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Graduate Education in Medical Science (GEMS) Training Program

Program Phases

Program opportunities for students at all stages

The UCSF Graduate Education in Medical Sciences Training Program (GEMS) offers activities grouped into three phases intended to attract students at different stages of their Ph.D. study and different levels of commitment to education in medical sciences.  These stages with activities are illustrated in the panel below.
  1. Activities to enhance interest of entering and more senior graduate students in the opportunities and excitement of pursuing interactive investigations with clinical researchers.
  2. Activities to increase the knowledge base and relevant skills that will enable GEMS students to pursue Ph.D. theses and careers at the interface of basic and clinical science.
  3. Activities that will provide enhanced training leading to a Certificate in Translational Research with focus on a student’s specific area of interest.
  4. Support for MIG student Ph.D. thesis research components that involve collaborative research with a clinical scientist.
Summary of Requirements for Different Activities and Endpoints of GEMS
Activity
Typical Student Year in PhD Program
GEMS Phase
Quarter
Pre-Requisite
Required for Certification
Inform prospective students of GEMS during interview days
0
0
n/a
none
No
Invite matriculated students to apply to GEMS
0
0
n/a
none
No
Immunology core course
1
1
Summer
none
No
Staggered seminars, research presentations (once a month)
1
1
Fall, Winter
none
No
Introduction to Human Biology & Medicine mini course
1
1
Spring
none
No
Other optional translational mini-course
1
1
Spring
none
No
Clinical/translational rotation option for GEMS students
1
1
Summer
none
No
Join thesis lab; pairing with GEMS co-mentor
2
2
Fall
none
Yes
Designing Clinical Research course for GEMS students
2
2
Summer
none
Yes
Continued participation in GEMS seminars & research presentations, including Demystifying Medicine series and Symposia in Molecular Medicine
2
2
all year
none
Yes
Discipline specific advanced full-length course (e.g., Cancer Biology, Neurobiology of Disease)
2
2
all year
none
Yes
Continued participation in GEMS seminars & research presentations
2
2
all year
none
Yes
Prepare and orally defend 5-10 page paper (qualifying exam) proposing experiments to address an important translational or clinical research problem
2
2
all year
none
Yes
Attend national meeting
2
2
all year
none
No
Prepare and submit IRB, if necessary (student support funds available)
3, 4
3
all year
Competitive application
No
Initiate collaborative clinical research project
3, 4
3
all year
Competitive application
No
Attend national meeting
3, 4
3
all year
Competitive application
No
Continued participation in GEMS seminars & research presentations
3, 4
3
all year
Competitive application
No
Student support funds to pursue IRB-approved research project
4, 5
3
all year
Competitive application
No
Continued participation in GEMS seminars & research presentations
4, 5
3
all year
Competitive application
No
  1. Activities to enhance interest in entering and more senior graduate students in the opportunities for and excitement of pursuing interactive investigations with clinical researchers.
    1. Symposia in Molecular Medicine (Quarterly).  This series of half day long symposia will bring together UCSF basic scientists and clinicians to discuss a medical problem to which basic science has made or has promise of making important contributions to treatment or diagnosis. When possible, these symposia will include patient presentations. The Inaugural Symposium on February 25, 2010, will be: RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Human biology, molecular pathogenesis and novel therapies.  This symposium will feature speakers from UCSF and Genentech.
    2. Seminar series “Demystifying Medicine” offered on Mondays of each month at 6:00 p.m. Each session in this series pairs a basic and clinical scientist to discuss a specific important medical problem, including the current status of knowledge about the mechanisms of disease, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The topics covered in past sessions have included malaria, type II diabetes, thrombosis, prion diseases, pulmonary fibrosis, epilepsy and glioblastoma, and included many of UCSF’s most distinguished faculty. These presentations offer examples where basic and clinical scientists are engaged in productive and exciting collaboration.

     

  2. Activities to increase the knowledge base and relevant skills that will enable GEMS students to pursue Ph.D. theses and careers at the interface of basic and clinical science.
  3. The UCSF Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) Program offers courses designed to provide entering and first year students with basic knowledge about the medical sciences that we hope will encourage them to consider theses in areas that will advance medical science and human health.

