Almost Docs: How I Found an Online Community

This was originally shared on www.almostdocs.com (which no longer exists???) in May 2018. Twitter is a great place for connecting with other folks in the medical profession, so I thought I’d share it here!


I didn’t know much about MD/PhD programs as an undergraduate. I found some resources online and met with the program director at my school, but I didn’t really have easy access to any current MD/PhD students to go to for advice as I was preparing to apply to medical school. I also didn’t know many pre-meds or join any pre-med clubs. I hadn’t planned on going to medical school until late into undergrad, so I didn’t have a supportive group that would be going through the same grueling process that I was about to undertake. So I went to social media.

The summer I applied to medical school, I made a Twitter account specifically for connecting with the medical community. Twitter was an ideal platform for this purpose because of the short character limits for posts, the ability to make public posts and follow others who do not necessarily have to follow you back, the easy ability to retweet (or share) another account’s post on your own timeline, hashtags to connect posts to those of related content, and handles that allow you to establish your identity while also maintaining anonymity if desired (for example, I started being known as only pre-MD/PhD Life). While other social media sites have incorporated some of these aspects, Twitter remains the best site I’ve found for a robust discussion within a broad community.

I began by finding other pre-med accounts to follow. I did this by searching for those that had “pre-med” in their name or bio and then going through their following list to find others. Soon some started to follow me back. We would comment in response to each other’s posts and encourage each other when things didn’t go as planned. Some of these people I’ve even met in real life. Many of these people have since started med school, finished grad school, and are now in residency, and it’s been an absolute joy to see them progress through their training. I’m glad to learn from this community that has supported me since my early days of pursuing medicine.

Yet, here I am, 5 years in and still in the graduate phase on my MD/PhD program, which is one of the challenging things about this training pathway. As a MD/PhD student, the people who started med school the same time as me could nearly be practicing physicians by the time I step into the clinic as a 3rd year medical student! Therefore, I needed to have a community of physician-scientist trainees who could understand the more unique aspects of our training that those in other tracks could not. There were a few of us who found each other on Twitter, but it was harder to find those who could provide insight from further along the training path in my early days on Twitter. I joined a local MD/PhD trainee community upon beginning my program, but that still didn’t give me a global perspective on what it’s like to be a physician-scientist in training.

There’s an added benefit when trainees from different institutions come together. They can learn about the different ways their programs ultimately train them for a career as a physician-scientist. For example, mine starts in the PhD portion, others start with med school and transition to the PhD two years in, and some have even moved part of the clinical rotations to before the PhD. There may be things that other programs do to help their students develop into physician-scientists that mine doesn’t and vice versa. Such a community can provide support and diverse insights, which can help identify ways by which our training and medicine in general can be improved.

To help facilitate this discussion, the hashtag #DoubleDocs was recently adopted by the physician-scientist trainee community to connect trainees from undergraduate to residency and beyond. It was designed to be inclusive to both MD and DO trainees as well as those who have chosen to pursue a PhD and those who pursue other paths for research training. It does not mean double doctorates, but docs who are doubly in the research and medical worlds. What is special about this hashtag is that it rose organically from the physician-scientist trainee community as a way to stay connected. Unlike other hashtags, it is intended to have a specific focus on the training aspect of physician-scientists.

Taking this a step further, I, along with my colleagues in the American Physician Scientists Association, utilized Twitter’s list feature to make it easier for physician-scientist trainees to find each other. On the APSA twitter account (@A_P_S_A), we now have public lists for students at different stages and pathways of training including pre-med, MD/DO students, MD/DO-PhD students, Residents and Fellows, and established physician-scientists who can be resources for trainees. People can subscribe to these lists to find the Twitter accounts of other #DoubleDocs.

In the span of a few days from the start of this hashtag, I made nearly 100 new connections to trainees across the globe that have a similar career goal and unique training path, which highlights the power of Twitter to bring people together. Social media can get a bad rep, but it can also be quite useful! #DoubleDocs is just one hashtag, but so many others exist that can help people find a community!


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!

Almost Docs: A Day in the Life of a MD-PhD Student

This was originally shared on www.almostdocs.com (which doesn’t exist anymore???) in January 2018. I’m sharing it again here because I want to make sure this information is available for prospective MD/PhD students.


