Letter to Pre-Med Advisors


The Stony Brook University (SBU) MD-PhD Program has now entered our 29th year of continuous NIH support, a note of considerable distinction since only a third of US medical schools have such funding. The program has been integrated seamlessly into the Medical School’s exciting recently redesigned LEARN curriculum (https://renaissance.stonybrookmedicine.edu/admissions/curriculum) and is benefiting tremendously from the flexibility and accelerated preclinical training offered. A new translational research building and a new Children’s Hospital have just opened, adding nearly 500,000 sf of cutting-edge space to our research, education and clinical facilities. A formal affiliation with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, home of the largest health care network in the New York Metropolitan area, was established in 2017. A new initiative in Engineering-Driven Medicine, which is currently underway as a collaboration between the SBU Schools of Engineering and Medicine, will be housed in another new building.

In 2010, the medical school recruited an extraordinarily distinguished physician-scientist dean (Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky). He in turn recruited a new vice-dean for research and distinguished physician-scientists to chair our departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, Neurology, Radiology, Surgery, and Radiation Oncology, as well as to lead the Cancer Center and a newly-formed department of Biomedical Informatics. They join physician-scientist chairs already at SBU in Pediatrics, Pathology and Pharmacology. Many physician-scientist junior faculty are also newly arrived. Indeed, young faculty are being hired throughout the University at an unprecedented rate, thanks to new support from New York State and generous philanthropy.

We are eager to recruit students to our MSTP who are passionate about the physician-scientist career path. If you have not been contacted before and/or have any questions, simply e-mail me (paul.fisher@stonybrook.edu) or call to chat (e-mail first to arrange a call). I would be delighted. Also attached to my e-mail is a flyer that advertises our program; please feel free to distribute and/or post.

As you are undoubtedly aware, these are indeed strange times and there is a pressing need to recruit and train tomorrow's academic physicians. In fact, Stony Brook MSTP students are already contributing in unprecedented ways to the daily management of the current COVID-19 crisis, which was particularly severe in NY and on LI as well as in nearby NYC! NIH continues to support programs such as ours, even in these times of intense competition for federal dollars. In fact, we recently received an excellent review during our 5-year renewal assessment and NIH increased both our training slots long-term and our funding by 80% for the coming year. If any of your students are interested in a career combining medicine and scientific investigation, we have a highly supportive program designed to address that path here at SBU, offered in conjunction with Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Students can earn their PhD in any of many life-science and computational Graduate Programs. Our goal is to train medical scientists for both research and teaching. Graduates are equipped to study major problems at the basic level and to recognize the clinical significance of their pursuits and discoveries. Of recent SBU MSTP alumni, many are established in faculty positions at prestigious institutions, including UVA, Duke, Mt. Sinai, Penn, Yale, Brown, Einstein, Johns Hopkins, Wash U, UWA, UT Southwest, Stanford, Harvard and Columbia, and many have achieved competitive independent research funding from the NIH. More details regarding both publications of current trainees (many in Cell, Neuron, Science, Nature and PNAS as well as various specialty journals) and accomplishments of recent graduates are highlighted on our website (https://renaissance.stonybrookmedicine.edu/mstp).

SBU MSTP students receive full financial support throughout their training (8 years on average). Support includes a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a stipend, currently $30,500, which is competitive nationally and adequate for living on Long Island. The students receive training in grant writing and science communication (through the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, a recently-opened center unique to SBU) and are encouraged to apply for external fellowships (e.g., from the NIH). If successful (almost 2/3’s of our students are successful!), fellowship acquisition is rewarded by increasing the stipend level by 10%. The MSTP also supports travel to scientific and career development meetings and a variety of enrichment activities. Finally, our graduates have been extremely successful in securing highly prestigious residencies in their fields of choice, with virtually all getting their first or second choice for residency in Physician-Scientist Training Programs or similar research-focused residency positions at top institutions.

Once again, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to write or call.

With best regards,

Paul A. Fisher, MD, PhD, Current Associate Director, Former & Founding Director
paul.fisher@stonybrook.edu; cell 631-833-7718; mstp office: 631-444-3051