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Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)

Tri Institute research buildings

The Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) in the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine is committed to training the next generation of physician scientist leaders in pediatric research.  Open to MD/PhD and MD or DO graduates with an established record of clinical, translational, or basic science research experience who are interested in seeking the American Board of Pediatrics approved integrated research pathway, our PSTP combines the intensive clinical training environment at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital with rigorous basic and translational science training.  Research training of residents participating in the PSTP is supported by world-renowned investigators from our Tri-Institutional consortium (Weill Cornell Medicine, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.  Pediatric research at Weill Cornell Medicine has been accelerated in recent years by the creation of the Gale and Ira Drukier Institute for Children's Health, whose resources are also open to PSTP trainees.

Affiliated with the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center Pediatric Residency, the program aims to support the trainee in developing their professional interests and tailors the curriculum to meet the needs of individual learners.  Our highly collegial and diverse environment prioritizes wellness and professional development. 


Dr. Stefan Worgall and researchers

Dr. Stefan Worgall (center) with lab members

Welcome Our New Trainees!


We are pleased to welcome our new PSTP trainees, Kelly Banks (middle far row, from the Tri-I MD/PhD program) and Richard Piszczatowski (middle near row, from Albert Einstein's MD-PhD program).  The PSTP team celebrated the occasion with lunch outside on the Upper East Side! 

New PSTP trainees having lunch outside at Upper East Side restaurant

Lunch with new PSTP trainees Kelly Banks and Richard Piszczatowski


What makes us different? 

  • Our strong mentor network: In our program, trainees have access to mentors and labs in the Tri-Institute (Tri-I) of Weill Cornell MedicineRockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering as well as the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia UniversityCornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, and neighboring Hospital for Special Surgery - the top-ranked orthopedic hospital in the nation.  Leading laboratories in these institutions represent a range of disciplines including genetics and epigenetics, biochemistry, cell biology, cancer biology, vascular biology, microbiology, immunobiology, neurobiology, biomedical engineering and computational sciences. Moreover, the PSTP program aims to provide mentorship throughout career transitions, including the first years of independent research as junior faculty.
  • We are diverse: Our patient population, located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and beyond, reflects the diversity of New York City and provides trainees with a unique clinical exposure and the largest and most diverse patient database in the area. Our institution is committed to health justice and health care equity. Our diversity is also reflected by our trainees and faculty as Weill Cornell Medicine and the Tri-I strive to create a supportive and inclusive environment for all, providing educational resources and seminars to navigate career development. 
  • We are innovative -- and our program mentors are leaders in their fields: Our faculty are working in the leading edges of scientific discovery.  From Dr. Michel Sadelain's breakthrough research in immunotherapies and Dr. Jean-Laurent Casanova's discoveries of single gene mutations that compromise immunity to Dr. Sallie Permar's focus on vaccine development for prevention of mother-infant transmission of infection, our physician-scientists are nationally recognized leaders in their field.  Our labs are engaged in novel stem cell research, reproductive biology, metabolism/cancer, preventive medicine, and more. 
  • Individualized mentor identification process for each PSTP resident/fellow. 
  • Funding opportunity in the research years of residency with a 10K seed award to support the resident's research.
  • Our program mentors and mentees publish prestigiously: Trainees benefit from faculty that are recognized on the national and international level. Our faculty regularly publish in the top peer reviewed journals such as Nature, Cell, Science, and the New England Journal of Medicine, receive notable awards and professional society honors, and present at conferences around the world. 

Dr. Smith Raska and Dr. Pascual

Dr. Matthew Snith-Raska and Drukier Institute Director Dr. Virginia Pascual

Dr. Liana Senaldi

Dr. Liana Senaldi in the lab

Program Structure

The WCM Pediatric Physician Scientist Training Program currently accepts 1-2 residents each year on an integrated research track, and recruits categorical pediatric residents and subspecialty fellows with an interest in a research career.

The Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) is administered in coordination with the NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital/Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons.  We follow the American Board of Pediatrics guidelines for the Integrated Research Pathway (IRP) for training of pediatric residents with an interest in becoming research scientists. 

The PSTP IRP pathway provides 11 months of protected research time (with a half day per week of continuity clinic) during the second and third years of residency.

Learning Environment


Permar Lab gathering

Dr. Sallie Permar (center) and the Permar Lab at a summer gathering.

Program Goals and Timeline

YEAR 1Goals / ActivitiesTimeline
  • Meetings with PSTP program director
Pre-arrival, Sept/October
  • Guided mentor identification process for research blocks
  • Prepare a 1-page research plan for Year 1
  • Laboratory safety and other required training
  • Research block 1 (2 months)
  • Present research works in progress at PSTP seminar
  • Prepare a 1-page research plan for Year 2
YEAR 2Goals / Activities Timeline
  • Regular meetings with research mentor, identify Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC)
  • SOC meeting
  • Participate in a grant writing workshop series 
  • Research block 2 (2 months)
  • Submit research abstract to a national meeting 

Goals / Activities

  • Research block 3 (7 months)
  • Submit grant proposal
  • SOC meeting 
  • Present research results at PSTP seminar
  • Submit original manuscript to a journal

Clinical Training

In addition to the research training, program participants will be involved in the same quality and breadth of clinical training as categorical residents, qualifying them for future fellowship and/or attending positions. 
Learn more about the Pediatrics Residency Program


PSTP trainees have the opportunity to continue their training in one of the WCM pediatric fellowship programs. Research training will be continuous throughout residency and fellowship. Those PSTP trainees who perform well in clinical and research training will be prioritized for matching into the fellowship of their choice.  
Learn more about the Pediatrics Fellowship Programs

Career Development

PSTP trainees will have access to Department of Pediatrics mentoring seminars as well as WCM's Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) and Tri-I career development series. 

