The Department of Internal Medicine is highly committed to the development of academic physicians and physician scientists. As an integral component of this commitment, the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) was created in 2005 with the goal of developing the next generation of University of Michigan academic researchers.
"In 2021, the Department of Internal Medicine competed for and obtained $216 million in research support and published more than 2,300 research publications."
- Thomas Sisson, MD - Director
A Message From Our Director
Thank you for your interest in the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP). We provide our scholars with individualized and comprehensive support and mentorship through every step of their development. They are able to select from a wide variety of research opportunities under the guidance of highly accomplished scientists. Finally, we provide the support necessary for the successful transition of each trainee into an independent research career. In this regard, we make certain that there is support for research training during fellowship, and we also provide incentives that include a minimum of $75,000 of start-up funds and $60,000 in faculty salary bonuses.
Now that our program is over 15 years old, we are excited to report that we have graduated approximately 24 Physician Scientist Program scholars, and of these alumni, 13 individuals have successfully competed for career development awards (i.e. NIH K08 grants or equivalents). In addition, another seven program graduates are in the process of submitting or have submitted career development grants. Of the remaining alumni who decided not to compete for grant support, two-thirds remain in academic positions. Importantly, most of our successful physician scientists remain at the University of Michigan and comprise a rich community that provides peer mentoring to the next cohort of trainees through monthly meetings.
Ultimately, we are very excited about the momentum of our program, and we look forward to recruiting the next group of trainees to join our family.
Thomas Sisson, MD
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Director, Physician Scientist Training Program
Training and Environment
Clinical and Research Training
The Department of Internal Medicine is committed to the policies and procedures of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Research Pathway, assuring that individuals will be eligible for board certification in Internal Medicine and in a subspecialty during the training program.
For the PGY-1 and PGY-2 years, individuals participate fully in the categorical internal medicine program. Because of the shortened period of time spent in the core program, rotation scheduling will be individualized to assure appropriate training before entering the fellowship program.
Close integration is maintained with the University of Michigan Medical School’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).
The duration of the program will be 6-7 years, depending on the individual’s choice of subspecialty training program. Individuals are eligible for Internal Medicine Board Certification in August of the PGY-4 year, and for Subspecialty Board Certification in November of the PGY-6 or PGY-7 year.
During the final year of the program, faculty appointment as an Instructor is anticipated, based on satisfactory clinical and research progress.
Significant financial support is available for research endeavors and faculty development, based on each individual’s needs and goals.
Individuals enrolled in the program participate in career development seminars during their training, including interaction with MSTP students.
The Department of Internal Medicine provides a vibrant, interactive environment for basic, clinical, and translational research. Michigan Medicine typically ranks in the top 10 for Internal Medicine and in the top 20 for Research and Primary Care per U.S. News & World Report academic rankings.
The Department of Internal Medicine has recruited many physician scientists to join our faculty. Several innovative centers and organized research programs provide an innovative approach to interdisciplinary research.
Current Scholars and Bios
- Alison Affinati, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes
- Reese Aitken, MD, PhD - HO1, Division of Hematology and Oncology
- Anna Barker, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
- Kale Bongers, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
- Marc Cantwell, MD, PhD - HO2, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
- Laura Felley, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Infectious Diseases
- Steven Grzegorski, MD, PhD – HO 1, Division of Hematology and Oncology
- Erin Kropp, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Hematology and Oncology
- Rasimcan Meral, MD – HO 1, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes
- Jamie Mills, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology
- Andrew Morton, MD – HO 1, Division of Hematology and Oncology
- Jesse Resnick, MD, PhD – HO2, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
- Trey Rottgen, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
- Abhishek Satishchandran, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
- Ronald Siebenaler, MD, PhD – HO 1, Division of Hematology and Oncology
- Keith Saum, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Nephrology
- Colin Stomberski, MD, PhD - HO12, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
- Andrea Thompson, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
- Katherine Wolf, MD, PhD – HO2, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes
- Winnie Zou, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Bios from Current Scholars
Alison Affinati, MD, PhD graduated from University of Chicago in 2007 with a BS in Biological Chemistry and attended the MSTP program at Northwestern. During her PhD training she worked with Dr. Joe Bass investigating the role of circadian regulation of the nutrient NAD+ in glucose and lipid metabolism. Dr. Affinati joined the PSTP in 2015 at University of Michigan and completed her internal medicine and endocrinology fellowship training. She completed her post-doctoral work with Dr. Martin Myers studying how the brain controls glucose metabolism. She was promoted to Assistant Professor in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes (MEND) in 2022. Her research program focuses on understanding the mechanisms through which the hypothalamus regulates glucose homeostasis. She also sees patients in MEND with a focus on diabetes, obesity, and transgender care.
