This multi-disciplinary Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is designed to provide education for trainees in clinical medicine and biomedical science and has as its goal the training of physician-scientists who, because of their simultaneous and rigorous education, are well-equipped biomedical investigators. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is a campus has considerable strength in the biomedical sciences, which is enhanced by the local community and nearby institutions. The strong ties between the School of Medicine (SOM), the adjoining UCSD General Campus and nearby research institutes (e.g., Salk Institute for Biological Studies [Salk], the Scripps Research Institute [TSRI], the Burnham Institute), as well as within the San Diego biomedical community create an academic environment highly suited for this MSTP and for the interdigitation of basic science, biomedical research and medical practice. The education is integrated: in the first two years, trainees take the preclinical SOM curriculum and utilize elective time to explore research opportunities and fulfill academic requirements in Graduate Programs. Students choose a Graduate Program toward the end of the preclinical curriculum. The site of research training depends upon the research area chosen by the student. Graduate training Programs that lead to the PhD degree include Anthropology, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Bioengineering, Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Chemistry/ Biochemistry, Epidemiology, Neuroscience, Physics, and the TSRI Program in Chemical and Biological Sciences. In recent years most students have chosen the Biomedical Sciences or Neuroscience Graduate Program for their PhD training. Completion of clinical clerkships in the SOM leads to the M.D. degree. Flexibility of curriculum design is stressed and each student's program is individualized. In addition, the MSTP engages in a number of activities designed to enhance combined degree training and a sense of community among trainees embarking on careers as physician scientists. Evidence of the success of this MSTP is indicated by its high percentage of graduates who enter academic medicine and have careers as physician-scientists.
The caliber of students is excellent, with graduates from leading universities throughout the US. Almost all of our graduates since 1990 have continued to pursue research, most in academic positions. This MSTP has grown through expanded research opportunities at UCSD and affiliated institutions, by a growing pool of high quality applicants and faculty and through support from UCSD, Salk and TSRI.
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