Physician-scientists are medical doctors who contribute significant effort toward scientific research and play an integral role in the advancement of medical knowledge. They provide a unique perspective to the research community through first-hand experience with patients and the problems they face, but they also have the research skills to directly address those problems. Examples include Edward Jenner, a physician who created the smallpox vaccine, and Frederick Banting, who isolated and discovered the therapeutic potential of insulin. Modern physician-scientists continue to carry on the tradition of excellency established by these earlier physician-scientists, though they are becoming a smaller part of the biomedical workforce.

Becoming a physician-scientist is a time-consuming process that requires both medical and research training. Research training can be done at various times such as during fellowship, in a research year during medical school, or by completing a PhD. The latter is frequently offered in a dual-degree program in which research and medical training are integrated over approximately 8 years. This is an ideal route for those people interested in effectively translating basic science findings into the clinic.

Over the past 4 years, I’ve often been asked by undergraduates interested in a career as a physician-scientist to describe my daily life as a dual-degree MD/PhD student. Yet, I have not because my days are so variable that I’ve found it difficult to provide a simple but accurate description. The reason for this is that my school has us begin by working on our PhD and completing the first year of medical school courses decompressed throughout our years in graduate school. Upon completion of our dissertation, we then commit to medical school full-time for the remaining 3 years. Thus, the daily life in different stages of the program can be drastically different and difficult to summarize.

However, in light of the recent threat to graduate student finances via the luckily failed #gradtax, I’ve recognized the need to share my experience not only for the hopeful physician-scientist trainees but also for the public who benefits from the training of future physician-scientists. Maintenance of a highly trained physician-scientist workforce is crucial for our continued progress in improving healthcare in our country.

Cell Culture
Doing cell culture.

My daily life as a MD/PhD student during the graduate school stage can generally be divided into research, coursework, teaching, and participation in extracurricular organizations. Not all of these happen in the same day, but they have often overlapped. For example, there’s been days when I’ve had 4 hours of required medical school activities in the morning and 4 hours of teaching in the afternoon, and I’ve had to stay late to get my work in lab done.

Other days, I’ve taught my undergraduate class about blood cells in the morning only to go to medical school histology lab in the afternoon to be taught about blood cells. I’ve also come home from a 15-hour day in lab to start grading, and I’ve taken committee calls for my extracurricular organizations while working in the lab.

Some weeks I’ve had so many required medical school classes that I haven’t been able to get much done in lab. Other weeks, I’ve been fairly free from required classes and able to work on my own schedule in the lab. Every now and then I’ve taken a rare weekend day to work from home.

Thus, my daily routine not only varies on my stage of but also the semester and sometimes on the week or even on the day.

While much of the overlap in my days is unique for the structure of my program, the actual activities are more generalizable. Medical school activities are much more consistent across programs, with lectures, labs, shadowing/interviewing patients, and studying comprising the majority of the early medical training. Graduate training activities, however, depend on the area of research. As a biologist, my work consists of collecting, processing, and analyzing samples, prepping for experiments, organizing data, reading papers, writing papers/grants, cleaning the lab, and stocking supplies. I also meet with my professor as needed, mentor undergraduates, participate in my lab’s weekly journal club, and attend weekly lab meetings. In the semesters that I’ve taught, I’ve added approximately 20 hours of teaching prep, active classroom time, grading, proctoring, office hours, and TA meetings to my schedule each week. On top of this are extracurricular activities such as serving on committees, attending conference calls, planning events, and writing Almost Docs articles.

A day in the life of a MD/PhD student may be highly variable, but the culmination of these different days is a well-trained physician-scientist. Research, clinical, and teaching skills are all required for a physician-scientist, and additional service such as volunteering or planning scientific events can be preparation for holding leadership positions. A major component of dual-degree training is not only developing these skills but also learning to integrate them. For those of you considering this pathway, what’s most important to know is that they days may be long, but it is worth it.


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!

Life Update – January 2019 (there’s a light at the end of the PhD tunnel)

We’re a month into the new year and approaching 6 years since this blog became the MD/PhD To Be that you know and love.

Every now and then over the years, I’ve made posts that are just random updates of my life throughout my training. Nearly every single one started with an apology for not posting in so long. This time I’m going to try not to apologize, but it still may seem like one. But I see it more as a lesson in prioritization and self-care. It’s me being as transparent as I can about this training process. Mental health is an important part of the training process that is not always openly acknowledged.