Anna Barker, MD, PhD attended Cornell University for her undergraduate studies, majoring in Chemistry and Biology. After graduation, she worked at Cornell's Medical School in Doha, Qatar, prior to joining the MD/PhD program at the University of Wisconsin. During her PhD work in Epidemiology, she used agent-based modeling to study hospital transmission of C. difficile, under the mentorship of Drs. Nasia Safdar and Oguzhan Alagouz. She joined the University of Michigan PSTP in 2019. She is currently a second-year fellow in the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, working with Dr. Mike Sjoding to investigate questions in critical care medicine using electronic health record data.
Kale Bongers, MD, PhD attended Dartmouth College for his undergraduate studies, majoring in Biology and History and graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He subsequently earned his MA in History of Medicine from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, studying the response of general practitioners to the nationalization of the Canadian health care system. Following this, he completed his MD/PhD training through the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Iowa, where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha. During his graduate work, he studied the molecular mechanisms of skeletal muscle atrophy under the mentorship of Christopher Adams, MD, PhD. He joined the PSTP in 2016, and is currently a third-year fellow in the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. He is working in the laboratory of Bob Dickson, MD, investigating the role of the microbiome in regulating metabolism and multi-organ failure during critical illness. View list of publications.
Laura Felley is an infectious disease fellow starting her fifth year in the PSTP. She got her MD/PhD at the University of Wisconsin, where she spent her graduate school years studying the interaction of invariant natural killer T cells and monocytes and assessing the cellular mechanisms of the inflammatory response that results. She has long been interested in the history of infections and epidemics and knew from the start of medical school that she wanted to be an infectious disease specialist. She has now completed her internal medicine residency and the majority of her infectious disease clinical training at the University of Michigan. She works in Adam Lauring's lab as the resident immunologist, where she studies cellular correlates of influenza immunity in a highly vaccinated cohort.
Steven Grzegorski, MD, PhD studied Biology at Kalamazoo College. He then spent two years working with Dr. Alon Kahana at the University of Michigan studying the basic biology of extraocular muscle regeneration. He entered the MSTP at the University of Michigan and completed his doctoral training in the lab of Dr. Jordan Shavit as part of the Cellular & Molecular Biology. His thesis work involved using the zebrafish model system to interrogate novel genetic factors and multigenic influences of arterial and venous thrombosis. Dr. Grzegorski joined the PSTP at the University of Michigan in 2022 with plans to complete a fellowship in hematology/oncology. His continued interests in benign hematology include hemostasis, vascular biology and hematopoiesis.
Erin Kropp, MD, PhD studied Biochemistry at the University of Michigan. She then completed a post-baccalaureate intramural training fellowship at the National Institutes of Life and spent a year performing research in the lab of Dr. BJ Fowlkes studying T cell receptor signaling in thymocytes. Dr. Kropp trained in the MSTP at the Medical College of Wisconsin and completed her PhD training in the laboratory of Dr. Rebekah Gundry in the Department of Biochemistry. Her thesis work focused on the elimination of tumorigenic human pluripotent stem cells from cardiomyocyte differentiation cultures by targeting an NAD synthesis pathway mediated by nicotinamide phosphoribosyl transferase. These studies contributed to development of methods to selectively and efficiently remove tumorigenic cells, which can be applied to differentiation cultures destined for in vivo use. Dr. Kropp then joined the PSTP at the University of Michigan with plans to pursue a fellowship in hematology oncology and is interested in studying malignant stem cell populations. View list of publications.
