The UBC MD/PhD program is offered jointly by the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and is designed for students who want to pursue careers as clinician-scientists. This program provides students with the opportunity to combine their medical school experience with intensive scientific training.
The UBC MD/PhD program is the third largest program of its kind in Canada with 22 students currently registered. Unlike more traditional MD/PhD training programs, our program provides a unique style of training where the first two years of MD training are integrated with PhD course work and research activities, completed over a period of five years. All students then complete the program by finishing their final two years of MD training.
The primary mission of the UBC MD/PhD program is to train and nurture future clinician-scientists who excel both in clinical medicine and basic sciences. The program aims to be Canada’s leader in preparing the future generation of clinician-scientists. Every year MD/PhD students showcase their work at national and international scientific conferences, in addition to the annual UBC MD/PhD Open House held in early September.
Among the 17 students that have graduated from the program, all have continued their clinical training in research-intensive residency programs. The first group of graduates now hold faculty positions at UBC and other universities. For a list of current students and graduates, please see our website: http://mdprogram.med.ubc.ca/mdphd.
Potential candidates must be independently selected by the MD Admissions Selection Committee prior to or concurrent with their acceptance into the MD/PhD program. Application to the MD/PhD program should be submitted to the MD/PhD program office. For further information, please contact Jane Lee at (604) 822-7198 or email email@example.com.
Selected Recent Publications
Nguyen LV, Vanner R, Dirks P, Eaves CJ. Cancer stem cells: an evolving concept. Nature Review Cancer. AOP Jan 2012.
Guest WC, Cashman NR, Plotkin SS. A theory for the anisotropic and inhomogeneous dielectric properties of proteins. Phys Chem Chem Phys 13(13):6286-95. 2011.
Mayer ML, Sheridan JA, Blohmke CJ, Turvey SE, Hancock RE. The pseudomonas aeruginosa autoinducer 3O-C12 homoserine lactone provokes hyperinflammatory responses from cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells. PLoS One. 6(1):e16246. 2011.
Westwell-Roper C, Dai DL, Soukhatcheva G, Potter KJ, van Rooijen N, Ehses JA, Verchere CB. IL-1 Blockade attenuates islet amyloid polypeptide-induced proinflammatory cytokine release and pancreatic islet graft dysfunction. J Immunol 187(5):2755-65. 2011.
Joe AW, Yi L, Natarajan A, Le Grand F, So L, Wang J, Rudnicki MA, Rossi FM. Muscle injury activates resident fibro/adipogenic progenitors that facilitate myogenesis. Nat Cell Biol 12(2):153-63. 2010.
Matt Mayer is a 5th year student in the combined MD/PhD training program, and is working in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Hancock (Microbiology & Immunology). The Hancock lab has developed a new class of peptide-based therapeutics called innate defence regulators (IDRs) that are currently undergoing clinical trials as anti-bacterial drugs. Unlike conventional antibiotics, IDRs fight infections by “fine-tuning” the body’s innate immune system; enhancing the speed and magnitude of the normal immune response. Although they stimulate innate immunity, IDR-peptides are also anti-inflammatory. Matt’s research is focused on these anti-inflammatory properties, and he is working to broaden the scope of application for IDR peptides to include inflammatory diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Inflammatory signaling networks can be difficult to study, as they consist of multiple redundant pathways that interface through crosstalk, and feedback or feedforward inhibition to create a single system capable of selectively amplifying and integrating signals in a coordinated manner. By utilizing systems biology, a cutting-edge non-reductionist bioinformatics approach based on network theory, Matt is working to identify dysregulated components of inflammatory networks that drive inflammation in CF and IBD, and mediate the anti-inflammatory effect of IDR peptides.
Long Nguyen started in the MD/PhD program in the summer of 2009, and is currently a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Connie Eaves. He came to Vancouver after having completed a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University in Honours Biochemistry. In Dr. Eaves’ lab, Long is a recent Vanier scholar, and his current research involves developing a novel viral vector-based cellular tracking strategy that uses stretches of random DNA as “barcodes” that can be detected in a robust quantitative fashion using next-generation sequencing technology. He is using this new approach to characterize the differentiation properties of human mammary epithelial stem cells, and to probe how when perturbed, specific subsets of normal breast epithelial cells lead to the development of basal-like or luminal-like types of breast cancer, that may retain or gain properties consistent with the concept of cancer stem cells. This fundamental research will probe the changes to cell function that accompany malignant transformation, and provide a framework upon which to understand and design effective therapies for combating the cellular heterogeneity inherent within and between tumours. Outside the lab, Long has served as student representative on the Dean’s Implementation Taskforce for Curriculum Renewal, as well as the Scholarship Working Group, for the MD undergraduate program, is on the organizing committee for the annual UBC Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Research Forum, and is an editor for the trainee section of the journal Clinical & Investigative Medicine.
Suze Berkhout is in her final year of the MD/PhD program. She completed her doctoral dissertation, “Social Identity, Agency, and the Politics of Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy,” under the supervision of Drs. Mark Tyndall (Infectious Disease) and Scott Anderson (Philosophy) in 2010. Collaborating between the Department of Experimental Medicine and Department of Philosophy, Suze employed the analytic tools of feminist philosophy and philosophy of science to critique conventional epidemiological approaches to studying adherence, and to examine the role of social identity in gender-based disparities to utilizing antiretroviral therapy in Vancouver’s inner city. Her research demonstrated how social interests, institutional authorities, relations of power, and strategies of social control are exerted on, resisted, and internalized by women attempting to negotiate HIV/AIDS care. Applications of this work extend to debates in health systems and policy, as well as to understanding the social bases of knowledge-generating practices in science and evidence-based medicine. Suze will enter her residency in Psychiatry at the University of Toronto in July 2012, and plans to expand her research to questions of identity, agency, and autonomy in mental illness, through the Department of Psychiatry Clinician Scientist Program.