See, with regards to my career development, this blog is pretty low on my list of priorities. It makes me feel good about myself to help others out, but it’s not really reflected on my CV. While you need to be more than just your CV, it’s hard to rationalize working on something lower on the priority list when there’s higher priority items to get done! I tend to work slowly but thoroughly, especially when it comes to emails and planning, and the past few years in particular I’ve had a number of leadership positions at the local and national level that have required a lot of emails and decision making that I’ve always been slow to get to but have also felt guilty about not doing so. Thus, the guilt has made it quite difficult to rationalize social media and blogging. For the sake of my mental health, I’ve chosen to procrastinate by working on other higher priority items that make me feel less guilty (like, oh, my PhD research) or sometimes just playing with my (now two) cats. 😸

Anyways, a lot of time has passed since my last update (like a year and half!), and I thought I ought to provide a new one. I was thinking about this last night and realized I should just have a string of guilt-free “Life Update” posts that are more frequent and not random ones with silly titles, so that’s what I’m hoping to do going forward.

For more day-to-day updates, please follow me on Instagram at @MDPhDToBe! I’ve been trying to use that a lot more since it’s somewhat a mini-version of a blog and I’m trying to get better at using that medium. I hop on and off Twitter, but use it more for sharing/discussing papers and other resources, so if you’re interested in that, please follow me there also at @MDPhDToBe!

 

Anyways, for the life updates – there’s some big ones!

First in 2018, I had two of my greatest scientific achievements – my first paper was published and I received my first NIH funding!

This has been a long time coming. I’ve been doing research since 2011 and have been working in labs since 2010. I was close to getting a paper in undergrad, if only the data that my advisor thought would be simple actually were so! Turns out it was a much more complicated synthesis that, unlike the similar molecules that the lab previously synthesized, was particularly unstable. My contribution was basically summed up in a paper as “we tried it but this synthesis didn’t work”. 😭 Then came grad school. I switched labs after 1 year, so that was time working that didn’t contribute to a paper. It then took me 4 years in my current lab to get my first paper from start to finish, but the paper that resulted was only authored by me and my advisor. I’m proud to have finally contributed to the scientific literature!

Similarly, I wrote 3 NIH fellowship applications over the years, but only submitted 2 (if you want to know about the other, check out Why I Switched Labs in Graduate School). The first submitted application wasn’t even discussed by the reviewers meaning it was in the bottom half of the applications. The second got a remarkably good score. I didn’t actually believe it. I told my advisor the score and she ran off screaming in joy down the hallway at lab while I stood dumbfounded, continuing to think I had read it wrong. It took quite a while to sink it, but it did and I was officially received notice of my funding last May.

There’s a lot of delayed gratification in research, so it is important to celebrate your growth along the way. Five years ago, I was just starting to learn how to do animal experiments, which serve the basis of my PhD. Since then, I’ve gotten better at techniques, I presented more at conferences, and I’ve learned more and more. I thought I was hot stuff in the beginning, but now while realizing I’ve learned a lot, I also know how far I have to go. Learning is lifelong after all.

Main take-away: Pay attention to your growth and appreciate it. The little things add up to the big things. Persistence is key.

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 4.05.35 PM
You can read about my paper here: https://mcb.illinois.edu/news/article/503/

 

And now for 2019 – more good to come!

This is going to be a big year. Not only am I planning to defend my PhD this summer, I will also be starting my 2nd year of med school in August! I also have travel planned for some of my favorite scientific meetings and will be beginning my role as the Chair of the American College of Physicians Council of Student Members. Sadly, I will be ending my role as a member of the American Physician Scientists Association leadership. As always, it will be a lot of work, but it will also be worth it and I couldn’t imagine spending my time in any other way.

This year I am going to take the time to express gratitude for my training experience. I am going to make time to read more books that can remind me of how my work connects to a bigger picture. And I am going to make an effort to share what I can of my experience.

I originally became publicly active on social media because I couldn’t find many good resources for those considering the MD/PhD pathway. Now, thanks to the American Physician Scientists Association and #DoubleDocs, there is a large cohort of trainees connected on social media and sharing their experiences. I am proud to have had a hand in helping that happen and I hope you all will enjoy what I have to say.

It is always my goal to share as much of the experience as I can. I have a few more blog posts ideas in mind, but if there’s anything you want me to address specifically, feel free to reach out with the contact form.


Featured image: View from my recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina. You can read about it here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs3f-55gEkS/

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, and follow me on Twitter, @MDPhDToBe, and Instagram, @MDPhDToBe. 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 via the contact form. Thank you for reading!

 

Guest Post: PhD life – chasing the highs

The purpose of this blog is to share personal accounts of MD/PhD training, and I’m excited to expand the perspectives presented here with the first ever guest post! This post is by Alex Yang, who I first connected with via Twitter a few years back (and is a fellow liver lover!)


