Postgraduate Medical Scientist Training Program (PGMSTP)
Charles A. Thornton, M.D.
Professor of Neurology
Executive Committee Members
Steven A. Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.
Jonathan W. Mink, M.D., Ph.D.
Overview and Purpose
An important and persistent need exists to maintain strength and excellence in our academic centers in order to:
- Catalyze progress and advancement in the biomedical sciences and clinical medicine
- Provide the training required to establish tomorrow's scientists and practitioners
In order to satisfy the special needs of the future faculty during their training years, we have established a Postgraduate Medical Scientist Training Program (PGMSTP) to specifically address the academic career track. The focus of this program is in Medical Neurobiology because of this institution's strengths in both clinical and basic programs related to neuroscience. This is particularly fitting because Medical Neurobiology is in a period of dramatic progress in the understanding of the brain's molecular, cellular, and systems function and dysfunction.
The overall goal of the PGMSTP in Medical Neurobiology is to produce individuals who satisfy two essential ingredients for the initiation of a successful academic career:
- A cohesive and productive track record
- Progressive and demonstrable independence
Specifically, the program provides flexible and individualized training that combines the essential components of a clinical residency in Neurology with a strong continued research program commensurate with a post-doctoral fellowship. The program is enhanced by a variety of didactic, seminar, workshop, and advisorship programs that are targeted toward, and supportive of, career development in basic and/or clinical neuroscience.
The Core Curriculum
The PGMSTP is a flexible six-year course of study. This includes a PGY-1 year of internal medicine followed by a PGY-2 year in the fundamentals of clinical neurology. During this period, participants will explore opportunities in laboratories within the neural sciences community (introductory seminar/workshop series) in preparation for the research component of their training. This will allow the establishment of a home laboratory and research program, to be pursued in earnest during subsequent years. A program mentor, a laboratory advisor, and the establishment of the remainder of the training program should be formulated by the beginning of the PGY-3 year.
Subsequent training entails flexible and individualized scheduling, to include at least two years of laboratory research, as well as sufficient clinical training required to satisfy Board requirements. During the research years, continuity with clinical training will be maintained by providing a limited and supervised outpatient clinic, but no on-call service.
The program includes two distinct levels of advisorship. First, each trainee will establish a home laboratory and research advisor to guide his or her research experience. Second, the program committee comprised of several senior faculty members, each of whom is a program mentor will provide guidance in developing an individualized program. Mentors are all individuals who have established careers that include both clinical and scientific endeavors.
Several other activities provide opportunities for expanding the trainee’s expertise. These include courses or workshops in molecular genetics, and both cellular and systems neurobiology, as well as courses in grant preparation, clinical trial design and biostatistics. Abundant opportunities also exist adjacent the University of Rochester main campus, which includes programs in Brain and Cognitive Science, and Bioengineering, amongst others.
Finally, we look to PGMSTP participants as providing the academic neurologists of the future. That being the case, PGMSTP graduates will be permitted time and will be actively helped in writing their first grants while in the program, and will be actively encouraged to assume roles on the clinical academic faculty at the University of Rochester Medical Center upon their completion of the program.
A unified PGY-1 to PGY-6 salary structure exists for the PGMSTP. This yields a direct benefit to trainees in the form of a continuously progressive pay scale, which avoids switching between clinical residency and post-doctoral fellowship scales. A yearly budget will also be established during the PGY-3 to PGY-6 years to provide the trainee with funds supporting travel to a clinical or scientific meeting, books and journals, library services, and computer network accounts.
Selection of Candidates
One to two positions per year are available. Graduates of MSTP or other M.D.-Ph.D. programs throughout the country interested in training and careers in Neurology/Neuroscience represent the primary entry group into the program. However, individuals graduating with an M.D. degree (and not Ph.D.) and with demonstrated proficiency and interest in academic careers in Medical Neurobiology are encouraged as well.
Acceptance into the PGMSTP in Medical Neurobiology is contingent upon acceptance into the Neurology Residency Program. Candidates specifically interested in the PGMSTP should notify the Neurology Residency Program Administrator and include in their personal statement their motivation toward the PGMSTP, research experience, and future goals.
Candidates selected for interviews will visit with members of the PGMSTP Committee and faculty relevant to the applicant's interests as well as members of the residency program committee. For further details about the program or application procedures, please contact Ms. Clara Vigelette, the Neurology Residency Program administrator, at (585) 275-2545.