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ABIM Physician-Scientist Research Pathway

Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)

Photo by Anthony DeCarlo

The Department of Internal Medicine strongly encourages residents to consider academic careers in laboratory-based or patient-oriented research. Toward this end, our department encourages appropriate individuals to pursue the American Board of Internal Medicine Research Pathway. This pathway represents a “short track” into fellowship training as residents in this pathway complete only two rather than three clinical years of internal medicine residency. However, because this pathway requires three years of research training, it shortens training by a year only for those who plan to pursue intensive research training of this duration.

Yale's ABIM Physician-Scientist Research Pathway (Physician Scientist Training Program; PSTP) with the Yale Internal Medicine Traditional Residency Program involves “short tracking” into subspecialty training according the following sequence:

  1. 24 months internal medicine residency training (including 20 months of direct patient responsibility).
  2. 12-24 months subspecialty clinical training (in accord with clinical training requirements of respective subspecialties).
  3. 36 months research training (at least 80% time commitment).
  4. Ambulatory clinic during research training (10% effort, typically one half day per week).

Yale offers clinical and research training in all subspecialties of Internal Medicine. Subspecialty fellows may choose research mentors in the Department of Medicine or in a variety of other departments and programs involved in basic, translational and/or clinical research. These include Cell Biology, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Epidemiology and Public Health, Genetics, Immunobiology, Microbial Pathogenesis, Pathology, Pharmacology, Vascular Biology and Transplantation, and the Yale Cancer Center.

Many residents who pursue the ABIM Physician-Scientist Research Pathway have already had extensive research training (e.g. graduates of M.D.-Ph.D. programs). However, the ABIM Physician-Scientist Research Pathway is also appropriate for residents strongly committed to research careers who have not had extensive prior research training. For these individuals, enrollment in the Investigative Medicine Program during subspecialty fellowship training offers the opportunity to receive formal graduate training in laboratory-based or patient-oriented investigation leading to the Ph.D. degree.

Resident applicants offered admission into the Yale ABIM Physician-Scientist Research Pathway will be guaranteed:

  1. Admission to the subspecialty fellowship programs of their choice.
  2. Guaranteed salary support for three years of research training.
  3. Salary supplementation above the NIH scale during research training.

Final acceptance into the Yale ABIM Physician-Scientist Research Pathway will be contingent on excellence of PGY1 performance.

To learn more about how to apply to our program, please see our page on application.

Physician Scientist Training Program Leadership

  • PTSP Director

    Associate Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine) and of Microbial Pathogenesis; Director, Center for Pulmonary Infection Research and Treatment (CPIRT)

    Dr. Dela Cruz completed his research training through an MD/PhD program in the area of immunology and virology from University of Toronto and Yale. Clinically, he is trained in internal medicine, and specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine and is currently an Associate Professor at Yale University in the same department. He is also the founding director for the Center for Pulmonary Infection Research and Treatment (CPIRT). www.cpirt.yale.edu. His laboratory is interested in studying the role of respiratory infection in the pathogenesis of acute and chronic lung diseases. Specifically, his work focuses on how lung infection contribute to inflammation, injury and tissue repair in the lung. This has allowed the lab to carefully study the molecular and cellular responses of several novel mediators in the lung.His laboratory focuses on two main research programs. (1) Studying novel immune regulators in the lung during respiratory infections. (2) Studying the effects of cigarette smoke (CS) exposure in the pathogenesis of airway and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using preclinical genetic mouse models and human biosamples. The goal of the lab is also to be able to confirm and translate the findings using biospecimens from the established and establishing cohort of human patients with various lung diseases.COPD is a composite entity that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a leading cause of death in the world, and is a disease that is in need of new treatments. One of the goal of our laboratory is to investigate the interaction between CS and respiratory virus infection in the pathogenesis of COPD and identify novel therapeutic targets for this respiratory disease. It has been long thought that the frequent respiratory infections in COPD patients are due to their depressed immune function. Our studies have revealed that CS-exposed hosts have an over-exaggerated immune reaction to viral infections. Frequent acute COPD exacerbations correlate with increased rate of disease progression and more loss of lung function in COPD especially if it is due to viral infections. Our studies have shown that CS exposure has an impressive ability to regulate the innate immunity in the lung after influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. CS enhances the inflammation, alveolar destruction and airway fibrosis caused by influenza virus and RSV. These effects are mediated by type I interferon and RIG-like helicase antiviral innate immune pathway. CS exposure also results in the induction of interleukin-15 in the setting of these respiratory infections. We hypothesize that these novel mechanistic pathways may explain the heightened inflammatory response and worsening lung functions in COPD patients with multiple virally-induced exacerbations, and the chronic lung inflammation seen in stable COPD patients. We have also translated our findings by studying these immune mediators in patients infected with various respiratory viruses and have thus far collected >300 human biosamples.YCCI Scholar 2011
  • PTSP Associate Director

    Assistant Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases) and of Pathology; Associate Director, Yale MD-PhD Program, Digestive Diseases

    Silvia Vilarinho is a physician-scientist who uses genetics, genomics and human samples to investigate the molecular basis of various liver diseases of unknown etiology. Using these approaches, we have identified a new mendelian form of non-cirrhotic portal hypertension, a novel bile acid disorder due to ACOX2 deficiency and a new cholestatic disorder due to mutations in KIF12. Our research goal is to discover new genes important in liver function both in health and disease and to use cell biology and animal models to determine the specific mechanism(s) linking mutant gene to disease, with potential diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic applications.