PhD life – chasing the highs

Alex Yang

Disheveled. Exasperated. Desperate. I had failed to co-immunoprecipitate my two proteins of interest again. I had lost track how many times I’ve tried in the first two years of my PhD. For those of you that aren’t in basic science research, the amount of failure is immense. I would estimate 90% of all experiments are failures. A co-immunoprecipitation involves pulling down with an antibody for one protein and blotting for another protein to suggest a protein-protein interaction. Theoretically if the antibodies are working, the technique shouldn’t be hard. But I couldn’t get it work. And I didn’t think I could ever get it work. I started questioning why I even attempted a PhD and didn’t just be a “normal” doctor like all my other classmates. Before I go on, let’s go back to see how I decided to be a #doubledoc in the first place.

Everything that I’ve accomplished and will accomplish, I owe to my first-generation immigrant parents. My dad is a PhD, professor in Immunology and Microbiology. Smartest person I know to this day. My mom is a MD, family doctor with a very large successful clinic. Hardest working person I know to this day. This naturally made me interested in pursuing a MD/PhD as I am a combination of my parents both biologically and degree-wise. Science was always my favorite subject in school. I remember starting to learn basic lab techniques in middle school and continued in high school. When I found a MD/PhD mentor as an undergraduate that beautifully combined both degrees and encouraged me to do the same, the rest was history. I applied MD/PhD right out of college knowing the long road ahead. First two years of medical school flew by, and now I was in a basic science lab studying genetic mechanisms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Back to the co-immunoprecipitation. Although medical school was challenging it did not prepare me for the failure of graduate school. In medical school, I had passed all my exams by a large margin. Failing was never an option, but it’s almost a daily occurrence in graduate school. As much as I failed the co-immunoprecipitation, I knew I couldn’t give up. Although I had evidence in over-expression models in cell lines, we needed evidence with endogenous proteins in-vivo specifically in a mice model. I was discouraged, but the post-doc that I worked with suggested we need to purify the lipid droplets from the liver in order to concentrate the proteins. That would give us the best chance to successfully immunoprecipitate both proteins. It was an extra step (actually more like 20), but it was a new direction to try.

I knew the chances of success was slim, but that’s what we do as graduate students. We have to learn from our failures. Optimize. Repeat. And finally, we persevere. I grudgingly purified the lipid droplets and added the antibody. The next day I blotted. When I exposed the gel, a single beautiful band appeared showing my band indicating my protein of interest. Who knew one band (no not the Jonas Brothers type of band) could give so much joy? I was ecstatic and relieved. When my principle investigator saw the results, he could only smile. Knowing I just accomplished something that no one in the world has ever done thrilled me. For those undergraduates reading this and still trying to decide if graduate school is right for them, I implore you to re-evaluate your experience in lab. Are the highs of the 10% of success high enough to carry you through the 90% of failures? If not, maybe consider just a MD as a PhD is all about persevering through failure. As for me, I was on cloud nine. The pains of the failures were wiped away by the joy of success. I didn’t choose the PhD life. It had chosen me.


IMG_1397About Alex: I’m a 4th year MD/PhD student at Wayne State University studying genetic mechanisms of fatty liver disease. In my spare time I like to cook, exercise, play video games, and write. Check me out on twitter @MDPhDinProgress.

My MD/PhD Timeline

A few months ago, I wrote an article for Almost Docs on the daily life of a MD/PhD student. To follow up, I wanted to highlight how my daily life can change dramatically depending on the semester and stage of training. I also wanted to show how many things a MD/PhD student may need to balance at the same time! Therefore, here’s an overview of what I have generally had going on each semester thus far in my program (maybe not the most exciting read but more of a reference for those of you out there who are interested.)

MDPhD Timeline

Year 1

Fall 2013

Classes:

  • Advanced biochemistry (MCB501)
  • Advanced molecular genetics (MCB502)
  • M1 Clinical Practice Preceptorship – shadowing a local physician

Research:

Professional Meetings:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat (August 2013), Champaign, IL
  • Minnesota Neuro-Oncology Symposium (September 26-27, 2013), Minneapolis, MN

Spring 2014

Classes:

  • Tumor Targeting Seminar (MCB529)
  • Immunology (MCB408)
  • M1 Immunology
  • M1 Brain, Behavior and Human Development
  • MIP Seminar (MIP595)
  • M1 Clinical Practice Preceptorship – shadowing a local physician

Teaching:

