This multi-disciplinary Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is designed to provide education for trainees in clinical medicine and biomedical science with the goal of training 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 with 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 Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science (SSPPS), the adjoining UCSD General Campus and nearby research institutes (e.g., the Salk Institute for Biological Studies [Salk], the Scripps Research Institute [TSRI], the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine [SCGM], the Sanford Burnham Institute [SB]), the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LIAI) and the overall 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: trainees begin research efforts before starting coursework and in the summer between the first two years of the preclinical SOM curriculum and utilize elective time to explore research opportunities and fulfill academic requirements in Graduate Programs. Students choose a Graduate Program near the end of the preclinical curriculum. The site of research training depends on the thesis advisor chosen by the student, with the Graduate Training Programs in Biomedical Sciences, Bioengineering, Neuroscience and the TSRI Program in Chemical and Biological Sciences being the most popular, though other training opportunities also are available. In recent years most students have chosen the Biomedical Sciences or Neuroscience Graduate Programs for their Ph.D. 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 the combined degree training and a sense of community among trainees embarking on careers as physician scientists. The Program is successful as shown by the high percentage of graduates who enter academic medicine and have careers as physician-scientists.
8. The caliber of MSTP students is excellent, with graduates from leading universities throughout the US. Almost all of our graduates since 1990 have continued to pursue research, around 85 percent in academic positions, thereby enhancing the pool of physician scientists in the United States. 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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