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Five-Year Grant Awarded to Continue Medical Scientist Training Program

The University of Illinois College of Medicine (UI COM) was recently awarded a five-year grant to continue its Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), educating exceptional students for careers as physician-scientists. As one of just 46 institutions offering this prestigious program, UI COM has been awarding dual MD/PhD degrees through support from this grant from the National Institutes of Health – National Institute of General Medical Sciences since 2007.

The objective of the MSTP is to train students for careers in academic research and medicine. The Program typically spans eight years and begins without affiliation to a basic science department in order to expose students to the widest possible opportunities for graduate study. Throughout the curriculum, students explore research concentrations in cancer biology, cell biology and regenerative medicine, integrative and translation physiology, microbiology, immunity and inflammation, molecular biology and genetics, and neurobiology. Further areas of concentration include neuroscience, public health, and biomedical engineering. UI COM's MSTP is facilitated by 139 faculty members offering 1:1 advising, cohort-based advising, house system advising, and advisory committees.

“This award allows us to maintain an excellent program distinguished by a diverse, well-rounded, and high-achieving group of emerging physician-scientists whose work in the lab and at the bedside upholds the mission of service at UI COM,” says Olu Ajilore, MD, PhD, who serves as program co-director. “With diversity and inclusion as integral pillars of the Program’s DNA, its students’ unique experiences and insights enrich our community, fuel creativity, and drive us toward better healthcare outcomes for all.”

This grant will allow UI COM to continually invest in the future of scientific discovery by fostering the best and brightest leaders within medicine and research. Program co-directors are Olu Ajilore, MD, PhD, and Dawood Darbar, MBChB, MD. Program associate directors are Tory Eisenlohr-Moul, PhD, and Ravinder Gill, PhD. Program administrators are Barbara Gottesman, MPH—who succeeded longtime MSTP program administrator Julie Mann, MA—and Janine Sacco, M.Ed. To learn more about the Program, visit the MSTP website.