  • Introduction to Microbiology Lab (MCB101) – 10 hours/week Teaching Assistant Position

Research:

  • Trying to get things started in lab…
  • Presented a poster at Research Day

Professional Meetings:

  • College of Medicine Annual Research Day (April 17, 2014), Champaign, IL
  • American Physician Scientists Association Annual Meeting (April 23-25, 2014), Chicago, IL

Summer 2014

Classes:

  • Computational Genomics – 1-week intensive course

Research:

  • Wrote an entire NIH F30 Fellowship Application and didn’t submit! 😳

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Member

Professional Meetings:

  • American College of Physicians Leadership Day (May 18-19, 2014), Washington, DC

Year 2

Fall 2014

Classes:

  • Frontiers in Physiology (MCB509)
  • Research Ethics (MCB580)
  • M1 Physiology I

Teaching:

  • Anatomy & Physiology Lab I (MCB245) – 10 hours/week Teaching Assistant Position

Research:

  • SWITCHED LABS
  • Trying to get things started…again.
  • Started collected data on research project #2.

Professional Meetings:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat (August 23, 2014), Champaign, IL
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Annual Retreat (September 12, 2014), Champaign, IL

Spring 2015

Classes:

  • Metabolic Diseases (MCB493)
  • M1 Physiology II
  • MIP Seminar (MIP590)

Research:

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Member

Professional Meetings:

  • College of Medicine Annual Research Day (April 16, 2015), Champaign, IL
  • American Physician Scientists Association Annual Meeting (April 24-26, 2015), Champaign, IL

Summer 2015

Research:

  • Wrote an entire NIH F30 Fellowship Application and submitted this time! (wasn’t funded)
  • Started working on research project #1 (tech working on project with me left! 😢)

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Member
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Student Committee, Retreat Subcommittee Chair

Professional Meetings:

  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Metabolic Signaling and Disease: From Cell to Organism (August 11-15, 2015), Cold Spring Harbor, NY

Year 3

Fall 2015

Classes:

  • M1 Anatomy
  • M1 Cell and Tissue Biology
  • M1 Embryology
  • MIP Seminar (MIP595)

Research:

  • Trying to keep chugging along on project #1
  • Crazy month of collecting data for RO1 re-submission (80 hours on campus in 5 days during that period – my record!)

Teaching:

  • Anatomy & Physiology Lab I (MCB245) – 20 hours/week Teaching Assistant Position

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Co-Chair
  • Internal Medicine Interest Group M1 Representative
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Student Committee, Retreat Subcommittee Chair
  • American Physician Scientists Association Events Committee Member

Professional Meetings:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat (August 23, 2015), Champaign, IL

Spring 2016

Classes:

  • M1 Anatomy
  • M1 Cell and Tissue Biology II
  • MIP Seminar (MIP595)

Research:

  • Gave my first departmental seminar on project #1!
  • Gave a talk at the UIUC Division of Nutritional Sciences Symposium
  • Gave a talk at the UIUC Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Co-Chair
  • Internal Medicine Interest Group M1 Representative
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Student Committee, Retreat Subcommittee Chair
  • American Physician Scientists Association Events Committee Member

Professional Meetings:

  • College of Medicine Annual Research Day (April 14, 2016), Champaign, IL
  • American Physician Scientists Association Annual Meeting (April 15-17, 2016), Chicago, IL
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Annual Retreat (April 29, 2016), Monticello, IL

Summer 2016

Research:

  • First summer with no NIH F30 Fellowship Application writing 😁
  • Trying to keep chugging along with project #1

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Co-Chair
  • American Physician Scientists Association Events Committee Co-Chair
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Council of Student Members Representative
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Governor’s Advisory Council Member

Professional Meetings:

  • American College of Physicians Leadership Day (May 3-4, 2016), Washington, DC
  • American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting (May 5-7, 2016), Washington, DC
  • American Physician Scientists Association Leadership Retreat (June 16-17, 2016), Atlanta, GA

Year 4

Fall 2016

Classes:

  • M1 Biochemistry
  • M1 Medical Genetics
  • M1 Microbiology
  • M1 Foundations of Clinical Medicine I
  • MIP Seminar (MIP595)

Teaching:

  • Anatomy & Physiology Lab I (MCB245) – 20 hours/week Teaching Assistant Position

Research:

  • Kept chugging along with project #1

Service:

  • Internal Medicine Interest Group Vice President
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Student Committee
  • Medical Scholars Program Advisory Council Class II Representative, Basic Sciences Subcommittee Representative
  • American Physician Scientists Association Events Committee Co-Chair
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Council of Student Members Representative
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Governor’s Advisory Council Member

Professional Meetings:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat (August 20, 2016), Monticello, IL
  • American Physician Scientists Association Midwest Regional Meeting (November 5, 2016), Omaha, NE
  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Liver Meeting (November 11-15, 2016), Boston, MA

Spring 2017

Classes:

  • M1 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology
  • M1 Biochemistry
  • M1 Medical Statistics
  • MIP Seminar (595)
  • Last semester of M1 classes!

