2017 MD/PhD National Student Conference
The 32nd Annual MD/PhD National Student Meeting took place July 14-16, 2017 in Keystone, Colorado. Hosted by the University of Colorado-Denver MSTP, the conference brought together just over 100 MD/PhD students from across the country to share their research and compare/contrast MSTP training at different programs. The Vanderbilt MSTP was represented by Daniel Kashima (M3), MariaSanta Mangione (G4), and Jon Knowlton (G4), who all presented posters.
The Keynote speakers were a particular highlight of this year’s retreat. Speakers included Kim Orth, PhD; Douglas Lowy, MD; Donald Ingber, MD/PhD; Emery Brown, MD/PhD; and Kevan Shokat, PhD, who spoke about topics including neural correlates of anesthesia, epidemiology of HPV, and the importance of mechanical forces in modeling disease processes in vitro. Although their research interests were diverse, all were top scientists in their respective fields, and all were dedicated to physician-scientist training. This was evidenced by their participation during student oral and poster presentation sessions and lunches with students. Jon and MariaSanta lunched with Kim Orth, who enthusiastically shared her approach to training students and postdocs as well as some of the new projects in her lab (including rice crop pathogens!). Daniel dined with Emery Brown and discussed work/life balance as well as psychostimulants in relation to anesthesia.
A new addition to the agenda was a PSTP “showcase” during which a few programs, including the Vanderbilt Harrison society, shared the strengths of their post-graduate training programs. Although not exhaustive, this was a great opportunity to hear examples of the different structures and requirements of multiple programs including Stanford’s Pediatric program, University of Iowa’s Clinical Neuroscientist program, and University of Colorado’s Pathology program.
Finally, all three Vanderbilt MSTP students enjoyed networking with fellow trainees through coffee breaks, “Hawaiian” trivia, and social hours, as well as exploring Keystone through a gondola ride and scenic hike. Returning from Colorado left them full of ideas, but out of breath.