The University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Campus MD/PhD Program was established in 1983 and obtained NIH/MSTP funding in 1993. This is the 4th competitive review, with an unchanged slot number (14-15) for the past 15 years, despite IRG recommendations for increased slots. The goal of this Program is to train dual-degree students to become outstanding physician-scientists and future leaders in biomedical research. To accomplish this goal, we select students from an ever-increasing national applicant pool, seeking out those candidates whose record of research, academic, and leadership achievements are exemplary. Our pool size has increased significantly, from 55 in 1997, to 154 in 2007, and 328 in 2011. We now matriculate ~10 students annually, with a current total of 70 students (46% female;14% URM;5% disability;14% disadvantaged). The selected MSTP students enter a revised, flexible, yet highly rigorous training program that inter-digitates graduate and medical courses in the first two years, followed by 3-4 years of thesis work, and is completed with 20-25 months of clinical work. A MSTP-specific Molecules to Medicine course, Seminar Series, and a 6-year Longitudinal Clinical experience have been specifically developed for our students. For thesis research, students choose from 16 graduate training programs located at three sites: the new Anschutz Medical Campus (AMC), National Jewish Health (NJH), and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder). These three training sites have a combined grant income totaling nearly $1B. Biochemistry, Chemical &Biological Engineering, and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Programs are available at CU-Boulder;whereas Bioengineering, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Stem Cells &Development, Computational Bioscience, Human Medical Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Neurosciences, Pharmacology, Physiology &Biophysics, Reproductive Science, and Structural Biology &Biophysics Programs are available at the AMC/NJH integrated sites. To enhance the success of our MSTP students, we provide career guidance beyond the PhD thesis years, and we work diligently to place our graduates in elite residencies and fellowships. Since 1983, 163 students have matriculated, 11 have left the program, 82 graduated with both degrees in 8.2 years and 51 completed all of their training with the majority pursuing research in academics, the CDC, or industry. The new Campus provides state-of-the-art education, research and clinical facilities, thus we have continued to increase faculty and training opportunities.
Clinical disorders, such as Alzheimer's, auto-immunity, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity and genetic diseases result in significant human suffering, and unnecessary morbidity and mortality. To mitigate the negative impact of these diseases, it is critical to train a cadre of physician-scientists who can identify the most important questions in medicine, and then apply the most rigorous scientific investigation tools to discover disease mechanism, novel treatments, and optimal prevention strategies. Trainees supported by this grant will become the future biomedical physician-scientists who will work towards increasing our understanding of fundamental pathogenesis of disease and cutting-edge approaches to treat patients.
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