Med-into-Grad at UCSD: Med-into-Grad is an initiative at UCSD School of Medicine that provides medical training for graduate students, giving them an understanding of the presentation, progression, diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to their area of thesis research. The initiative is sponsored by the the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The HHMI, the National Institutes of Health, and UCSD believe that the medical training of graduate students will produce researchers who focus their current and future research on the most important aspects of human disease, who are aware of how their molecular knowledge can be used to improve diagnostics and therapeutics, who will understand how to interface and collaborate with clinical and translational researchers to move basic research discoveries into the clinical setting, and who will be more passionate about their research goals because they have acquired an urgency to cure human disease by being exposed to it first hand. Participating graduate programs include Biomedical Sciences, Molecular Pathology, Neurosciences, and Bioengineering.
Rational for Integrating Medical Training into Graduate Education: The medical setting richly illustrates the profound impact of disease on the human condition. It daily reveals how defined biochemical mechanisms produce clear pathologies, and illustrates the features of disease that continue to progress despite the best treatments. It illustrates secondary pathologies at distant sites that emerge due to biochemical or cellular mechanisms unrelated to the primary cause of the disease, and these pathologies may be more lethal than the primary disease itself. The medical setting is also a rich environment for clinical and translational research, which includes ongoing clinical trials, and the development and use of drugs, biomechanical, or biosensing devices for therapeutic purposes. While graduate students interested in biomedical research are empowered to solve molecular mechanisms and conceptualize and develop therapeutics, they lack a medical understanding of disease that can steer their research down the most important avenues, and help them to use their molecular discoveries to address the issue of unmet diagnostic and therapeutic needs. UCSD's Med-into-Grad initiative is designed to provide limited, focused, medical education within a student's area of disease interest to optimize their future contribution toward the complete understanding and effective treatment of human disease.
Core Med-into-Grad education: Med-into-Grad training involves participation in one of the Winter quarter clinical training programs listed below (described in Winter quarter training programs), and two Autumn activities that prepare students for their clinical experience—a 2 unit course “Science Meets the Medical Patient” and a self-study in histology and histopatology. In the last half of autumn quarter, students attend the clinical Grand Rounds and patient case conferences associated with their focus area (each is 1 hour/week). These, and other focus-specific clinical activities, are outlined in Autumn Preparatory Activities. Students may attend as many of these clinical activities as they desire during autumn quarter, and will attend most of them during their winter quarter program. The purpose of these autumn activities is to establish the student’s knowledge of histopathology, their understanding of the open research questions that need to be addressed in this area of medicine, their understanding of treatment issues, and their familiarity with the faculty who they will interact with during their MSP. A deeper understanding of the unmet diagnostic and therapeutic needs of human diseases, as well as drug-based and stem cell-based therapeutic designs, can be obtained through education outlined in Med-into-Grad electives. Click on individual pictures for designated trainees to read more about each one's experience in his or her own words.
Description of winter quarter training programs