Vol 5. Issue 8 / March 7, 2005
Scripps Research Joins M.D.-Ph.D. Program
By Mika Ono
It’s spring and another crop of prospective students are visiting The Scripps Research Institute campus in La Jolla. Among them this year are candidates for an M.D.-Ph.D. program new to the institute, the Medical Scientist Training Program, involving both Scripps Research and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
“We’re excited to enter this collaboration with UCSD’s medical school,” says Jeff Kelly, dean of the Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology and vice president for academic affairs. “The perspective of these academic physicians in training will enrich both our students and faculty.”
The Medical Scientist Training Program, funded by the National Institutes of Health, offers education in both clinical medicine and biomedical research. Students complete requirements for both medical school and a doctoral program in the sciences, and graduate with both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.
Previously, UCSD medical students pursuing the joint M.D.-Ph.D. degrees had the option of working in research labs at UCSD, the Salk Institute, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, or the Burnham Institute. Now, they may also choose from among labs at Scripps Research, whose graduate program is ranked by U.S.News&WorldReport as among the top 10 in chemistry and biology in the nation.
The M.D.-Ph.D. track at Scripps Research is supervised by Professor Gerald Joyce, himself a graduate of the Medical Scientist Training Program at UCSD and the Salk Institute.
“When I was at UCSD, I had to jump through hoops to pursue my interest in chemistry,” he says. “The collaboration with Scripps Research will offer Medical Scientist Training Program students more options, helping to attract world-class students to both institutions.”
Scripps Research Assistant Professor Lisa Stowers, who holds an adjunct position at UCSD, is another faculty member involved in the collaboration.
“As a member of the admissions committee for incoming UCSD medical students, I have been seeing highly qualified applicants specifically attracted to the UCSD medical school-Scripps Research combination,” she says. “This opportunity is exactly what they are looking for.”
Stowers observes that the alliance between Scripps Research and UCSD reflects not only the interests of individual students, but also changes in the fields of science and medicine. “Chemistry has become increasingly relevant for the development of new therapies,” she notes.
Stowers and other Scripps Research faculty members recently made presentations about the joint program to second-year UCSD medical students considering a career in research. The three recruitment sessions hosted by the Office of Graduate Studies in late February and early March offer Medical Scientist Training Program candidates another opportunity to investigate the possibility of joining a Scripps Research lab.
“So far, everything has been positive,” says Stowers.
Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu
“As a member of the admissions committee for incoming UCSD medical students, I have been seeing highly qualified applicants specifically attracted to the UCSD medical school-Scripps Research combination.”