Focus on Your Future: PhD and MD-PhD Programs and Research Careers

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1 Focus on Your Future: PhD and MD-PhD Programs and Research Careers TWD Program Director s Meeting Chantilly, VA June 4, 2015 Elise Covic, PhD (University of Chicago, Dean of Students MSTP) Sean Crosson, PhD (University of Chicago, Assoc Professor, T32 PI)

2 What is Biomedical Research, really? It is finding out how cells work in health in disease It is mostly done in the lab But not always It can be hard work It can also be fun! You have to be well trained and patient You have to ask a lot of questions You have to be dedicated and persistent

3 Biomedical Research PhD MD/PhD MD Physical Sciences Patient- Oriented Research Improve health Basic Biological Sciences Disease- Specific Research Quantitative Sciences

4 Who are biomedical scientists? People who are fascinated by human biology and disease have an aptitude for science are curious about how/why things work the way they do are creative have the persistence to see a project from small beginnings to great discoveries Biomedical scientists want to use the power of research to understand and cure human disease

5 How can I find out more about research? Explore science, and find out if you like doing it Summer undergraduate research Programs Informal arrangement Research at undergraduate institutions Meet people who are doing science Students Post-docs Leaders of laboratories Maybe just maybe, you will find out that you want to be a scientist

6 Where are biomedical scientists trained? In PhD biomedical sciences programs and In MD-PhD programs You will find PhD programs in: University graduate schools of arts and sciences and in medical schools You will find MD-PhD programs in medical schools

7 What are graduate programs looking for? Applicants with integrity and maturity who show: o Objectivity, honesty, sound principles o Ability to articulate (communication) information o Ability to integrate (think) information o An aptitude for working with others Good academic records, including GPA & GRE scores Science major and advanced courses in the sciences

8 What should I expect in graduate school? Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Coursework Rotations Qualifying Exam Select Mentor & Advisers Professional Development Dissertation (Thesis) Research Writing About and Presenting Your Research PhD

9 What about financial aid? As a PhD student in biomedical sciences, you will receive: Stipend and Full tuition remission Health Insurance Other benefits

10 What can I be with a PhD? The PhD degree leads to careers in: Medical and basic science research Drug design and discovery Education (at all levels) Consulting Law Business and finance Science policy Science writing

11 Where might I work someday? Research and research administration Research institutions Academic medical centers Pharmaceutical companies Biotechnology companies Education at every level Medical school or University Undergraduate college professor High school, middle school

12 Career pathways Science policy - State and national levels Science communications - Written and electronic media

13 What if I don t know if this is right for me? There are many paths to the PhD and MD-PhD BS/BA Post-Bac / Research Training PhD or MD-PhD PREP Research Training Master s Degree in Science On the Job Experience Graduate Courses NIH

14 MD-PhD: Is it Right for Me? Training & Career Paths Application Process

15 What is a physician-scientist? Men and women who are trained as both physicians and investigators. Spend most of their professional time doing research and applying research. Many of them also take care of patients and do research that is tied to human biology and human disease. Work at academic medical centers, research institutes, industry and government.

16 Physician-scientists are chimeras who blend the discovery of new knowledge with clinical medicine at the intersection of science and medicine Science Medicine

17 MD-PhD programs Goal: Preparing you for a career that combines research and clinical care, with an emphasis on research. Curriculum mixes MD and PhD training to complete both degrees 7 or 8 years. Many PhD choices are possible, but not everything. 75 active MD-PhD programs in the U.S apply each year. 600 accepted. Paying for it: Can be free. Most programs offer extensive financial support.

18 Other ways to become a physician-scientist Go to medical school to become a physician. Do research during and after. This used to be the only way. Graduate school followed by medical school.

19 What happens afterwards? >90% of graduates do additional clinical training. Followed by more research training

20 What happens afterwards? Private Practice, 16% Other, 3% Industry, 8% Research Institute, 5% Academia, 68% Brass et al., Acad. Med 85: 692 (2010)

21 Applying to MD-PhD Programs

22 Who are the successful candidates? Men and women with integrity and maturity who show: Concern for others Leadership An aptitude for working with others Substantial research experience Strong academic record including MCAT scores Other important stuff Personal statement why MD-PhD? Letters of recommendation (from research mentors) Experience in caring for others Extracurricular activities and life experiences

23 Who are the successful candidates?

24 Where can I find more information? NIH.gov/training Role models Knowledgeable people who care about you: Directors and Mentors (Summer Program and Post-Bac) Professors and Lab Heads and Department Chairs Graduate Students and Post-Docs Career Advising Offices And of course, the PhD and MD-PhD Program Directors

25 Ask Questions! Meet program directors at the fair today!

26 MD-PhD programs merge medicine and science Years 1-2 Years 3-6 Years 7-8 Mostly Med School Some Grad School Some Med School Mostly Grad School Mostly Med School Some Grad School Preclinical years (1 2) Medical sciences & explore research opportunities (lab rotations) Research years (3-6) Complete PhD thesis Conduct dissertation research with opportunities for clinical experiences Clinical years (5-7 or 6-8) Complete MD degree Clinical clerkships and additional research experiences

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