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Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology

Physician Scientist Track 

Residency candidates with exceptional achievements and commitment to a career in scientific investigation are offered specialized opportunities for research career development, utilizing resources derived both from the department and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  The goal of the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology is to seamlessly integrate residency, fellowship and postdoctoral research training to prepare the trainee to become an  independently funded investigator in the shortest possible time after the commencement of training.  

The Physician Scientist Track in Pathology achieves its desired outcomes by providing trainees with three important advantages:

First, because of our size and flexibility, the Vanderbilt Pathology Residency can offer trainees specialized programs other than the traditional four-year combined Anatomic and Clinical Pathology training program (APCP4).  Three-year programs in Anatomic Pathology (AP3) or Clinical Pathology (CP3), ideally suited to specialized academic practice, provide trainees with exposure to their chosen disciplines beyond that which is possible within the context of the APCP4 program, while still being able to provide up to six months of research training as a part of the three-year program.  In addition, trainees in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology may elect to extend their research training with postdoctoral research experiences, either following residency training, or by incorporating an extended research experience during the residency years.  In either case, trainees are encouraged to find an optimal research home either in the department or in any other department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Each curriculum is tailored to fit the trainee’s career development goals.

Second, the Pathology Department offers participating trainees financial support for extended research experiences in any department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  Trainees receive salary and fringe benefits plus an allotment for supplies.  Salary support for the first research year is guaranteed for trainees in good standing in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology.  Departmental funds are intended as a bridge to obtaining funding for postdoctoral training from one of the many training programs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, or independent funding from private foundations or the National Institutes of Health. The guaranteed departmental funding facilitates entry of the trainee into the most appropriate research laboratory regardless of the immediate availability of funds to support an additional trainee in the laboratory.

Third, the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology provides exemplary mentoring and career development guidance to the trainee from many investigators both in the Department of Pathology and in other departments at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In addition to activities in the Department of Pathology, trainees in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology also participate in joint scientific, mentoring, and social activities with participants in the physician scientist tracks of other Vanderbilt departments.   The track provides continuity in mentoring and career development between the MD/PhD program of the student years and programs such as the Vanderbilt Physician Scientist Development program for junior faculty.

Residency candidates interested in the Physician Scientist Track in Pathology are encouraged to inquire further at the time of initial residency application.

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