Rasimcan Meral, MD, PhD candidate earned his MD at Istanbul Faculty of Medicine in 2016 and joined the team of Elif Oral, MD as a postdoctoral research fellow and focused on the challenges associated with studying rare partial lipodystrophy syndromes. He worked on developing new diagnostic tools using Dual-Emission X-ray Absorptiometry in combination with machine learning. In Jose Jalife, MD PhD's lab, he worked on the characterization of LMNA associated cardiomyopathies using induced pluripotent stem cells. He is currently pursuing his PhD in the medical biology department at Istanbul University and joined the PSTP at University of Michigan in 2022.
Jamie Mills, MD, PhD is originally from the Bay Area (Concord, CA) and received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from California State University, Chico. She then matriculated to the MSTP at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. There, she completed her PhD work with Dr. Stephen Ethier on the 8p11-p12 amplicon in breast cancer, demonstrating that amplification and overexpression of genes from this amplicon cooperate to promote overexpression and constitutive activation of the estrogen receptor. This discovery led to her description of a novel mechanism of endocrine therapy resistance in breast cancers. Following completion of her MD, she underwent residency training in Internal Medicine at University of Michigan and is now a Fellow in the Division of Hematology and Oncology in the PSTP at University of Michigan. She has joined the lab of Fil Bednar, MD, PhD, with additional mentorship under the guidance of Dr. Marina Pasca di Magliano to study epigenetics in pancreatic cancer. She plans to pursue a career in GI oncology with focus in pancreaticobiliary tumors and research in epigenetics. View list of publications.
Andrew Morton, MD, PhD attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate studies in biochemistry and molecular biology. Next, he attended the Case Western Reserve University Medical Scientist Training Program. At CWRU, he was mentored during his PhD by Drs. Peter Scacheri and Jeremy Rich, and his dissertation work focused on transcription regulation in cancer. He found that the non-coding genome shapes extrachromosomal amplifications and their three-dimensional topology to maintain oncogene expression via enhancer elements. He plans to do a fellowship in hematology/oncology.
Jesse Resnick, MD, PhD attended Westminster College in Salt Lake City where he completed a BS in Chemistry with minors in Biology and Physics. He then performed 2 years of pos-baccalaureate research at Los Alamos National Laboratory under the mentorship of Michelle Espy, developing instruments to apply ultra-low field magnetic resonance techniques to functional brain imaging and real-time plant fluid balance monitoring. He joined the Medical Scientist Training program at University of Washington in 2012 where he completed his MD and PhD, through the Neuroscience Graduate Program. His graduate work (under the mentorship of Jay T Rubinstein Md, PhD) leveraged biophysical, computational models of the cochlear implant-brain interface and implantee psychophysics to better understand the fundamental limitations in cochlear implant encoding of fine temporal information. He joined the University of Michigan’s Physician Scientist Training Program in 2012 with an intention to pursue fellowship training in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. His research interest is in developing deeper understanding of pathophysiology through biophysical modeling of biological systems and data science techniques applied to clinical data and imaging.
Keith Saum, MD, PhD attended Wright State University for his undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering and chemistry. He completed his MD/PhD training at the University of Cincinnati in 2020 as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. He received his PhD in biomedical engineering under the joint mentorship of Dr. Prabir Roy-Chaudhury and Dr. Phillip Owens. His thesis work focused on the role of endothelial KLF2 in uremic vascular biology and the development of an endovascular stent-graft to improve arteriovenous fistula (AVF) maturation. Dr. Saum then joined the PSTP at the University of Michigan with plans to pursue a fellowship in Nephrology. His research interests include dialysis vascular access and pathogenesis of accelerated cardiovascular disease in chronic kidney disease. View list of publications.
