Physician Scientist Training Program
The Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) in the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine is committed to training the next generation of physician scientist leaders in Clinical and Anatomic Pathology. The program focuses on providing support, mentorship, and research experience through the clinical and postdoctoral training years, culminating in a trainee who is highly competitive for investigator track academic positions.
While the Clinical and Anatomic Pathology Residency Programs include time and support for research training, we recognize that substantial additional time for focused research training is required to prepare for an independent research career as a physician scientist. Therefore, the Pathology department supports PSTP trainees for up to three years after completion of clinical training to dedicate to post-doctoral research training.
The PSTP combines the intensive clinical training environment of Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center with rigorous basic and translational science training in laboratories at Washington University. Trainees choose a research mentor from any of the 2,700 faculty members at Washington University, representing a range of disciplines including cancer biology, microbiology, biomedical engineering, immunobiology, genomics, computational sciences, cell biology, and biochemistry.
Eligible applicants include graduates with a combined MD/PhD degree or an MD degree and a strong record of research experience. Applicants must fulfill all eligibility requirements for clinical or anatomic pathology training. The most competitive candidates will have a strong commitment to a research career in academic medicine and outstanding academic and research records.
Candidates must apply to the Anatomic or Clinical Pathology Residency program, or the combined Anatomic and Neuropathology program at WUSM through the ERAS (Electronic Residency Application System) and should be registered through the NRMP (National Residency Matching Program). Applicants for the combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Program are not eligible.
Those interested in applying for the PSTP are encouraged to contact the Pathology Residency Director, Dr. Neil Anderson, and the Co-Directors of the PSTP, Dr. Jacqueline Payton or Dr. Nima Mosammaparast to express interest and obtain additional information about the program. These contacts should be made as early as possible; it is not necessary to wait until your ERAS application is submitted.
In addition to the ERAS application, candidates should submit a CV and a one-page statement of research accomplishments, post-doctoral research interests, and long-term career goals. Additionally, three letters of recommendation, including one from the research mentor that comments primarily about the candidate’s potential for a career as an independent physician scientist are required to complete the application. Letters in the ERAS application are acceptable if they fulfill the above criteria.
PSTP interviews consist of two days of meetings with clinical faculty and research faculty of interest to the applicant. Candidates will also present a seminar on their research.
Trainees complete the clinical training required by the American Board of Pathology for board eligibility in clinical or anatomic pathology during the first three years of training, or for subspecialty fellowships. During this period, trainees also initiate their research programs during rotations designated for research.
At the end of clinical training, trainees embark on up to three years of full-time postdoctoral research training free of clinical commitments, though there are opportunities for continued clinical activities. Trainees can complete their postdoctoral research training in any laboratory at WU or the WUSM. During the post-doctoral research years, trainees actively participate in work-in-progress seminars and meet regularly with the PSTP directors for scientific and career mentorship. Our goal is to tailor the training experience and foster the development of uniquely trained individuals who will work at the forefront of biomedical science.
Trainees are guaranteed salary support for three clinical training years and up to three postdoctoral training years. This salary support follows the established post-graduate clinical training salaries for the three clinical years. Trainees receive $3,000 during the first year for the purchase of a computer and software. During the second and third clinical years, trainees receive up to $1,500 per year to attend research conferences. During the postdoctoral training years, trainees receive a salary supplement of $15,000 per year in addition to the PGY salary. In addition, senior trainees are considered for promotion to Instructor.
Senior trainees are encouraged to obtain additional funding to facilitate their ultimate transition to their first academic position. Funding sources include NIH supported career transition awards (e.g., K08) and private foundation grants (e.g., the Burroughs Welcome Award). The PSTP has an excellent track record of trainees competing successfully for these types of awards. For those trainees who show exceptional progress in their research, applications for R01 or R21 awards will be considered.