Medical Scientist Training Program

Degree Offered: M.D.-Ph.D.
Director: Robin G. Lorenz, M.D., Ph.D.
Director Title: Associate Dean of Physician Scientist Development
Phone: (205) 934-4092 or 934-0676


UAB’s outstanding research and clinical training programs provide a unique opportunity for students interested in careers in basic biomedical research. As a designated NIH Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), students are admitted concurrently to the School of Medicine and the Graduate School in order to pursue both the M.D. degree and the Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. study in this program is available in the areas of biochemistry, structural, and stem cell biology; biomedical engineering; biostatistics; cancer biology; cell, molecular and developmental biology; epidemiology; genomics, and bioinformatics; health behavior; immunology; microbiology, neuroscience; nutrition sciences; pathobiology and molecular medicine; public health; sociology; and vision science.

Individuals admitted to this highly competitive program must have excellent undergraduate academic records and MCAT scores. In addition, successful applicants must have demonstrated their commitment to a career pathway as an investigator with active participation in an original research project prior to admission. Fellowship support, including a stipend and payment of tuition and fees, is provided to successful applicants.

In general, M.D.-Ph.D. students will first complete the basic science phase of the medical curriculum and the first-year core curriculum of their chosen Ph.D. discipline simultaneously. The second phase of study will focus on mentor selection, research path, and completion of a dissertation research project leading to the Ph.D. degree. The final phase of the program is a series of clinical rotations and an abbreviated set of acting internships to complete the M.D. degree. Normally, the program involves about 8 years for completion, depending on the time required to complete the dissertation research.

Interested applicants must complete the standard AMCAS application to the UAB School of Medicine and a short supplementary application to the M.D.-Ph.D. program. More information is available at

Students who have initiated study in the University of Alabama School of Medicine or the UAB Graduate School may also apply to the MD/PhD Program. Please contact the MSTP Director for further  information.


MSTP 794. Translational Research Seminar. 1 Hour.

This course will consist of a series of seminars on the broad topic of Translational Research. The seminars are designed to review different specific areas of Translational Research in a "case study" approach. Invited speakers will choose a "case" of a particular scientific concept or candidate drug that is being developed or has been translated into an approved therapy with clinical impact. The speaker will attempt to highlight the milestones along the developmental pathway, including their own contributions, but focus on the overall development of the field over a significant period of time. An appreciation for the key elements that determine success in translating basic biomedical understanding into medical practice, include a combination of science, financial, and often political issues, that are often only clearly apparent in hindsight. By understanding the specifics of a number of different actual cases of successful completion of translational projects, students will become more aware of the issues in translational research beyond the specific scientific facts. Open only to MD/PhD Students.

MSTP 795. Continuing Clinical Education. 1 Hour.

This course will consist of three components. The first will be interactions with a Physical Diagnosis Mentor to maintain History and Physical Diagnosis skills learned in the MS1 and MS2 years. The second will be interactions with a Clinical Specialty Mentor to increase exposure to various medical specialties and give advice for MD/PhD students to help guide their future residency choices. The third will be a translational medicine journal club in conjunction with the Internal Medicine ABIM Research Pathway Residents and Fellows.

MSTP 796. Anatomy Lab TA Opportunity. 1 Hour.

From 23 TOTAL dissections between the MS1 and MS2 years, students choose any 6 dissections to teach depending on their availability. Overview: MS4 students will serve as Anatomy Teaching Associates for MS1 and MS2 students during scheduled lab times to make preclinical training more robust and clinically relevant. Course benefits for MS4 students: - Small-group anatomy training aimed to improve knowledge of anatomy & dissection skills. - Teaching & mentoring experience of students with less clinical experience. - Flexible schedule: Preferred dissections may be changed up to 1 week before the preclinical scheduled lab time. Format: - Students will attend a 1-hour orientation session addressing effective teaching techniques in August of the entering year (accommodation for absence can be made on a case-by-case basis). - The week prior to their chosen dissections, students will receive 2 hours of small group training in SOM lab under the directions of trained UAB Anatomist and Course Director Dr. Resuehr. During this training, students will perform the relevant cadaveric dissection which will be saved for demonstration during the preclinical lab. -TAs will be assigned to a group of preclinical students during their scheduled lab time to help answer questions. Particular emphasis will be placed on providing preclinical students with clinical correlates. Learning Objectives: - Dissect and identify all associated structures of their chosen dissections emphasizing the relation of structures to each other and common pathologies. - Understand common anatomical variations (if applicable). - Understand anatomically relevant information pertaining to clinical procedures. - Understand geriatric changes. - Mentor and teach students with less experience.

MSTP 798. MSTP Non-Dissertation Hours. 1-8 Hour.

Laboratory research pre-qualification. Only open to MSTP students.

MSTP 799. MSTP Dissertation Hours. 1-8 Hour.

Dissertation research. Only open to MSTP students.