The New and Improved MSTP Milestones

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Click here to download a pdf of the milestones!

 

Summer before Year 1

Milestone Deadline
Identify first laboratory rotation before arrival (Director’s approval required) and complete laboratory rotation agreement June 15

(before matriculation)

Assignment of pre-clinical advisors June 15
Meet with Faculty Advisor August 1
Meet with MTA director August 1
Laboratory Rotation Presentation; complete laboratory rotation evaluation with summer mentor Early Aug (date varies)
NOTE: Vacation is taken before starting in program

•       Problem Solving in Biomedical Science (PSBS) course (summer)

•       First laboratory rotation (summer)

YEAR 1 – MD1

Milestone Deadline
White Coat Ceremony Mid-September
InFocus 1 First Year MD/PhD summer rotation planning meeting October (date varies)
Meet with Director to discuss progress and rotation choices for upcoming summer (Dec 1 – Jan 31) Feb 1
Identify second/third rotations (Director’s approval required) and complete laboratory rotation agreement March 1
Complete Individual Development Plan for MD/PhDs (IDP for MD/PhD) May 1
Required Courses and Events

•       Annual MSTP Retreat

•       Medical school courses

•       Biomedical Sciences (BMS) for MD/PhD Fall/Spring Courses

•       Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) (can also be taken in MD2, MP1)

•       Rigor and Reproducibility (R&R) (can also be taken in MD2, MP1)

•       Medical Scientist Grand Rounds (MSGR) ~8 sessions per year

 YEAR 2 – MD2 

Milestone Deadline
Complete Second and Third Laboratory Rotations/ Laboratory Rotation Presentation and complete laboratory rotation agreement Early Aug
Fall Preclinical Advisor meeting November 1
Dinner meeting with Director and PhD phase students to discuss preparation for USMLE Step 1 Mid-Feb

(date varies)

Meet with Director to discuss selection of PhD mentor (Sept – Feb) Feb 15
Submit form to Declare MTA / mentor (Director’s approval required) March 1
Complete Individual Development Plan for MD/PhDs (IDP for MD/PhD) May 1
Take USMLE Step 1 June 30
Required Courses and Events

•       Complete second/third rotations (summer between first and second year)

•       Summer vacation:   2 weeks after Rotation Presentation day (end of rotations)

•       Medical school courses

•       Annual MSTP Retreat

•       Biostatistics (can also be taken in MP1); waiver Exam optional (grade 85 or above = pass)

•       RCR (might have been taken in MD1)

•       MSGR ~ 8 sessions per year

YEAR 3 – MP1

Milestone Deadline
Start in lab July 15
With PhD mentor, identify and invite Advisory Committee members (check with MTA Co-Directors for guidelines) by end of summer Aug 30
Annual MSTP Retreat – abstract, poster presentation encouraged Sept. 1 (abstract)
PhD Lab Coat Ceremony Mid-September
Organize and meet with thesis committee at least once prior to thesis proposal exam. Oct – Mar
Review and Revise Individual Development Plan for MD/PhDs (IDP for MD/PhDs) – complete online, discuss and have signed by advisor, and submit to Graduate School office May 1
Thesis Proposal Exam June 30
Thesis Advisory Committee Meetings: 1 per semester following thesis proposal exam Fall-Spring
Required Courses and Events

•       Summer vacation: 2 weeks following STEP I (mentor begins to pay stipend after the 2 week vacation)

•       MTA-specific courses

•       MSGR ~8 sessions per year

•       RCR (if not already taken)

•       Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting (twice per year)

•       Thesis Proposal Registration (at least 4 weeks prior to Thesis Proposal Exam)

•       Thesis Proposal Exam by June 30 (extension requires MSTP Director approval)

•       If applying for F30/F31: request Program Description letter from MSTP Director

•       Submission of F30/F31 application (strongly recommended)

YEAR 4 – MP2

Milestone Deadline
Annual MSTP Retreat – abstract, poster presentation required Sept 1 (abstract)
Review and Revise Individual Development Plan for MD/PhDs (IDP for MD/PhDs) – complete online, discuss and have signed by advisor, and submit to Graduate School office May 1
Thesis Advisory Committee Meetings 1 per semester Fall-Spring
Required Coursework and Events

•       Advanced MTA coursework

•       Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting (twice per year)