    The two courses are:
    Essential Immunology and Immunopathology:  Fall 2011
    Introduction to Human Biology & Medicine: May 9-May 20, 2011

    The draft schedules for these courses are presented on the "courses" web page. These courses will be offered annually. One is not a prerequisite for the other. Entering students may attend Immunity and Immunopathology either at the very beginning of their enrollment at UCSF or at the end of their first year of study.

    Boot camps offered by several programs in early September conflict with Immunity and Immunopathology.  Students in these programs should plan to take the course at the end of their first year.

    The GEMS program will provide one week of interim stipend support and benefits for entering students to enable them to come to UCSF before September 1 to take Immunity and Immunopathology, if they would not otherwise receive support from their graduate program.

    Rotations in laboratories engaged in translational or clinical research:
    Interested students may complete rotations in laboratories engages in translational or clinical research before choosing a thesis laboratory. The GEMS program leadership is available to help students identify appropriate laboratories.

  4. Activities that will provide enhanced training leading to a Certificate in Translational Research with focus on a student’s specific area of interest.
The program will offer enhanced training through several activities for 2nd year and more senior students.  Upon completion of these requirements students will receive a Certificate in Translational Research conferred by the Graduate Division. As the student will have entered a laboratory at the end of his/her first year, commitment to Phase 2 will require support of the student’s thesis mentor.  The GEMS Program Executive Committee will help ensure that the student and his/her advisor understand in advance the benefits and obligations from a commitment to Phase 2.

  1. Attendance at the Demystifying Medicine series and Symposia in Molecular Medicine will continue to enhance the education of Phase 2 students.
  2. Each student will take at least one advanced course specific for his or her graduate program. For example, “Neurobiology of Disease” or “Cancer Biology”.
  3. In August of the 2nd or 3rd year, the student will take course offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Statistics: “Designing Clinical Research”, currently offered for senior medical students and residents. At the end of this course, the student will be familiar with clinical research study designs, selection of study participants, measurements, sample size requirements, clinical research ethics, and causal inference. The course will also provide the tools to allow students to critically appraise the medical literature.
  4. After completion of this course, the student’s mentors will help the student identify an appropriate topic for a 5-10 page written paper proposing experiments to address an important translational or clinical research problem. The mentors and MMC will help the student identify a committee of four faculty members before which the student will orally defend this paper in a format mimicking that of UCSF qualifying exams. Completion of this paper, its defense, and the advanced course requirement of the student’s program will result in conferral of a Certificate in Translational Medicine.
Optional Resources for Phase 2 Students
  1. When a student and his advisor think it useful, a Mentorship Matching Committee (MMC), a small group of senior clinical scientists with broad knowledge of UCSF will help each GEMS scholar identify with an appropriate clinical research group and clinical research co-mentor. For example, a Bioengineering student might be paired with a radiologist studying imaging methods for early detection of brain tumors. The purpose of this matchmaking effort is to teach students about the concerns and perspectives of physician scientists, enhance the students’ understanding of the methods and problems of clinical and translational research, develop the students’ abilities to communicate with physicians and physician scientists and ideally develop lasting collaborations. This co-mentor will introduce the student to relevant intellectual activities, such as Grand Rounds.
  2. The MMC will also be available to serve more senior students who express interest in applying for GEMS funding to support their research.
  3. For those students who express intent with support of their advisors to continue into the senior phase of the GEMS program’s activities, the program will provide funds to attend an annual meeting of a major national clinical society that we believe will help them include a clinical component in their thesis research.
  4. Support for GEMS student Ph.D. thesis research components that involve collaborative research with a clinical scientist.

The GEMS leadership committee will solicit annually applications from students for partial research support of theses that include a translational research component. The GEMS will select students with the most promising proposals, irrespective of prior participation in GEMS Program activities. The GEMS will as part of this support provide funding to enable attendance at an annual meeting of a major clinical professional society for the student to present his/her thesis research.  Students who receive such awards will be expected to participate in other activities of the GEMS program at a level appropriate for their needs and for inspiring more junior students.  Specific expectations will be mutually agreed upon by the GEMS Executive Committee, the student and the student’s thesis advisor.


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