This multi-disciplinary Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is designed to integrate training in clinical medicine and biomedical science for M.D./Ph.D. trainees. The goal is to train physician-scientists who, because of rigorous education in these two complementary areas, are well-equipped biomedical investigators. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus has considerable strength in the biomedical sciences, which is enhanced by the local community and nearby scientific institutions in La Jolla, California. The strong ties between the School of Medicine (SOM), the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science (SSPPS), the adjoining UCSD General Campus, Jacobs School of Engineering, nearby research institutes (e.g., the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Scripps Research Institute [TSRI], the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology) and the 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. This integrative education starts with research efforts and a Bioinformatics Boot Camp before SOM coursework begins and continues with research efforts in the summer between the first two years of the preclinical SOM Integrated Scientific Curriculum. Students explore research opportunities and fulfill academic requirements in Graduate Programs during medical school elective time and choose a Graduate Program near the end of their preclinical curriculum. The Graduate Training Programs that a trainee chooses is dependent on the research area of the Ph.D. thesis advisor and include but are not limited to Biomedical Sciences, Bioengineering, Neuroscience, Biological Sciences and the TSRI Program in Chemical and Biological Sciences. A required clinical clerkship prior to graduate studies provides the trainees a clinical experience, which facilitates medical education during research and along with a clinical re-immersion course we created, helps prepare them for the transition back from Ph.D. training to clinical clerkships in the SOM for completion of the M.D. degree. We seek to individualize each trainee's educational program. The MSTP engages in numerous activities to enhance this combined degree training program and build a sense of community among trainees embarking on careers as physician scientists. During the current funding period, the UCSD-MSTP has introduced a number of changes that we believe have enhanced the Program. This MSTP is successful, as shown by the numerous graduates who enter academic medicine and have careers as physician-scientists.
This application seeks to continue long-standing support for the UCSD Medical Scientist (M.D./Ph.D.) Training Program (MSTP), which combines both M.D. (through an Integrated Scientific Curriculum in the UCSD School of Medicine) and Ph.D. training in areas of the biomedical sciences, including cellular and molecular biology, neuroscience, and bioengineering. Excellent trainees are recruited throughout the United States and graduates typically pursue careers as academic physician scientists. This MSTP has evolved through not only expanding research opportunities and support at UCSD and affiliated institutions (Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and the Scripps Research Institute) but also growing a pool of diverse, high quality applicants and faculty.
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