Physician scientists are a vital component of the biomedical research workforce. Unfortunately, early career physicians currently make up a smaller share of funded investigators than ever, and the training pipeline for future physician scientists is shrinking. The overall goal of this short-term training program is to attract talented and motivated medical students into careers as physician scientists by offering a research and career development experience between their first and second year of medical school, taking advantage of a partnership between University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Programs designed to attract interested medical students to careers as physician scientists complement MD-PhD training programs because 1) MD scientists are more likely to become engaged in patient oriented research compared to MD-PhD scientists and 2) MD scientists more often choose research as a career direction during medical school compared to MD-PhD scientists who generally choose before medical school. The current T35 training grant proposal seeks continuation of a successful T35 training program. A particularly important element of this program is its emphasis on attracting underrepresented minorities. One of the important reasons that underrepresented minorities are so seriously underrepresented in academic careers is the absence of early educational opportunities that create an awareness that an academic career path is even an option. We will build on and expand our strategies to increase recruitment of trainees in groups who are underrepresented in medicine. This program is designed to introduce talented medical students to careers as physician scientists by providing a 10 week fellowship between first and second year of medical school. The program includes several components, including 1) a mentored laboratory-based research project in the area of infectious diseases, microbiology or immunology; 2) a seminar series, 3) a career development component involving interactive small group sessions with faculty, 4) training in the responsible conduct of research, and 5) oral and poster presentations of their work in different venues at the end of the program. An experienced and talented pool of mentors is a key element of the program in providing the research projects and personal mentoring of trainees during the fellowship. In the first 4 years of the program, 24 medical students from a large pool of applicants were enrolled and completed the program. These trainees were 25% underrepresented minorities and 46% women. A robust evaluation plan has allowed us to be responsive to feedback from trainees and mentors and will track trainees to assess the impact of the program on career choice and attitudes about research. This program, designed to introduce medical students to careers as physician scientists, is responsive to a national priority to increase the shrinking number of physician scientists in the U.S. biomedical research workforce.

Public Health Relevance

Physician scientists play a critical role in the national biomedical workforce but the number of physician scientists is at an all time low. The overall goal of this training grant is to attract talented and interested medical students into careers as physician scientists. This will be accomplished by offering a research fellowship to medical students during the summer between first and second year of medical school.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
NRSA Short -Term Research Training (T35)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
Program Officer
Robbins, Christiane M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
State University of New York at Buffalo
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code