Academics

Growth, Development, and Disabilities Training Program

(GDDTP)

The Growth, Development and Disabilities Training Program (GDDTP) is a unique opportunity available to Pritzker School of Medicine students who decide to pursue an advanced PhD degree after they have started medical school. The program began over 50 years ago and in 2003 received the first NICHD Mentor Award for Excellence in Research Training.

Research Opportunities

Many of the current PhD degree-granting departments and committees in the Division of Biological Sciences, as well as some in other Divisions, are available to trainees.  It is preferred that the research area and ultimate clinical specialty of participating students be aligned with the mission of the NIH funding institute, NICHD. Students must meet the specific entrance and degree requirements of their chosen PhD degree program.

Funding Support

Federally funded by the National Institutes of Health, the GDDTP program does require U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. Trainees in the program may receive up to five years of full tuition support, health insurance and a living stipend. This usually encompasses three years of the PhD phase of training, and the final two years of MD training (the clinical years).  Over the total duration of training grant support, more than 50% of the award period must be devoted to full-time graduate research training leading to the doctoral research degree, per NIH guidelines.  If needed, additional years of graduate training will be supported through research funds available from trainee advisors or other sources. 

The GDDTP program is open to current Pritzker School of Medicine students who have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a PhD degree in biomedical research. Students wishing to be considered for the GDDTP program should have a strong academic record and relevant laboratory experience. 

Download the Application

Timeline and application procedure: The GDDTP application requires completion of the BSD graduate school application, three letters of recommendation, University of Chicago transcript and the completion of several essays.  Students must also meet the specific entrance and degree requirements of their chosen PhD degree program.
Applicants undergo two formal interviews for the GDDTP program and may also be required to interview with their graduate program. Successful applicants seek out a research sponsor and graduate degree unit prior to applying to the program and generally have fulfilled at least some graduate course requirements.

Students entering the GDDTP after MS2: First year students interested in the GDDTP program are required to participate in the Pritzker School of Medicine Summer Research Program in order to explore graduate programs and potential mentors.  Formal applications are due March 1 (Winter Quarter) of the second year of medical school. Decisions announced by the end of the Spring Quarter and appointments typically begin in Summer Quarter.  After the PhD is completed, students return to Pritzker for MS3 in Summer Quarter.  The preferred entry point is after the second year of medical school, as the timeline of support from the training grant best supports this approach (see below).

Students entering the GDDTP after MS1:  First year students interested in the GDDTP program are required to participate in the Pritzker School of Medicine Summer Research Program in order to explore graduate programs and potential mentors.  Applications from MS1 students are allowed with special permission and are due by August 15 with notification by early September.  Appointments begin in Autumn Quarter.  After the PhD is completed, students return to Pritzker for MS2 in Autumn Quarter.  

Funding/Support:  Funding is provided by the NIH. Trainees in the program may receive up to five years of full tuition support, health insurance and a living stipend. This usually encompasses three years of the PhD phase of training, and the final two years of MD training (the clinical years).  Over the total duration of training grant support, more than 50% of the award period must be devoted to full-time graduate research training leading to the doctoral research degree, per NIH guidelines.  If needed, additional years of graduate training will be supported through research funds available from trainee advisors or other sources.  

GDDTP Trainee College Research Interest Faculty Advisor
Brandon Gardner Pomona College Pathology Elizabeth McNally
Michael Okoreeh University of California, Riverside Immunology Marcus Clark
Ellis Kim University of Chicago Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine Elizabeth McNally
Brandon Lee University of Chicago Immunology Juliane Bubeck-Wardenburg
Christine McIntosh Cornell University Microbiology Marisa Alegre
Anthony Mitchell Indiana University Microbiology Olaf Schneewind
Courtney Orsbon Duke University Integrative Biology Callum Ross
Sarah Urbut Princeton University Human Genetics Matthew Stephens

Nancy Schwartz, PhD
Director, GDDTP Program
(773) 702-6426
n-schwartz@uchicago.edu

Laurie Risner, PhD
GDDTP Program Administrator
(773) 702-4722
lrisner1@peds.bsd.uchicago.edu