•       MSGR   ~8 sessions per year

•       If applying for or resubmitting F30/F31: request Program Description letter from MSTP Director

•       Submit F30/F31 application (new or resubmission, strongly recommended)

•       2 weeks of vacation to be arranged with mentor

YEAR 5 – MP3

Milestone Deadline
Annual MSTP Retreat – abstract, poster presentation required Sept 1 (abstract)
Review and Revise Individual Development Plan for MD/PhDs (IDP for MD/PhDs) – complete online, discuss and have signed by advisor, and submit to Graduate School office May 1
Planning Meeting for MD3 Re-entry (for MP3 and MP4 students and mentors September 15
Thesis Advisory Committee Meetings 1 per semester Fall-Spring
Required Coursework and Events

•       Advanced MTA coursework

•       Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting (twice per year)

•       MSGR ~8 sessions per year

•       Possible early PhD Thesis defense (if so, refer to MP4 instructions)

•       2 weeks of vacation to be arranged with mentor

YEAR 6 – MP4

Milestone Deadline
Annual MSTP Retreat – abstract, poster presentation required; oral presentation by ~4 students (invited) Sept 1
Planning Meeting for MD3 Re-entry (for MP3 and MP4 students and mentors Sept 15
Thesis Committee Meeting to discuss thesis defense Dec 15
January Re-entry Planning Meeting End of Jan (date varies)
Meeting Faculty Advisor for Re-entry planning During month of Feb
Lottery Planning Meeting End of Feb (date varies)
Enter lottery
Elective registration tba
Register for Clinical Refresher Course End of Feb (date varies)
Review and Revise Individual Development Plan for MD/PhDs (IDP for MD/PhDs) – complete online, discuss and have signed by advisor, and submit to Graduate School office May 1
Schedule PhD Thesis defense (strongly encouraged that the defense take place prior to April 1) May 1
Deposit Dissertation June 15
InFocus6 (formally known as Clinical Skills Week) – full time re-entry into MD3 Last week of June (date varies)
Required Courses and Events

•       Advanced MTA coursework

•       Thesis Advisory Committee Meeting (twice per year)

•       MSGR ~8 sessions per year

•       Prepare for reentry to medical school

•       PhD Thesis defense

•       Clinical Refresher Course (April through first week of June)

•       Note: please schedule 2 weeks of vacation mid-June (between end of Clinical Refresher and start of InFocus6)

YEAR 7 – MD3

Milestone Deadline
Review and revise IDP for MD/PhDs with MSPE meetings (no signature required) May 1
Required Courses and Events

•       MD3 clerkships

•       Collect letters for Residency Applications

•       Spring: meet with Faculty Advisor re: MSPE and MD4 planning

•       Compile materials for MSTP Director letter meeting (CV/biosketch, IDP, description of research, optional: mentor letter)

•       MD4 Schedule Planning

•       Elective planning and registration

•       Registration for USMLE Step 2

Note: in order for your MSPE to indicate your name as Dr., you need to have deposited your thesis by June 15 of the summer prior to MSPE release.

YEAR 8 – MD4

Milestone Deadline
Meet with MSTP Director for Research letter component of MSPE (May-July) July 15
Review and revise IDP for MD/PhDs (no signature required) / Exit Survey May 1
Required Courses and Events

•       USMLE Step 2 CS and CK (summer between year 7 and 8)

•       Meet with faculty advisor re: MSPE (Spring/Summer)

•       Collect letters for Residency applications (if applying)

•       Meet with MSTP Director to discuss content of MSTP Research letter for MSPE

•       Write personal statement for Residency applications

•       Assemble and submit residency applications

•       MD4 clerkships and electives

•       Residency Interviews

•       Match (March)

•       Reception for graduating MSTP students

•       Participate in panel discussion “Residency and Beyond” at MSGR (April)

•       Commencement (mid-May)

Faculty Spotlight

By Nicole Zatorski

Dr. Filizola is the recipient of an endowed chair, the Sharon & Frederick A.
Klingenstein-Nathan G. Kase, MD Professorship, and the Dean of the Graduate
School of Biomedical Sciences. She is a dedicated leader in computational
biophysics of membrane proteins with over 20 years of experience in the
application of methods of computational and theoretical chemistry to biochemical
and biomedical problems, as well as to rational drug design. Dr. Filizola’s
research program is mainly focused on G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs),
which are the targets for about half of all currently used drugs. 

