The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of Virginia prepares students for future careers in academic medicine. The goal of our Program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to lead efforts to identify disease mechanisms, and to treat and cure human disease in the 21st Century. We have developed a highly integrated curriculum, as well as numerous MSTP policies and programmatic activities to optimize the development of trainees as physician scientists. From the onset, students take a combination of medical, graduate, and unique MSTP courses. These courses, combined with a highly flexible clerkship schedule, allow students to complete requirements for the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in an efficient manner. The summer months in the first two years are devoted to completing research rotations. In year 03, students enter Graduate School in one of seven cross-departmental Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs. After completing their Ph.D., students return to Medical School and complete 16 months of required clinical clerkships, as well as elective clerkships as desired. We have an active recruiting program that consists of a Summer Undergraduate Research Program, faculty visits to undergraduate campuses, and an early admissions program in the fall, in addition to standard admissions in the spring. We have over 150 primary mentors with whom students can conduct their thesis projects in a wide range of biomedical areas. All mentors have national level peer review funding and are recognized as leaders in their respective disciplines. We also have many clinician scientist role models in the program, and physician scientist co- mentors who serve to enhance the biomedical relevance/significance of dissertation projects. The program has a track record of its past graduates having highly successful careers as physician scientists at Universities, the NIH, in Industry, and the FDA, and many currently have their own independently funded laboratories. In summary, we feel that the unique training program that we have put in place, combined with our exceptional strengths in the basic and clinical sciences, provide an extremely strong environment for training physician scientists who will become leading academic investigators.
This training program is focused on preparing extraordinarily bright and talented men and women for a life- long career as physician scientists where they can pioneer major advances in our understanding and treatment of human disease. Upon completion of the Program, trainees are uniquely qualified to conduct high impact basic, translational and clinical research needed to develop exciting new diagnostic tests, preventative measures, and therapies for the major diseases that afflict mankind.
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