Funding Opportunities

Participants will have the opportunity to apply for competitive internal funding (Department of Pediatrics), college-wide funding through the Clinical and Translational Science Center, and external grant funding.

Program Leaders

Dr. David Lyden

Dr Oleh Akchurin

David Lyden, M.D., Ph.D.

Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)
Department of Pediatrics,
Weill Cornell Medicine
Dr. Lyden's research profile

Oleh Akchurin, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Director,
Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)
Department of Pediatrics
Weill Cornell Medicine
Dr. Akchurin's research profile

Irina Matei, Ph.D.

Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)
Program Coordinator
Phone: 646-962-0574

Jimmy Zhou, M.P.A.

Research Program Associate
Phone: 646-962-6202

PSTP Faculty

Dr. Michael Berger

Michael F. Berger, Ph.D.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Berger's laboratory develops and applies genomic and computational techniques to characterize the spectrum of genetic mutations in human tumors and identify biomarkers of disease progression and drug response.

Dr. Carl Blobel

Carl Blobel, M.D., Ph.D.

Hospital for Special Surgery

The Blobel lab studies a cell surface metalloprotease called ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloprotease 17) and its regulatory binding partners, iRhoms 1 and 2 (inactive Rhomboids 1 and 2), both key regulators of the TNFa, IL-6R and EGFR signaling pathways and therefore cruucial in diseases such as autoimmunity and cancer.

Dr. Jean Laurent Casanova

Jean-Laurent Casanova, M.D., Ph.D.

The Rockefeller University

Dr. Casanova studies how human genes determine the clinical manifestations and outcome of primary infections by viruses including the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) bacteria, fungi, and parasites.

Dr. Linnie Golightly

Linnie Maria Golightly, Ph.D.

Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Golightly's research focuses on tropical diseases and emerging infections.

Dr. Alex Kentsis

Alex Kentsis, M.D., Ph.D.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Kentsis uses inter-disciplinary experimental tools to understand the fundamental causes of cancers that affect children and young adults ranging from embryonal tumors in infants, leukemias and brain tumors in children, and sarcomas in young adults.

Dr. Andrew Kung

Andrew Kung, M.D., Ph.D.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Kung integrates diverse methodologies to identify new cancer drivers and develop innovative therapies that target the molecular abnormalities in childhood and young adult cancers.

Dr. Theresa Lu

Theresa T. Lu, M.D., Ph.D.

Hospital for Special Surgery

The Lu lab studies lymphatic dysfunction in disease and the lymph node vascular-stromal microenvironment that controls T and B cells in autoimmune and musculoskeletal conditions.

Dr. Sallie Permar

Sallie Permar, M.D., Ph.D.

Weill Cornell Medicine

The Permar laboratory focuses on immune prevention of neonatal viral pathogens and maternal/infant vaccine development to eliminate neonatal virus infections.

Dr. Lisa Roth

Lisa Giulino Roth, M.D.

Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Roth’s research focuses on studying the biology of B-cell lymphomas associated with EBV infection including Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Dr. Jane Salmon

Jane E. Salmon, M.D.

Hospital for Special Surgery

The goal of Dr. Salmon’s research is to identify predictors and determinants of disease phenotype in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and related diseases, and to thereby identify targets for therapy.

Dr. Matthew Smith-Raska

Matthew Smith-Raska, M.D., Ph.D.

Weill Cornell Medicine

The Smith-Raska lab uses mouse models to study genes that are candidate regulators of epigenetic inheritance, by translating various exposures into stable and heritable epigenetic molecules in the germ cells, with a particular focus on small RNA molecules.

Dr. Agata Smogorzewska

Agata Smogorzewska, M.D., Ph.D.

The Rockefeller University

Dr. Smogorzewska’s laboratory strives to understand how DNA is repaired during replication paarticularly in the context of bone marrow failure, squamous cell carcinoma, and medulloblastoma development in patients with Fanconi anemia. .

Dr. Sohail Tavazoie

Sohail Tavazoie, M.D., Ph.D. 

The Rockefeller University

Dr. Tavazoie's laboratory employs a systems biology approach that integrates molecular, genetic, cellular, organismal, and clinical observations to discover and characterize key molecular regulators of metastasis, with the goal of developing new therapeutics for its prevention and treatment.

Dr. Stefan Worgall

Stefan Worgall, M.D., Ph.D. 

Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Worgall's laboratory studies pulmonary infections and host responses as well as the role of sphingolipids relevant to chronic pediatric lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.




Physician Scientist Seminar Series

PSTP trainees will have the opportunity to present their work and network with mentors and colleagues through this series.  MD/PhD mentors in the Department of Pediatrics may also provide presentations for this series.

Yearly PSTP Retreat

This 1-day bicampus yearly retreat highlights faculty and mentee research and features a keynote speaker. 


How to Apply


The most competitive candidates will have a strong commitment to a research career and an outstanding academic record. 

The program is open to first-year MD, combined MD/PhD candidates, or others who can demonstrate equivalent research/commitment.

During interview day(s), PSTP candidates will have the opportunity to meet both clinical faculty and current trainees from the Department of Pediatrics as well research faculty and potential mentors.


Contact Us

For inquiries, please contact our research program associate:

Jimmy Zhou, MPA
Research Program Associate
Weill Cornell Medicine

Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medicine Appointments & Referrals: (646) 962-KIDS (646) 962-5437 Chair's Office: Weill Cornell Medicine 525 E 68th St.
Box 225
New York, NY 10065 (646) 962-5437