Read more

Alumni Feature

Dr. Ayotunde Dokun is a distinguished alumnus of the MSTP program at Mount Sinai and the winner of the 2018 Terry Ann Krulwich Physician-Scientist Alumni Award. He attended this year’s MSTP retreat at Honor’s Haven where he was the Keynote speaker. We were lucky to hear him speak about his career, and for this feature in the newsletter, I was able to delve deeper and learn more about his time at Sinai and beyond.

Read more

A Message from the Director


The Mount Sinai MSTP is now comfortably into the fall of its 47th year and its 41st year of NIH funding! Our 12 new students matriculated into the MSTP in early July and immersed themselves immediately into their laboratory rotations and the interactive course Problem Solving in Biomedical Sciences (PSBS), in which they worked collaboratively and brainstormed with a group of enthusiastic faculty to propose studies that address critical biomedical problems. PSBS ended with a stimulating day of rotation presentations by the MD1 students, with MD2 students providing individual feedback (including comments from MTA Directors). They have completed their first course in medical school, STRUCTURES and are now back in graduate school mode for the MSTP core course, Biomedical Sciences for MD/PhDs. They have rapidly integrated into the MSTP and we look forward to following their growth and progress over the coming years.

Read more

Marching with WiMSTP

By Christie Nguyen, MD2

Women in MSTP has been going full steam ahead since our official launch in the spring of 2015! As a group, we aim to advocate for and support the success of women in the Medical Scientist Training Program at ISMMS through mentorship and educational efforts. Read more

The First-Year Sinai MSTP’s Guide to NYC

By David Gonzalez and Tucker Matthews (MD1)

Tucker Matthews, University of Wisconsin-Madison:

New York is absolutely incredible for live music and Warsaw is a concert venue in Brooklyn that feels like a community center. I got to see this Brooklyn-based hippie-dance-punk band there, and it was incredible. Milano’s is just hands down my favorite bar in the city. It’s this super tiny hallway-shaped bar down on Houston, there are polaroids of patrons from the ‘90s on the wall, and it just has the greatest feel to it, in a way that you can only really get in NYC.

Christian Stevens, Harvey Mudd College:

New York is about balancing history with pragmatism. Of course I’d love to have a beer at the spot where Abraham Lincoln and America’s first spy, Nathan Hale, would meet in secret to discuss the evacuation of the British from Manhattan. But chances are, that bar is expensive and not real. But there are places, like St. Marks Place, where the history may not sound quite so grand but it feels more important. Ada Calhoun referred to St. Marks Place by saying: “the street is not for people who have chosen their lives … [it] is for the wanderer, the undecided, the lonely, and the promiscuous.” And finally, when you’re winding down your night, right before you head over to take the long and lonely 4, 5, 6 up to 96th street, you can stop by 2 Bros. There you’ll find the best $1 pizza in America, hands down.

Camille van Neste, Stanford University:

In the beginning of the year, New York hit international headlines for an unusual reason: the giant corpse flower at the Bronx Botanical garden was about to bloom. Shoulder to shoulder with an immense crowd, I observed botanical history. Even when the corpse flower is blooming, the botanical gardens and adjacent zoo provide a welcome, green respite from the smelly concrete jungle of Manhattan.

Varun Arvind, Rutgers University-New Brunswick:

One of the first weekends I went to Lombardi’s, a great slice of history and food. Equally fun was just walking around the city going into old bookstores and interesting places. NYC is great because you can just be walking around and serendipitously find a cool new store, restaurant, mural, place, or interesting people.

David Gonzalez, Brown University:

The public library on 42nd street next to Bryant Park is immense and a beautiful space to study in with some really impressive reading rooms that have just been renovated. On days when I don’t have mandatory class, I like to grab a coffee and head down there for the day to study. Its a great way to get away from the UES and explore a bit of NY while staying on top of your classes. During Structures a bunch of first years went to an improv show centered around Raiders of the Lost Ark. Audience members could propose a shift to a scene from a different movie three times during the show, and the actors had to find a way to incorporate it into the current storyline they were acting out, as well as incorporate lines written by audience members that were given to them on a piece of paper before the start of the show. Tickets for shows like this will run you a whopping $10 and are a great spontaneous thing to do in the evening.

