The Physician Scientist Track (PST) prepares resident-scientists for a career in basic/translational/clinical inquiry by offering additional training and mentorship. The program focuses on developing research knowledge and skills, team management, grant proposal development, mentoring, communication and public engagement.
This track is led by co-directors Alexandra Bey, MD, PhD, and Jonathan Posner, MD, with advisory board members Kimberly Carpenter, PhD, Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD, Chris Marx, MD, and Heather Vestal, MD, MHS.
The PST emphasizes flexibility and early protected research time, allowing residents to begin pursuing independent research projects at an earlier stage in training.
Upon completing the PST, residents will:
- Successfully compete for an NIH training grant (K08, K99/R00) or independent research grant (DP5) at the end of residency training.
- Have the skills to build an independent research laboratory.
The Duke School of Medicine’s Office of Physician-Scientist Development works to leverage institutional and grant-funded opportunities, including the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Physician-Scientist Institutional Award, various NIH awards, and an abundance of highly qualified mentors for diverse projects. We offer two spots each year in the PST, and the track has its own NRMP number: 1529400C3.
Read on to learn more about the specific program components and how to apply.
Participants receive direct training in grant preparation from their research mentors and PST leadership, including mentoring in selection of funding agencies/grant mechanisms and feedback on draft proposals.
A salary supplement and research support funds are provided for each candidate.
The didactic curriculum, delivered monthly, is co-developed and taught by PST faculty, postdocs and residents. Examples of topics include mentoring, grant preparation, time management, identifying questions for research inquiry and managing collaborations. Didactics also explore NIH funding priorities, research frameworks (e.g., RDoc) and programmatic priorities, ABCD, HEAL and BRAIN.
PST trainees are encouraged to attend international meetings in neuroscience, biological psychiatry and psychopharmacology, such as SfN, SOBP, ACNP and others. A limited number of travel awards are available each year to PST trainees who are presenting a poster, talk and/or participating in a symposium. PST leadership also assists trainees in applying for conference-sponsored travel awards.
“As a Physician Scientist track member, I enjoy generous protected time each year, complete academic freedom to work with Duke's outstanding faculty across departments, and professional development and community from track leadership and members. I have the support I need to grow as a physician-scientist and achieve my goals.”
— William Meyerson, MD, PhD, Third-Year Psychiatry Resident