Medical Scientist Training Program

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) in the Renasissance School of Medicine (RSOM) at Stony Brook University (SBU) is the home for Physician-Scientist training at the medical student level. Launched in 1981, the MSTP has been continuously NIH-funded for 29 years. Combined with generous funding from RSOM, the program aims to enroll 8 new students per year, with the steady-state size of the program at ~ 64 students.

Students come from all parts of the country, from both Ivy league schools and small colleges, and either immediately after college or with one or more years of post-bac research experience, and we strive to have the student body represent the ethnic, racial, and gender diversity of the nation. The overarching commonalities of our matriculants are a demonstrated love of science, commitment to translational research as a career path, and awareness of what being a heath care professional entails. Our primary assessment of applicants, who come from backgrounds with vastly different levels of resources and opportunities, is focused on their potential trajectory if admitted to our program, and the heights of accomplishment to which they could ultimately rise. We are proud of all of our graduates, but especially so of those who rose the furthest while in the program and afterwards.

The SBU MSTP offers rigorous and personalized training in research and clinical medicine to a small cohort of students, aided by upper-class students who help select and mentor each incoming class and a dedicated and enthusiastic faculty. Our students typically publish 4-6 reports, 2-3 of which are first-author, during their research training, receive multiple awards (including individual fellowships from the NIH and other sponsors), and match to great post-graduate training programs. Information about all of these accomplishments can be accessed elsewhere on our website.

The student body is exceptional in its interactivity and collegiality, aided by biweekly get-togethers for journal club, clinical pathological case presentations, and career path discussions from a wide variety of physician-scientists and alumni, in addition to annual retreats, poster days, and social events.

The SBU MSTP is also unique because of its associations with Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Each offers students research opportunities and environments found nowhere else. In addition, the Stony Brook tradition of interdepartmental and inter-institutional graduate training assures that students from different PhD Programs work along-side each other in a single laboratory and within a given department, promoting cooperation and collaboration rather than competition.

Philosophically, it is our belief that the students we admit to our program contribute as much if not more than the faculty, to the essence of dual-degree training at Stony Brook. Accordingly, flexibility is of paramount importance and members of the MSTP Steering Committee are always willing to discuss training and/or career options with individual students and at great length. We do not believe that there is a single optimal program of study leading to the combined MD-PhD, nor is there an ideal career path to be followed once a student graduates. Rather, there may be as many programs and paths as there are students and it is our objective to optimize these experiences for each student individually. To this point, we have been largely successful.

The Stony Brook MSTP is also unusual in its location outside a major urban area (although only 50 miles from Manhattan). Students are exposed to medical problems qualitatively different from those available in a city, particularly during the clinical phase of training. This along with their scientific experience, allows Stony Brook MSTP students to tackle human disease from a truly unusual perspective. The novelty of this perspective is invaluable.

Thanks very much for your interest in our Program.

With best regards,

MSTP Co-Directors
Michael A. Frohman, M.D., Ph.D.
Markus A. Seeliger, PhD

Associate Directors
Carine Maurer, MD-PhD
Helen Hsieh, MD-PhD
Paul Fisher, MD-PhD
Maurizio del Poeta, MD