to prospective students, residents, fellows and patients. It appears on your faculty profile on the medical school website and forms the core of your presence on the UBMD website.

Follow these guidelines to write a professional summary that communicates your expertise clearly to non-specialists.

Consult these sample professional summaries for examples.


Provide sufficient—and sufficiently clear—detail. Briefly describe the research techniques and tools you use as well as your topic. Students want to know what you do so they can judge what they might do as part of your lab. Potential collaborators and members of the media want to gauge at a glance whether you have expertise they need.

Include at least one sentence indicating the importance of your work: Will your work help to develop new kinds of antibiotics? What specific kinds of people does your work help (expecting mothers, MS patients, people in underserved communities)?

In describing your work, use at most three primary keywords. Use them in full sentences that build a narrative of your work and its importance, rather than just listing them, and briefly define or explain each one in plain English.


Use separate paragraphs for each topic within your profile. If you’re involved in two research efforts, describe each one in its own paragraph. If you practice as a clinician and conduct research, use one paragraph to describe your research and one to describe your clinical expertise and approach.

If you are part of UBMD, describe your clinical expertise first. This helps potential patients quickly assess whether you can help them when they read your profile on the UBMD website.


Write no more than 300 words. Prioritize describing your research, and if you have room, also mention collaborators and describe the makeup of your lab (graduate students, undergraduates, postdocs, techs, and so on).

Use clear, plain-English sentences.

Use first-person pronouns (I, my lab, my research, we, our) throughout.

Use strong, active verbs wherever possible.

  • Passive verb: A goal of my work is to develop vaccines for. . .
  • Changed to an active verb: My work pursues vaccine development for. . .
  • Passive verb: Breast-feeding is well documented to protect against a variety of infections.
  • Changed to active verbs: Previous research shows that breast-feeding protects infants against infections.

Do not capitalize areas of research or practice. Use bacteriology and cardiology, not Bacteriology or Cardiology.

Coordinating with Your Complete eCV

When something is missing from your profile, students assume it doesn’t exist. Use eCV’s full capabilities to back up your professional summary with greater detail. List all your publications, grants, activities and achievements in the appropriate categories and update this information regularly.

Use the Expertise field to expand on research you describe in your professional summary, detailing your methodologies, techniques and areas of inquiry for readers who want this information. This information will appear in your faculty profile under the Research tab, immediately above your grants.

Clinicians should be sure to check all their specialties in eCV’s Specialties category. Faculty in the basic sciences should use this same category to specify their Specialty/Research Focus.

Do not list titles of your publications in your professional summary. Go to the Publications section in eCV and follow the directions there for importing your publications automatically from PubMed/Medline. Readers will then be able to refer to them easily for greater detail on your work as well.

Do not provide time-sensitive information such as pending grants for projects. The information in your professional summary should be able to remain current for at least a year. Do, however, give full details for all your ongoing grants under Grants.