History of the Program and Alumni Testimonials

History of the Program

Until 1993, none of the summer programs run by medical colleges or graduate schools had the specific aim of training students to become successful MD-PhD applicants and students.

In 1993, the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program of Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering became the first MD-PhD Program in the country to establish a summer program for underrepresented minority and disadvantaged college students who wish to pursue the combined MD-PhD degree.

To this day, the Tri-Institutional Gateways to the Laboratory Program is the only such program exclusively for freshmen and sophomores (rising sophomores and rising juniors).

Alumni Testimonials

Alumni of the Gateways to the Laboratory Program are accepted and matriculate annually to the most prestigious MD-PhD Programs in the country, including our own. Read testimonials regarding their time in Gateways below.

Arnaldo Mercado-Perez

Gateways 2015
MD-PhD student, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

“...the most important aspect for me was the opportunity it gives us students to visualize ourselves as physician-scientists. One skill they seem to use to the max is good and smart time management; a good example of that was coordinating the shadowing experience, for we had to make sure that we were still running experiments in the lab, and that our absence by the lab bench did not set back our research project. To me, this helped bring the life of a physicianscientist into perspective, particularly if one chose to become a researcher and practitioner.”

Abigail Shilvock

Gateways 2015
MD-PhD student, Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program

“Participating in the Gateways to the Laboratory Program was critical in building up my confidence as a scientist. The training and advice I received during the program gave me a sense of capability and qualification as a researcher that has allowed me to successfully work on my own project at my home institution.”

Michael Pineda

Gateways 2015
Fulbright Scholar, Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain

“Gateways has continued to enable my professional and personal development. I am still working with my mentor Dr. Christopher Mason, and our colleagues, on two manuscripts on my work of metagenomic sequencing of Southern American waterways (such as the Amazon River). I also have pursued an opportunity to join the Extreme Microbiome Project with Dr. Mason, and I am in the processing of submitting two grants to National Geographic and Barrett, the Honors College at ASU, to allow me to travel, sample, and sequence sites of interest around the world. With the fantastic support system give to me through Gateways, I have been able to do this while pursuing my research interest in CRISPR technology at ASU, and this summer at MIT, and I also have been given opportunities to shadow previous Tri-I alumni at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. As I continue my interest in pursuing the MD-PhD, I could not have asked for better preparation and support than what was given to me during Gateways.”

Folasade Sofela

Gateways 2013
MD-PhD student, University of Pennsylvania

“I entered the Gateways class of 2013 with a strong interest in pursuing the MD/PhD, but no real idea of the type and amount of work it would take to achieve this goal. Gateways provided me with an abundance of information about the dual degree, from what it would take to get in (MCATs, personal statements, research future experiences) to what it would look like at the end (future career paths and lots of shadowing opportunities), while providing me with an extensive network of people to reach out to for advice at any stage in my career. I'm currently finishing up my last year in my undergraduate studies at Harvard College, and will be matriculating into an MD/PhD program in the summer.”

Danielle Miyagishima

Gateways 2012
MD-PhD Student, Yale University

“Gateways to the Laboratory was hands-down the most influential experience of my entire undergraduate education. If it were not for the program, I feel that I would not have had the confidence or the knowledge to be a competitive MD-PhD applicant. It gave me my first look into what an MD-PhD career can look like and a 'family' that I know will always be there to mentor me.”

Raul Martinez-McFaline

Gateways 2008 and 2009
MD-PhD student, Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program

“The Gateways to the Laboratory Program paved the path towards becoming a physicianscientist. I am currently in the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program and the skills that I use on an every-day basis were founded in Gateways. Without a doubt I would not be where I am today were it not for this exemplary program.”

Barry Breaux, MD, MBA

Gateways 2006
MD, MBA, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

“My Gateways experience both confirmed and launched my career path in Medicine. The exposure to basic science research with clinical implications as well as physician and student mentors was invaluable. It was early enough in my education where I could have chosen any path while having just a general interest in the life sciences. Gateways gave me the confidence and reassurance to make a commitment. Although eventually I realized research was not my calling, my eyes were opened to the vast importance and possibilities created from such an investigational foundation. I would definitely point to my summer spent at the Tri-Institute as a pivotal moment in my education and training, and I will always be grateful for the tremendous opportunity.”