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Annual MD-PhD Program Retreat

MD-PhD program faculty and staff plan and organize an annual overnight retreat which is one of the most interactive and well-attended programmatic activities within the academic year. Occurring in the fall at a beautiful venue outside of New Haven and attended by all currently enrolled MD-PhD students, members of the MD-PhD Faculty Committee and staff, the retreat is an important opportunity for students to get to share personal, clinical and research stories, participate in mentoring activities, and have fun spending time together. Programming includes career and professional development breakouts as well as panel discussions on topics such as choosing a research lab, making the most of clinical experiences, transitioning to and from the lab, and other relevant issues raised by the student body.

The Selma and Karl Folkers Lecture in Biomedical Research

The Folkers Lecture is the highlight of our annual retreat. Karl Folkers (1906 - 1997) left a legacy of over 66 years of outstanding research in organic and biological chemistry. He received his B.S. (1928) from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in Chemistry (1931) from the University of Wisconsin. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Chemistry Department at Yale from 1931 to 1934 where he developed an interest in pharmaceutical chemistry. Dr. Folkers spent his most productive years in research at Merck in Rahway, NJ where he made a number of significant discoveries in the field of biological chemistry including the structure and synthesis of vitamin B 6, isolation and characterization of vitamin B 12 and the synthesis of Coenzyme Q 10. Elected to the National Academy at the age of 39 and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Science in 1990, Dr. Folkers spent his later years (1968 onward) at the University of Texas, Austin where he created the institute for Biomedical Research whose mission was to demonstrate the use of CoQ in clinical medicine.

Dr. Folkers endowed a lectureship to Yale in remembrance of his formative years here as a postdoc. Each year, a distinguished speaker or alumni of the MD-PhD program is invited to give the Folkers Lecture at the program’s annual retreat.

Past Folkers Lecturers

November, 2023 – Aida Habtezion, MD MSc FRCPC AGAF, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Head, Worldwide Medical & Safety, Pfizer Inc.
September, 2022 - Carolyn Roberts, PhD; Assistant Professor of History/History of Science and Medicine and of African American Studies, Yale University
October, 2021 - Mary Armanios, MD, PhD; Professor of Oncology, Genetic Medicine, Pathology and Molecular Biology & Genetics; Associate Director for Education and Training at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center; Director, Telomore Center at Johns Hopkins
September, 2019 - Amy Justice, MD, PhD; C.N.H. Long Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and Professor of Public Health (Health Policy), Yale School of Medicine
September, 2018 - Helena Hansen, MD, PhD; Associate Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine
March 2018 - Robert Darnell, MD, PhD; Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor in Cancer Biology, Rockefeller University
December, 2017 - Wendy Garrett, MD, PhD; Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
February, 2016 - Laura Niklason, PhD, MD; Nicholas Greene Professor of Anesthesiology and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Yale School of Medicine
March, 2015 - Arthur Horwich, MD; Sterling Professor of Genetics and Professor of Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine
February, 2014 - Marcus Bosenberg, MD, PhD; Professor of Dermatology, Pathology, and Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine
February, 2013 - Peter Aronson, MD; C. N. H. Long Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) and Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology
January, 2012 - Marina Picciotto, PhD; Charles B. G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center, of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology; Deputy Chair for Basic Science Research, Dept. of Psychiatry; Deputy Director, Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, Yale School of Medicine
January, 2011 - Gerald Shulman, MD, PhD, FACP, MACE; George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) and Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Yale School of Medicine
January, 2010 - Michael S. Brown, MD; The WA (Monty) Moncrief Distinguished Chair in Cholesterol and Arteriosclerosis Research; Regental Professor; Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center
January, 2009 - Samuel C. Silverstein, MD; John C. Dalton Professor of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, and Professor of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center
January, 2008 - Stephen G. Emerson, MD, PhD; Clyde '56 and Helen Wu Professor of Immunology (in Medicine); Director, The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
January, 2007 - Susan Baserga, MD, PhD; Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, of Genetics and of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale School of Medicine
January, 2006 - Fred Gorelick, MD; Henry J. and Joan W. Binder Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases) and of Cell Biology; Deputy Director, Yale MD-PhD Program
January, 2005Inaugural Lecture: Michael Caplan, PhD, MD; C. N. H. Long Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology and Professor of Cell Biology; Chair, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale School of Medicine