Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program

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Courses for First and Second Year Students

Careers in Biomedicine Summer Series

During July and August, the new students in the MD-PhD Program are introduced to career options in biomedicine in this series of ten twice-weekly lunch time discussions. The presentations are given by clinical investigators and other faculty who are in unique positions to provide a longitudinal view of biomedical research and the career decisions that led to their current positions and responsibilities. 

The series presents role models from Assistant Professor to President and covers the clinical spectrum from Psychiatry to Pathology.

One of the most important elements that emerges during these discussions is how and why specific decisions were made at different points of a career – and how one's career can be shaped by seizing unexpected opportunities and making the most of serendipity.

Frontiers in Biomedical Science I

Jochen Buck

Courses for first and second year students are coordinated by Assoc. Program Dir. Jochen Buck, MD, PhD.

This course presents modern biomedical research at an advanced level. 

The course is a structured journal club, in which Tri-Institutional faculty tutors select one or two original research articles for discussion, and maybe a review article for background reading. The articles cannot be written by the faculty tutor or a close collaborator, though faculty tutors are encouraged to bring copies of their recent articles to the sessions. The faculty tutor gives students a general overview of the topic and then leads a 60 minute critical discussion of the research articles. The faculty tutor ends the session by outlining where the field is moving. The course is graded based on student participation. Students must pass the course (Pass/Fail grading) in order to advance to Year 2. 

The following topics are covered in the course: structural biology; molecular biophysics; cell biology; signal transduction; molecular genetics, development, and cancer. 

Summer sessions precede the course, with the Program's Directors and members of the Research Advisory Committee discussing classical articles in their respective fields. 

While this course is designed for MD-PhD students, it is also open to first year medical students who are considering applying for transfer to the MD-PhD Program.

Frontiers in Biomedical Science II

This course is organized, structured, and graded in the same manner as Frontiers in Biomedical Science I. It covers the following topics: receptor pharmacology; neurobiology; metabolism; immunology and microbiology. Students must pass the course in order to advance to the research years. 

As is the case for Frontiers I, the course is open to second year medical students who are considering applying for transfer to the MD-PhD program.

Introduction to Clinical and Translational Research

Offered in the fall semester of the first year, this course covers concepts related to translational biomedical research and clinical trials, using investigative new drugs, new drug approval process, federal regulations, as well as intellectual property issues. Faculty members from each institution describe their own work with special consideration of the unique aspects of drug development and international and pediatric clinical trials.