New School of Medicine Initiative Solicits First Call for Applications for Physician Scientist Trainee Awards

With support from the strategic plan, the new Physician Scientist Training Program will support the most promising physician scientists and bolster translational research at the UNC School of Medicine.

New School of Medicine Initiative Solicits First Call for Applications for Physician Scientist Trainee Awards click to enlarge Alex Duncan, MD, PhD

Individuals interested in applying for this award should consult with their department chair or vice-chair for research to learn about their department’s specific procedure for determining the its nominees.

Application and eligibility details are available in the full RFA and questions regarding candidate eligibility or application process can be directed to , SOM Physician Scientist Training Program Director.

Applications containing a research proposal, applicant biosketch, and letters of support for nominated candidates are due from nominating departments March 3, 2020. Each clinical department may nominate up to two eligible physician scientist candidates for each award.

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The School of Medicine Strategic Plan, Forward Together, is supporting a new training initiative to enhance career development of Physician Scientist trainees near their transition to faculty positions – The Physician Scientist Training Program (PTSP).  Physician-Scientists are a small number of clinicians committed to translating research findings to advance the practice of medicine in addition to their roles providing clinical care and teaching.  Well-trained and highly motivated Physician Scientists are essential to increasing the prominence of the UNC School of Medicine (SOM) and advancing the future of medice. The UNC SOM PTSP was created as a pipeline to recruit, train and retain the most promising individuals to our clinical training programs where they will receive mentorship and support to foster their research careers. 

Joseph (Alex) Duncan, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, has spearheaded the successful and highly competitive Department of Medicine PTSP program that was initiated in 2015. Dr. Duncan will now lead the SOM-wide PTSP which will recruit more top-notch talent and expand research across the clinical departments.  In addition, a PSTP committee has been formed that includes Vicki Bae-Jump,MD, PhD, Professor of Gynecologic Oncology; Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine; Toni Darville, MD, Vice-Chair for Research, Pediatrics, Co-Director UNC MD/PhD Program; Ian Davis, MD, PhD, G. Denman Hammond Associate Professor for Childhood Cancer;  Mohanish Deshmukh, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology, Co-Director UNC MD/PhD Program, Tim Gershon, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology; John Gilmore,MD, Vice-Chair of Psychiatry for Research and Scientific Affairs; Gaorav Gupta,MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology; David Peden, MD, MS, Chief of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology; Janet Rubin, MD, Vice-Chair of Medicine for Research; Jen Jen Yeh, MD, Vice-Chair  for Research, Surgery; and Karen Weck, MD, Professor of Pathology and Director of Molecular Genetics Laboratory.

“We are very excited to launch this new program as part of the initiative of our SOM Strategic Plan to grow clinical research.  It will leverage and integrate our well-established strengths and with the additional resources from the Strategic Plan, the UNC SOM will advance its position as a hub for developing Physician Scientists”, says Blossom Damania, SOM Vice Dean for Research.  “Alex Duncan is a great example of a successful physician scientist and mentor, and his leadership will be critical as we establish and grow the program.”

This program will support physician scientists at two stages: resident/fellowship level and early stage faculty level. The program will partner with trainees’ home departments and provide funding to support research efforts of the trainees in SOM research laboratories (Resident/Fellow Award -$ 35,000/year and Faculty Award -$ 55,000/year salary support + $ 25,000/year project support). Additionally, trainees will enter a career development training program with peer level physician scientists across multiple clinical disciplines. Each awarded trainee will receive two years of support from the program.

The program is now seeking nomination of eligible applicants from the UNC Clinical Departments for awards with support to begin for the 2020-2021 academic year (July 1, 2020). Applications containing a research proposal, applicant biosketch, and letters of support for nominated candidates are due from nominating departments March 3, 2020. Each clinical department may nominate up to two eligible physician scientist candidates for each award.

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