Joel Kim, University of Rochester:

Central Park is literally a five minute walk from the student residence, Aron Hall. What is especially worth appreciation is the beautiful reservoir that is located very close by. As someone who enjoys jogging, it is a great way to destress and appreciate a nice view of nature in the midst of a crowded, bustling city.

Sahil Agrawal, Harvard University:

One lazy summer afternoon, I found myself enjoying oysters and craft cocktails on a historic sailboat anchored on the Hudson River — ‘Grand Banks.’ The gentle waves nudged the boat along and the setting sun cast a brilliant red-orange hue on the horizon, highlighting the skyline of the lower east side; in the distant, I could even make out the Statue of Liberty.

Louise Malle, University of Pennsylvania:

Dancing to disco music at a Chinese restaurant that doubles as a hipster nightclub in a desolate street in the Financial districtChina Chalet on Broadway and Morris Street. Spending a sunny afternoon in Chelsea looking at all the art we’ll never be able to afford and admiring NY street style.

Amara Plaza-Jennings, Princeton University:

I normally hate waiting in lines, but when videos started popping up of Dō, a place that makes (safe!) raw cookie dough that they serve like ice cream, I thought maybe it would be worth it. I waited in line with classmates for over an hour and it was freezing cold. I don’t know if I’ll be waiting in trendy food lines again anytime soon, but it was a very New York experience that I am glad I got to have.

Christie Nguyen, Stanford University:

Dominique Ansel Bakery, home to the cookie shot (also the cronut), a life-changing cup shaped cookie filled with tahitian vanilla milk. In classic new york style, it’s only sold at 3pm everyday and there’s usually a short line.

Fred Kwon, University of Pennsylvania:

The first time I visited New York, I wanted to appreciate the New York City landscape. I was recommended the cost efficient observatory deck at Rockefeller Center, from which you can see skyscrapers and appreciate how rectangular Central Park is. While I was in the area, I checked out the bizarre and fascinating Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA) and dropped by Nintendo NYC to take a photo with my favorite plumber brothers.

ISMMS Alumni Interview: Vivek Rudrapatna, MD PhD ’14

By Cindy Tian (MP2)

Vivek grew up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey and graduated from Harvard University in 2006 with a degree in Biophysics. After completing his MD/PhD from Mount Sinai in 2014, he went on to an Internal Medicine fast-track at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Currently, Vivek is in the first year of a UCSF Research Track (T32) Fellowship where he plans to pursue research interests in machine learning applications to gastroenterology/nutrition. He lives in San Francisco and in his spare time enjoys Carnatic (Indian Classical) violin music and traveling with his wife.

CINDY: How did you feel the MD/PhD path shaped your view of medicine and science?

VIVEK: Having a scientific background has definitely enriched my appreciation and understanding of medicine — in my mind the skillset required to plan experiments is the very same skillset required to reason through complex medical problems. It helps one to more critically appraise the literature, identify the important (and not-so-important) questions in the field, and think outside of the box in a way physicians aren’t always naturally good at. Of course a career in medicine helps one identify important questions and appreciate how research at all levels may contribute to the future of practice.

CINDY: How did you choose Internal Medicine?

VIVEK: I think IM is one of the most natural fits for a physician-scientist because it is a highly cognitive specialty that embraces most of the science that we do. Whether in genetics, MCB, immunology, microbiology, developmental biology, or cancer biology — our benchwork is definitely hitting the bedside (I’ve seen so many examples in just the last two years out of med school). Medicine is a highly versatile training pathway with so many fellowship offerings and is relatively short (2-3 years).

CINDY: Advice for students at different stages of training?

VIVEK: 1) No matter the stage of training you’re in, focus your efforts on getting the most out of the experience you can — those are the skills and insights you’ll carry with you forever.

2) Your residency options depends heavily on your medical school ranking, which depends heavily on your medical school performance (e.g. Step 1, MS3) and relatively little on your graduate school performance. Residencies want to pick doctors who will take good care of their patients — research prowess is icing on the cake but not a replacement for medical competence. However, when applying for fellowships (and/ or the last step of your career before eventually getting the job you want) your PhD will suddenly become more valuable in the eyes of academic programs seeking to find people with track records most likely to succeed at an academic career.

3) It’s long and it can be trying and difficult at times. Be adaptable and learn different things from different people (and try to learn from everyone). Stay humble. Don’t lose hope! All tough times will eventually pass. You are smart and you can do it!