The M3D PhD Program trains students to use advances in basic sciences to solve problems relevant to human disease; and to use insights from human disease processes to solve fundamental biological problems. Three core courses focus on mechanisms of disease, the impact of basic science on medicine, and human genetics, providing a rigorous intellectual foundation. Each student participates in Chief of Medicine rounds, and in a mentored clinical rotation, in the broad area of human genetics or in a more focused area relevant to the student’s thesis research. Students also choose electives reflecting their own interests from the deep and varied menu offered by UW basic science and engineering departments. Thesis research is supervised by two mentors, one a basic scientist and the other a clinician scientist. Students complement their experimental work with exposure to relevant problems in the clinic. The M3D Program is designed for students to complete PhD training in five years, ready to take the next step in careers in academia, biotech, the pharmaceutical industry, education, publishing and public policy.
Dual Mentorship: Research and Clinical Mentors
A key feature of M3D PhD Program training is dual mentorship of each student. The Research Mentor provides laboratory space and supervises thesis research; and the Clinical Mentor promotes and facilitates awareness of the clinical significance of the project.
The M3D PhD Program is a collaborative effort among the Departments of Medicine, Pathology and Pediatrics. Students may carry out PhD research with any qualified faculty member in one of those participating departments. Qualified faculty from other departments may train M3D PhD students, provided that the faculty member commits to support the student while in training.
The Clinical Mentor promotes and facilitates awareness of the clinical significance of the project. Faculty with clinical expertise in any department may serve as Clinical Mentors.
M3D requires that faculty serving as research mentors to our students who have not previously mentored at least two PhD students are included on a student’s Supervisory Committee as a Senior Co-mentor. This is a faculty member who has a strong PhD training record and is, in effect, the research mentor’s mentor. The Senior Co-mentor is asked to write a training update to the M3D office after each of the student’s committee meetings (i.e. annually) that documents progress of the student and of the junior faculty member.
It’s up to each faculty member to identify the Senior Co-mentor, establish his/her willingness to assist, and to follow up after the committee meetings to be sure that M3D is provided with the training update.
The Senior Co-mentor may be a member of any department. There can be an advantage to a junior faculty member in including someone from his/her own department, as they may be able to provide useful advice and insights for career development.
M3D Student Handbook
The M3D Program guidelines and curriculum along with Graduate School policies and procedures can be found in the M3D Student Handbook.
Individual Development Plan
The NIH requires that all graduate students develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP), and update it at least once a year. The IDP is meant to help students think about their goals and how to achieve them, by clear short term and long term planning.