MSTP | Program Overview

Program Overview

The University of Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) was established in 1967 and is one of the longest running physician-scientist training programs in the country. The program is designed for students who seek careers in biomedical research and have a desire to apply both clinical and research expertise to solve the most pressing problems in medical science. The program has an illustrious history of training students to assume positions of leadership in academic medicine at major research institutions nationwide.

What Makes UChicago's MSTP Unique?

ISTP - Our own Graduate Program

The first year of the program combines both medical and graduate school classes. Students then typically begin their PhD thesis research work and return to the second year of medical school after a successful defense. This structure ensures a focused, intensive research experience and preserves the continuity of clinical training. On average, MSTP trainees complete both degrees in eight years.

Graduates of the MSTP are awarded a MD from the Pritzker School of Medicine and a PhD from the graduate studies arm of the MSTP, the Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program (ISTP). The Pritzker School of Medicine is one of the top fifteen medical schools in the nation. The curriculum is taught in small study groups that emphasize active learning and scholarship. It fully integrates other scientific disciplines in order to highlight how advances in the basic sciences shape the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

MSTP students take graduate courses and perform their PhD thesis work under the umbrella of the ISTP. This novel, highly adaptable program allows students full access to the superb graduate programs within the Division of Biological Sciences, the Division of Physical Sciences, and the Division of Social Sciences. The ISTP allows students to pursue training in one field or to craft a unique course of study that integrates two classical disciplines. Examples of the latter include computational biology and human genetics, structural biology and immunology, or developmental biology and microbiology. Such integrations reflect the evolution of biomedical research in which several disciplines are brought to bear on important questions in human disease.

A New Way to Structure Your Path: 1-4-3

Advantages of the 1-4-3:

  • Group graduate classes with graduate work
  • Group clinically relevant courses with clinical exposure
  • Bigger blocks of time for students to bond with peers in both graduate and medical school programs

Notable Student Publications

A selection of research articles by current and former MSTP students, published in prestigious and high-impact journals.

Sylvia Ranjeva (First Author) - Recurring infection with ecologically distinct HPV types can explain high prevalence and diversityPNAS. 2017

Jeffrey Bunker (First Author) - Natural polyreactive IgA antibodies coat the intestinal microbiota. Science. 2017

David Koren (First Author) - Cross-compartmental Modulation of Dendritic Signals for Retinal Direction Selectivity. Neuron. 2017

Jennifer Jacobsen (First Author) - EZH2 Regulates the Developmental Timing of Effectors of the Pre-Antigen Receptor Checkpoints. Jacobsen JA, Woodard J, Mandal M, Clark MR, Bartom ET, Sigvardsson M, Kee BL. J Immunol. 2017

Jeffrey Bunker (First Author) & Ben McDonald - Innate and Adaptive Humoral Responses Coat Distinct Commensal Bacteria with Immunoglobulin A. Immunity. 2015 

Jeremy Treger (Second Author) - Photosensitivity of neurons enabled by cell-targeted gold nanoparticles. Neuron. 2015 

Ian Roundtree - N(6)-methyladenosine Modulates Messenger RNA Translation Efficiency. Cell. 2015 

Ben McDonald (First Author) & Jeffrey Bunker (Second Author) - Elevated T Cell Receptor Signaling Identifies a Thymic Precursor to the TCRαβ(+)CD4(-)CD8β(-) Intraepithelial Lymphocyte Lineage. Immunity. 2014 

Ben McDonald (Second Author) - A committed precursor to innate lymphoid cells. Nature. 2014 

Tony Tu - Induction of innate lymphoid cell-derived interleukin-22 by the transcription factor STAT3 mediates protection against intestinal infection. Immunity. 2014 

David Blair (First Author) - A nondegenerate code of deleterious variants in mendelian Loci contributes to complex disease risk. Cell. 2013  

Chris Rishel (First Author) - Independent category and spatial encoding in parietal cortex. Neuron. 2013

Melissa Tjota (Second Author) - Transcription factor IRF4 drives dendritic cells to promote Th2 differentiation.  Nature Communications. 2013

Vaibhav Upadhyay (First Author) - Lymphotoxin regulates commensal responses that enable diet induced obesity. Nature Immunology. 2012