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Medical Research Scholars Program

The Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) at Yale University bridges barriers between traditional predoctoral and medical training by providing Yale Ph.D. students with both medically oriented coursework and a mentored clinical experience. The coursework provides a grounding in biomedicine, and the clinical experience enables students to interact with patients to learn firsthand about disease symptoms, treatment options, and the limitations of current therapies. This combination of medical knowledge and face-to-face interaction with patients and their doctors provides a new perspective to Ph.D. students and enhances the rigorous training in basic science already provided within the BBS Program. Upon completion of their training, MRSP graduates will be capable of working much more closely with physicians and physician-scientists and to independently perform clinically relevant basic research. Funding for the creation of the MRSP was provided by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is now supported by the Molecular Medicine Training Grant (T32GM100884) funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Program Eligibility

Second year MRSP Class
From left to right: George Lister, M.D., MRSP co-Director, Shannon Silva, Nardos Cheru, Kyrillos Abdallah, Jhah Cook, Chris Dunlock, Amos Espinosa receive their white coats.
The MRSP is open only to students who have already been accepted into the BBS Program, and an application is required. Eligible students will be invited to apply to the MRSP program and will be provided with the application details via email. Approximately 5 - 7 first year students are enrolled each year and remain in the program for three years. They still remain in their BBS Tracks or Departments but participate in the additional MRSP curriculum.

The Curriculum

MRSP Certificates
Garrett Allen, Edel Aron, Carrie Ann Davis, and Andrew Takeda receive certificates upon completing the MRSP curriculum.
The MRSP curriculum (see table below) consists of four full semester courses that focus first on normal human physiology and organ-based cell biology, followed by human pathobiology and then an introduction to drug discovery, validation and clinical trials. Students also take an intensive summer course in biostatistics. Some of these MRSP courses are open to all BBS students, at the discretion of the course directors. The centerpiece of the MRSP is an additional two-year Mentored Clinical Experience course during years two and three of the program. This course integrates basic and clinical research while additionally granting students access to patients and patient settings. Exposure to patients and to the practice of medicine will enable graduate students to work more confidently at the interface of research and medicine and facilitate future collaborations with clinical researchers. The Mentored Clinical Experience is open only to students formally enrolled as Medical Research Scholars.

MRSP Curriculum Descriptions

Comprehensive descriptions of the above courses are available in Word by clicking here.

Year 1

Term Course Directors
Fall Physiological Systems (C&MP 550/MCDB 550/PHAR 550) M. Saltzman, S. Campbell
Spring Systems Cell Biology (CBIO 604) A. Vignery
Summer Intro to Biostatistics in Clinical Investigation (IMED 645) E. Shapiro, V. Shabanova

Year 2

Term Course Directors

Pathobiology-choice of #1 or #2 below:
Fall 1) Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease (PATH 690)

D. Braddock,
C. Fernandez-Hernando

Fall & Spring 2) Medical Physiology Case Conference (C&MP 600) E. Boulpaep
Spring Topics in Human Investigation (B&BS 680/IMED 680) J. Craft, K. Anderson
Fall & Spring Mentored Clinical Experience (C&MP 610) L. Konnikova, R. Pierce

Year 3

Term Course Directors
Fall & Spring Mentored Clinical Experience (C&MP 610) L. Konnikova, R. Pierce

Program Leadership

Third year MRSP Class
From left to right: George Lister, M.D., MRSP co-Director, April Pruitt, Victoria Rai, Savannah Kandigian, Thomas Zapadka, Raimundo Rodriguez, Rebecca Colon Rios receive their white coats.

The MRSP co-Directors are Michael Caplan, M.D., Ph.D., George Lister, M.D., and Megan King, Ph.D. The administrative liaison for the MRSP is Bonnie Ellis, Associate Director for the BBS Program. The MRSP also has a core leadership team that includes the above individuals and Liza Konnikova, Ric Pierce, Craig Roy, John Alvaro, Karen Anderson, David Stern, Joe Craft, and Fred Gorelick.

Student Selection Process

Fourth Year MRSP Class

From Left to Right:

Michael Nitabach, Ph.D., J.D., former MRSP Program Director, Erick Salvador Rocha, Jeremy Gygi, Ana Berthel, Madeline Mayday, Jenna Andrews, Madison Rackear, Carissa Chan, Fred Gorelick, M.D., Ph.D., Member of MRSP Core Leadership (missing from picture is Madeleine Mankowski)

The application deadline each year will be in mid-May. The MRSP application, along with the student’s Application for Admission to the Yale Graduate School, which was submitted for entry into the BBS Program, are reviewed by members of the MRSP core leadership team. Selection is based largely on the applicant’s responses on the MRSP application as well as on the applicant’s potential for successfully handling the demands of the MRSP curriculum on top of their regular BBS Track coursework and lab rotations. If necessary, students may be interviewed.

MRSP Application

Application deadline

The next application deadline will be in May of 2023, and eligible students will be invited to apply via email in April. Please direct questions related to the application process to Bonnie Ellis.

For questions related to the program and the curriculum, please contact John Alvaro.