This application requests the competing renewal of UNC's MSTP award. Our primary goal is to train an outstanding group of young men and women who are committed to become physician-scientists, fully capable of bridging the gap between basic science and clinical medicine. These individuals will go on to become the next generation of leaders in biomedical science, thereby making significant contributions to and improvements in human health. At the same time, they will become teachers and scholars not only at many of the best medical schools, but also at major research institutes and leading organizations in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industry. We hope to achieve our goal by identifying and then recruiting to UNC candidates from diverse backgrounds who bring with them a great variety of academic and research interests. Once here, they find a strong education in clinical medicine that is well integrated with superb research opportunities. Since the time of our last competing renewal, we have expanded our Leadership Team to include: Kim Rathmell, MD-PhD, the Director for Translational Science and Mohanish Deshmukh, PhD, the Director for Basic Science. In addition, based on the feedback that we received at the time of the last competing renewal of this MSTP grant, we have implemented several new initiatives designed to link the graduate school-based research activities of each student with relevant clinical experiences. Examples include: a) a Longitudinal Clinical Clerkship: this provides each student with clinical experiences that are related to and complement his/her research project;b) a monthly Clinical Case Conference: this is organized and directed by our senior MD-PhD students working in conjunction with Chief Residents from Medicine and Pediatrics;and c) a focus on the Clinical Relevance of Doctoral Dissertation: we are asking that each thesis committee include one clinician- scholar (often a physician-scientist), whose role is to ensure that the clinical relevance of the research is always at the forefront of the student's thinking. W believe that these additions have addressed the concerns of the last review panel and at the same time served to integrate the two phases of our training program. Over the past five years, our program has grown from 64 to 76 students, drawn to UNC from many of the best colleges and universities all across the USA. Their academic credentials are superior: this year's incoming class, for example, had a mean GPA of 3.75 and a mean MCAT of 37.6. Once here, our students are performing at a high level in both the classroom and the laboratory. They are pursuing their graduate training in 20 individual departments and curricula representing the Schools of Pharmacy, Public Health, Medicine, and the College of Arts and Sciences. They are receiving a high percentage of honors, publishing on average four manuscripts, successfully competing for a variety of awards and independent funding (e.g., 26 of our students hold F30 awards from the NIH), and completing the dual degree program in eight years. After completing their post-doctoral training, many of our graduates are becoming faculty members at many excellent institutions.
We are in the midst of a dynamic era of biomedical research. The quickening pace of scientific discovery demands a new generation of physician-scientists who are able to understand the languages that are spoken both in the research setting and at the bedside. Using this knowledge, these individuals will be ideally positioned to make significant contributions to and improvements in human health, and thereby become the next generation of leaders in biomedical science.
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