This is a competing renewal application for T32GM007308-39, which funds the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at NYU School of Medicine (NYUSOM). The purpose of the MSTP is to train physician-scientists who will be capable of moving seamlessly between the realms of rigorous scientific inquiry and the holistic approach required for patient care. Students who successfully complete the MSTP graduate with both an MD and PhD degree. The MSTP at NYUSOM was one of the first three programs to be funded by NIGMS in 1964 and has been NIH funded ever since. Many of the 314 graduates have had illustrious careers and are counted among the leaders of academic medicine in the United States. The training begins with a summer research rotation, followed by three semesters of pre-clinical medical education punctuated by a second summer research rotation. Students then select a thesis lab and begin graduate work under the auspices of the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. Graduate training is offered in thirteen interdisciplinary training programs that include Biomedical Imaging, Biomedical Informatics, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Computational Biology, Developmental Genetics, Immunology and Inflammation, Microbiology, Molecular Biophysics, Molecular Oncology & Tumor Immunology, Molecular Pharmacology, Neuroscience & Physiology, Pathobiology, and Stem Cell Biology. Upon completion of a PhD thesis, the trainees return to medical school for the clinical portion of the curriculum, participating in all required clerkships as well as clinical electives. Trainees ar expected to complete the training in eight years or less. Over the past 5-year grant cycle, the median time-to-degree was 8.1 years. Mark Philips, MD, who runs an active molecular cell biology laboratory and who has trained 10 MSTP students, serves as the eighth director of the NYU MSTP and is assisted by two Co-Directors, Mitchell Chesler and Jennifer Philips, both MD/PhDs. A Faculty Operating Committee (FOC) and a full-time administrative staff assist the Co-directors. The training faculty consists of 121 full-time, tenure-track faculty who are selected by the Co-directors for the quality of their research programs and their skills as mentors. Admission to the NYU MSTP is highly competitive. Over the past 5-year grant cycle 1883 students applied, 517 were interviewed, 197 (10.5%) were offered admission, and 47 matriculated. Significant effort is made to enhance the diversity of MSTP students. Of the 71 students currently enrolled in the MSTP, 10 (14%) are members of underrepresented minorities, one is disabled, and three are economically disadvantaged. The competitiveness of the NYU MSTP with regard to recruiting top candidates has improved over the past 5-year grant cycle both as a consequence of reorganization of the MSTP and the sharp rise of NYUSOM in the national rankings of research medical schools (37th to 19th). The Administration of NYUSOM supports the MSTP with substantial funding: in 2013 the Administration contributed $3,967,369 (57% of the total cost). At the last competing renewal, T32GM007308-34 received an outstanding priority score and 29 training slots were funded. The government sequester in 2012 reduced the funding to 25 slots. In accord with the recent academic success of the MSTP and of NYUSOM in general, we seek to expand the MSTP from 8-10 students per year to 10-12 and therefore request funding for 35 trainees.
This proposal seeks to renew funding for the NYU Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), one of 44 such programs funded by the National Institutes of Health. The dual MD/PhD degrees conferred on MSTP trainees equip them with the skills required to function both as a physician and a scientist. The MSTP thereby produces a class of professionals ideally positioned to become leaders in academic medicine and to perform rigorous, patient-oriented research designed to improve human health.
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