When you think of education at UMHS, do you think of medical students? Nursing students? House officers? Sure.
But what about the students and trainees who are creating the future of medicine through laboratory research?
In fact, more than 1,200 members of the UMHS community are graduate students and postdoctoral fellows — young scientists who are working toward their Ph.D. or have recently received one.
This year, they’re getting a little more visible, thanks to events that showcase their work and accomplishments.
Grad students get going
This month, 65 new students started classes that will take them down the path toward a U-M Medical School Ph.D. They’re students in the Program in Biomedical Sciences or PIBS – - a one-year curriculum that introduces students to the 14 different areas of specialty that Michigan Ph.D. candidates can choose.
PIBS allows them to rotate through the laboratories of some of the 500 faculty members who take part in PIBS, and equips them with crucial skills they will need as future scientists.
This outstanding cohort of students was chosen from 699 applicants. Sixteen states including Michigan and nine countries — Canada, China, India, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Rwanda, Taiwan and Turkey — are represented.
One-quarter of the class is international students, and 17 percent are from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science.
Eighteen members of the class were awarded prestigious Maas Fellowships upon matriculation, 15 students were awarded the Rackham Merit Fellowship, and one arrived with both a Ford Foundation and an NSF Predoctoral Fellowship. New first-year graduate students also include a U-M plastic surgery resident and an Army major and Afghanistan veteran who will earn her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology with support from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she is an assistant professor.
All of these entering students had extensive research experience as undergraduates, and a number have already been listed as co-authors on published manuscripts and/or abstracts.
Also this summer and fall, last year’s crop of PIBS students advanced from PIBS into the lab of a thesis mentor and a specific degree program. They’ve started their research while continuing to take courses and prepare for the qualifying exam that will make them full-fledged Ph.D. candidates. Several years from now, they’ll graduate with their Michigan doctorates, through a partnership between the Medical School and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
In all, more than 530 students are working toward a graduate degree at the Medical School right now – plus an additional 91 members of the Medical Scientist Training Program, who are earning both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees to become the physician scientists of the future.
There are also 27 students earning master’s degrees in Human Genetics, Genetic Counseling, Bioinformatics, Physiology and Pharmacology.
This year, the Medical School is initiating an annual celebration to recognize the achievements and milestones of our graduate students at every level, from PIBS through graduation.
This event – the Celebration of Graduate Education – will be held on October 12 at the BSRB.
Proud of our postdocs
Meanwhile, 695 early-career scientists who have earned a Ph.D. or other terminal degree, are working with Medical School faculty as postdoctoral fellows.
They are being celebrated this week during the annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week. A number of events are scheduled at Michigan to honor these young investigators and to aid their development of skills that will prepare them for careers as independent scientists. More about these events can be found at http://www.med.umich.edu/postdoc/current/calendar.html.
In addition to professional development and community-building activities led by the Medical School’s Office of Postdoctoral Studies, Michigan postdocs have their own organization, the U-M Postdoctoral Association. The PDA offers their events and resources to all postdocs.
Because the Medical School’s postdocs make up more than half of the entire U-M postdoc population, the PDA is highly interested in addressing topics in the biomedical sciences; however both the PDA and the Office invite postdocs from all areas of campus to connect and participate.
Learn more about graduate and postdoctoral studies at the Medical School here.