Teaching:

  • Graduate Teacher Certificate

Research:

  • Kept chugging along with project #1

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Member
  • Internal Medicine Interest Group Vice President
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Student Committee
  • Medical Scholars Program Advisory Council Class II Representative, Basic Sciences Subcommittee Representative
  • Accreditation Monitoring and Quality Improvement Committee, Medical Students Subcommittee, Urbana Campus Representative
  • American Physician Scientists Association Events Committee Co-Chair
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Council of Student Members Representative
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Governor’s Advisory Council Member
  • American College of Physicians Council of Student Members (National) Representative

Professional Meetings:

  • American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting (March 30-April 1, 2017), San Diego, CA
  • Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research Annual Meeting (April 20-21, 2017), Chicago, IL
  • American Physician Scientists Association Annual Meeting (April 21-23, 2017), Chicago, IL

Summer 2017

Research:

  • Wrote an entire NIH F30 Fellowship Application and submitted it! (It was funded this time!!!)
  • Started writing up paper for project #1

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Member
  • Accreditation Monitoring and Quality Improvement Committee, Medical Students Subcommittee, Urbana Campus Representative
  • American Physician Scientists Association Vice President
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Governor’s Advisory Council Member
  • American College of Physicians Council of Student Members (National) Representative

Professional Meetings:

  • American College of Physicians Leadership Day (May 23-24, 2017)
  • American Physician Scientists Association Leadership Retreat (July 22-23, 2017), Atlanta, GA
  • American College of Physicians Council of Student Members (National) Meeting (August 11, 2018), Philadelphia, PA

Year 5

Fall 2017

Classes:

  • Biostatistics (STAT212)
  • Exercise Oncology (KIN494)
  • The Literature of Fantasy (ENGL119) – This was a class I took for fun comparing Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (my favorite!) and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books.

Research:

  • First paper (project #1) posted on BioRXiv: http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/09/11/182469
  • Submitted paper to journals, worked on final touches
  • Wrote a 100-page preliminary exam document (first draft of my thesis!) and did an oral defense (I passed so now I’m All But Dissertation – ABD!)

Service:

  • Internal Medicine Interest Group President
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Student Committee
  • Medical Scholars Program Advisory Council Class II Representative, Social Chair
  • American Physician Scientists Association Vice President
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Governor’s Advisory Council Member
  • American College of Physicians Council of Student Members (National) Representative

Professional Meetings:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat (August 19, 2017), Monticello, IL
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Students and Residents Day (October 24, 2017), Springfield, IL
  • Hepatobiliary Cancers: Pathobiology and Translational Advances Meeting (December 8-10, 2017), Richmond, VA

Spring 2018

Classes:

  • MIP Seminar (MIP595)

Research:

  • Submitted paper to journal for project #1, got reviews back, working on revisions!!!
  • Helping new graduate student start to take on project #2

Service:

  • Medical Scholars Program Annual Retreat Committee Member
  • Internal Medicine Interest Group President
  • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology Student Committee
  • Medical Scholars Program Advisory Council Class II Representative, Social Chair
  • American Physician Scientists Association Vice President
  • American College of Physicians Downstate Illinois Governor’s Advisory Council Member
  • American College of Physicians Council of Student Members (National) Representative

Professional Meetings:

  • American Physician Scientists Association Midwest Regional Meeting (January 13, 2018), Iowa City, IA
  • Big Ten Lipids Conference (Feburary 16, 2018), West Lafayette, IN
  • Midwest Liver Symposium (April 12-13, 2018), Kansas City, KS
  • American College of Physicians Board of Governors Meeting and Internal Medicine Meeting (April 17-21, 2018), New Orleans, LA
  • American Physician Scientists Association Annual Meeting (April 20-22, 2018), Chicago, IL

 

What’s to come?

As I write this in April of my 5th year, I have about 1 more year to finish up my PhD. Then I’ll go on to start my second year of medical school in August 2019 and will finish my MD in May 2022!