Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
In modern medicine the battleground in the fight against many diseases is found at the molecular level. Answers to centuries of mystery hide on the surface or interior of cells or in the DNA of the human genome. One discovery could halt the rampage of AIDS through underdeveloped countries. Another could give hope to cancer patients who have been told no cure can help them. And you could be the one making these historical discoveries. The future of discovery demands a group of talented scientists with training in both basic sciences and clinical medicine.
The goal of the combined dual degree MD/PhD program is to provide outstanding aspiring physician scientists with broad biomedical training. This experience consists of rigorous research training in the basic sciences, resulting in a PhD, complemented by inter-related clinical training that leads to the MD degree.
The MD is combined with a PhD program offered by the Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS) in the following areas: Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Neuroscience, Toxicology, Epidemiology, Public Health, and Bioengineering (at UMCP).
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Is Medical Scientist Training Right for You?
The purpose of medical scientist training programs as described by the NIH is to "encourage and support the training of students with outstanding credentials and potential who are motivated to undertake careers in biomedical research and academic medicine… the majority of them pursue careers in basic biomedical or clinical research." Where does this motivation arise? Why not pursue the shorter training path of a single degree—after all, medical doctors successfully conduct research too. Obviously there are no single answers to these questions.
Visit Is Medical Scientist Training Right for You? for some points to consider.
PhD Scholar Award Winner is Fighting Brain Cancer Through Research
Nathan Roberts is the 2017 winner of the PhD Scholar Award. Nathan is an MD/PhD student in the Program in Molecular Medicine of the Graduate Program in Life Sciences. In addition to pursuing a PhD, Nathan is also on track to be an MD as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. In this video, Nathan talks about his research into nanoparticle therapy as a way to treat glioblastoma, an aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer.
Christina Perry is in the MSTP, simultaneously pursing an MD and PhD
As a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program, Christina Perry will graduate with an MD and a PhD in human genetics and genomic medicine. Christina works in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Shuldiner, who is best known for his genetic studies in the Old Order Amish. Christina wants to become a physician scientist to treat patients with genetic illnesses and work in a molecular diagnostic genetics laboratory.