About

Hanna Erickson, at your service.

(Hope you get the Hobbit reference)

apsa-poster

👩🏻‍🔬 I am a MD-PhD student and physician-scientist-in-training in the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

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Fat (in red) staining in the liver of mice undergoing fasting 🐭

🔬 My PhD research in the Anakk Laboratory is focused on understanding how the liver responds to daily stresses such as diet- and toxin-induced injury, and ultimately, how this contributes to the development of liver disease. Liver disease is a major public health issue, which affects an estimated of 10-30% of the US population. Lifestyle is a major contributor to the development of liver disease, and I am excited to explore how lifestyle, in combination with targeted molecular approaches, can be utilized as a tool to combat this growing epidemic. As a physician-scientist, I hope to be able to take this problem head-on from both the bench and the bedside.

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American College of Physicians Leadership Day 2018 in Washington, DC.

🏛 At the same time, I am an enthusiastic advocate for physician-scientist training, physician/trainee wellness, and access to healthcare. To this day, I attribute my pursuit of this career path to sheer luck, and I’ve seen my fair share of trials and tribulations as a trainee. As a result, I think its important to be transparent these experiences and to find community with others who have had similar experiences, including through social media and specifically #DoubleDocs. It is my goal to educate others about this career path and to bring attention to issues that may hinder potential physician-scientist trainees from pursuing this long and difficult, but overall important and fulfilling, career path. I’ve also advocated in Washington, DC numerous times with the American College of Physicians in support of policies that would expand residency positions and reduce the cost of healthcare to patients, and I actively participate in ACP’s resolutions process to help influence their priority policies.

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Moderating a session at the AAP/ASCI/APSA Annual Meeting in 2017

💡 As a leader, I enjoy finding unique solutions to problems. These are not limited to how to answer a research question, how to engage students in career development opportunities, and how to tell and understand a person’s story. I’ve worn many hats as an MD-PhD student and have planned events from local retreats within our UIUC campus community to national meetings such as the American Physician Scientists Association Annual Meeting that’s held jointly with the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. I find fulfillment in providing these services to my academic community and also relish in the opportunity to connect with role models and mentors. It takes a village to raise a child just as it takes an academic community to train a physician-scientist, and I am so thankful for all of the people who have helped me get to where I am today.

Academic Background

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No matter where my academic career takes me, I’ll always be a gopher.

〽️ Before I came to Illinois, I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN and was a chemistry major at the University of Minnesota. As an undergraduate I did research and volunteered at a hospital like so many pre-meds do, but I also kept the music alive by playing clarinet in the University of Minnesota Marching Band! Marching band was a highly time-consuming commitment, but I genuinely attribute a large portion of my creativity, time management skills, and leadership skills to the 4 years I spent working with the 320-person band to memorize performances and get people excited about the game and the state of Minnesota!

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Marching band in 2012

🎵 Marching band taught me that you don’t need to be the person in the big fluffy white hat to be a leader (though the hat is pretty fun to wear). It also taught me that with some shared enthusiasm, hard work, and cooperation, a group of people can achieve amazing things. For this, I am ever grateful. I believe that the happiest of people are enthusiastic about all parts of their lives – not just work or school – and I point this out to encourage everyone reading this to follow your passions like this even if they aren’t directly related to your ultimate goal. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.


I receive no compensation for my writing on this blog, all of which is purely my own unless directly stated. While I do express my opinions, I emphasize that there is no guarantee that they represent those of my university or employers, and so should not be transferred onto them. Also, as a medical student, my work should not be taken as medical advice. I do not wish to allow advertisements on my blog (other than the ones WordPress puts on here).

While I am not compensated for my work with this blog, I have been compensated (barely!) for my work with The Almost Doctor’s ChannelDocCheck, and Lean On Admissions, which I may shamelessly self-promote.


If you like my writing, please consider following my blog. There’s a link near the top of the side bar to do so. Also, feel free to like my Facebook page (MD, PhD To Be), follow me on Twitter (@MDPhDToBe), and follow me on Instagram (MDPhDToBe). I am trying my best to remain active in each of these channels throughout my training! Any questions, comments, or requests for future blog posts can of course be directed to me from any of these locations or directly emailed to me at via the connect page. Thank you for reading!

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