Ronald F. Siebenaler, MD, PhD attended The Ohio State University for his undergraduate studies in Biomedical Science. He completed his MD/PhD training at the University of Michigan in 2022 as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. He received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology working with Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD. His dissertation focused on characterizing a novel EGFR-AGO2-RAS signaling axis in mutant RAS driven cancers, and his work demonstrated an essential role for Argonaute 2 (AGO2) in the early stages of mutant KRAS driven pancreatic cancer development. Dr. Siebenaler then joined the PSTP at the University of Michigan in 2022 with plans to pursue a fellowship in hematology oncology, and he is interested in studying tumor immunology and cancer genetics.
Colin Stomberski, MD, PhD attended Washington University in St. Louis for his undergraduate studies in biology and biochemistry. He completed his MD/PhD training at Case Western Reserve University in 2021 as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. He received his PhD in biochemistry under the mentorship of Dr. Jonathan Stamler. His thesis work focused on how S-nitrosylation controls cholesterol homeostasis through PCSK9, with implications for future prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. He developed a first-in-class small molecule inhibitor of PCSK9 to lower cholesterol. Dr. Stomberski then joined the PSTP at the University of Michigan with plans to pursue a fellowship in cardiology. His research interest includes defining novel pathophysiology in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction with the goal of developing new heart failure therapies.
Andrea Thompson, MD, PhD attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology. She completed her MD/PhD training at the University of Michigan in 2014 as part of their Medical Scientist Training Program. She received her PhD in Chemical Biology working with Jason E. Gestwicki, PhD. Her work focused on high throughput drug screening and the role of molecular chaperones, specifically heat shock protein 70, within Alzheimer’s disease. She joined the Physician Scientist Training Program in 2014, and is currently a fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. She is working with co-mentors David Ginsburg (University of Michigan) and Sharlene Day (University of Pennsylvania). Her work aims to leverage emerging chemical biology and genetic tools to understand disease modifying mechanism within genetic cardiomyopathies. View list of publications.
Winnie Zou, MD/PhD completed her MD and PhD training as part of the Baylor College of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). For her PhD, she was part of the Mary Estes Lab and studied intestinal stem cell responses within the small bowel following infectious injury. She has completed her internal medicine residency at Michigan Medicine and is now a fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. She plans to further specialize in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Application and Match
Application to the Program
Candidates for the Physician Scientist Program are those who are completing their medical school experiences with an MD and an additional advanced degree (such as PhD, MPH, MS). Applicants with significant research experience, but who have not received an advanced degree, should contact the Director of the Internal Medicine Fellowship and Physician Scientist Programs (below) for more information.
Interested applicants must apply to the University of Michigan Internal Medicine Residency Program through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), using the program number for the Categorical Internal Medicine Residency Program. Applicants are encouraged to submit application materials and letters of reference early in the application process. The Residency Program cannot provide potential applicants with information regarding their competitiveness for the program prior to review via ERAS.
After the ERAS application has been reviewed, the Residency Program will contact qualified individuals. Selected applicants will be contacted to schedule interviews, along with a request for supplemental information.
Dedicated interview dates have been reserved for physician scientist applicants as well as extra interview days that occur in conjunction with the Internal Medicine interview dates. The extended interview process enables the applicants to closely interact with program leaders, subspecialty fellowship directors and division chiefs, current physician scientist trainees and medicine residents. Additionally, the interviews will include the opportunity to interact with several potential research mentors.
After the interview process, the Residency Program will maintain communication with each applicant to provide additional information and to answer questions.
The Internal Medicine Residency Program strongly supports the match and offers positions to physician scientist applicants only through the match. Applicants should apply using the NRMP match number 1293140C1. Please note that this is a separate match from the categorical program, and you should apply to both match numbers if you want to be considered for both.
Acceptance into the Residency Program assures physician scientist applicants of a position in the selected fellowship program(s) for the PGY-3 year.
Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Thomas H. Sisson, MD, Director, Physician Scientist Training Program and Associate Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program, for additional information.