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OVERVIEW

 

 

In response to the need for accomplished academic medical scientists, the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine offers a combined training program that leads to both the MD and the PhD degrees. The objective of the Program is to train students for careers in academic medicine and research. The Program integrates the medical curriculum with graduate studies in the basic medical sciences. Students pursue original research projects in the laboratories of the University’s graduate faculty along with medical studies in the College of Medicine. Students begin the Program without affiliation to a basic science department in order to be exposed to the widest possible opportunities for graduate study and are offered choices in developing their programs of study. During this time, they explore research opportunities in any academic department of the College of Medicine, including Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Physiology & Biophysics, or in a non-COM department such as Biological Sciences, Bioengineering, the School of Public Health, the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Medicinal Chemistry & Pharmacognosy, and Biopharmaceutical Sciences.

Timetable

The Medical Scientist Training Program requires seven to eight years of study. Typically, the first two years of the Program are used to complete years 1 and 2 of the medical curriculum. During this time students explore research opportunities in various academic departments under the guidance of the appointed faculty advisors. They are required to complete three research rotations of 6 to 8 weeks each.

Selection of a permanent thesis advisor and commitment to a graduate department take place by the end of the second year of study. MD/PhD students then enter into their chosen graduate department and for their coursework choose from a set of introductory GEMS courses as well as more advanced courses in their specialties. Under the guidance of a member of the research faculty, students spend three to four years engaged in an extensive period of original doctoral research. They are required to complete all of the departmental requirements for the PhD degree before returning to the medical school. During the PhD phase, the students keep their clinical skills sharp by participating in the Program’s required Clinical Connections. They may also volunteer at the weekly student-run free clinic. 

In the final 1.5 to 2 years of the Program, MD/PhD candidates rejoin the medical school class to complete the remaining medical school requirements. Individual modifications of the above timetable to meet specific needs and interests can be developed.

Seminar Series

A series of lunch seminars, especially designed for M1 and M2 MD/PhD students, provides an overview of the opportunities for research. Also, an ongoing series of dinner seminars is presented to MD/PhD students in all stages of the program by physician-scientists from UIC as well as other medical schools. These seminars expand students' scientific background, help to develop new approaches in biomedical research, and expose students to research areas of special interest to physician-scientists. The seminar series is one of several means used to bring together trainees and preceptors from the various programs.

Financial Aid

MD/PhD students receive a tuition waiver and stipend throughout all years of the Program. For the 2012-13 academic year, the annual stipend is $27,000 for each year of medical studies and graduate studies. Most student fees are also paid by the COM or other sources.

Advising 

To address the special educational needs of MD/PhD students and the psychological-emotional problems that can results from particular stresses that occur at various stages of MD/PhD studies, the UIC MSTP has a multi-pronged effort to counsel students to prevent problems occurring in difficult situations of each educational stage and to remediate such problems as quickly as possible if they do occur. This multi-faceted approach relies on two permanent anchors of support for all students at all times: (1) The mutual experiences within cohorts bolstered by the strong feelings of camaraderie that are the special feature of our program community, and (2) the use of the program directors, who know the students best and are fully aware of their needs, as first counselors-advisors. To assure a comprehensive meeting of all students’ needs, three types of advising-counseling activities take place throughout each academic year.

·        Cohort-specific meetings to discuss educational issues relevant to that cohort.

·        All-student meetings to address issues of universal concern and allow for sharing of advice between more and less advanced cohorts.

·        Individual meetings with the Director, Dr. Larry Tobacman, the Associate Director, Dr. Nancy Freitag, and the Assistant Director, Roberta Bernstein.

In addition to these organized, scheduled events, all students are welcome to meet with any or all of the directors at any time to discuss anything on their mind. Strict confidentiality will always be maintained and referrals to more knowledgeable authorities will be made when needed. 

Clinical and Research Resources:

Located in the heart of the Illinois Medical District, the University of Illinois College of Medicine is the largest medical school in the country. The extensive clinical and research resources provide an extraordinary and exciting opportunity for the study of medical science. Outstanding features include:

• Medical education at the UIC College of Medicine and the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago is superb, and is tailored to the needs of our combined degree students.

• After a period as the fastest growing research university in the nation, UIC is now a major biomedical research center, replete with exceptional opportunities for graduate training.

• The 600 bed UIC Hospital and the $100 million state-of-the-art Outpatient Clinic cover all facets of medical care and serve a complex referral and urban population.

• Internationally known for its excellence, the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute provides additional opportunities for students enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program.

• UIC's Center for MRI Research houses the only 9.4 Tesla (the largest) human scanner in the world. Built by General Electric Medical Systems, this scanner offers great potential for studies of the brain and rest of the body beyond the signals that arise from water used in conventional MRI.

• UIC has been a National Center of Excellence of the U.S. Public Health Services Office on Women's Health, DHHS, since the fall of 1998. Our program is designed to integrate biomedical expertise with the grass roots women's health vision, and emphasizes partnership: across disciplines and professions, academic with community, and healthcare provider with patient.

• UIC is a member of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University), sponsored by the Searle Foundation which plans to support biomedical research with $50 Million over the next ten years.

• UIC is the location of the $1.5 Million Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometer for Proteomics, endowed by the Chicago Biomedical Consortium.

• UIC is the site for the Center for Structural Biology, including the new, state-of-the-art, 900 MHz NMR spectrometer

• UIC's Cardiovascular Research Initiative has linked the clinical activities of the section with the rich basic research environment within the larger medical school campus.

For Further Information Contact:

Roberta Bernstein, Assistant Director,  Medical Scientist Training Program

By mail: COM Deans' Office, 131 CMW, MC 784, 1853 W. Polk St. Chicago, Il 60612

In person: 308 Clinical Sciences North, 820 South Wood Street, in Suite 300 next to the yellow elevator

Phone: (312) 996-7473, FAX Number: (312) 413-8221, Email: roberta@uic.edu