Scholars and Graduates

Current Scholars

  • Alison Affinati, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes
  • Douglas Atchison, MD, PhD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Nephrology
  • Anna Barker, MD, PhD - HO 1, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
  • Kale Bongers, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
  • Eileen Carpenter, MD - Fellow, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Laura Felley, MD, PhD - HO 2, Division of Infectious Diseases
  • Morgan Jones, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology
  • Erin Kropp, MD, PhD - HO 2, Division of Hematology/Oncology
  • Jamie Mills, MD, PhD - HO1, Division of Hematology/Oncology
  • Rachel Reinert, MD, PhD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes
  • Abhishek Satishchandran, MD, PhD - HO 2, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 
  • Andrea Thompson, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Frank Weinberg, MD, PhD - Fellow, Division of Hematology/Oncology
  • Winnie Zou, MD, PhD - HO1, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 

Bios from Current Scholars

Douglas Atchison, MD, PhD received his BS in Human Biology from Michigan State University in 2005. He graduated from Wayne State University with his MD and PhD in Physiology in 2014. Afterward, Dr. Atchison joined the PSTP program at the University of Michigan. He is currently a fellow in the Division of Nephrology. Dr. Atchison's research interests include glomerular disease and hypertension. View list of publications.

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.

Cameron McDonald-Hyman, MD, PhD completed his MD and PhD training as part of the University of Minnesota Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), receiving is PhD in Immunology in 2016 and his MD in 2018. His PhD research focused on regulatory T-cell metabolism and the development of regulatory T-cell immunotherapies for inflammatory disorders. Dr. McDonald-Hyman was awarded an NRSA F30 training grant through the NHLBI for his research. As a medical student, he was selected to be a Junior AOA and elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Dr. McDonald-Hyman plans to pursue a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology. View list of publications

Rachel Reinert, MD, PhD attended the University of Southern Indiana for her undergraduate studies in Biophysics and Spanish. There, she became interested in biomedical research while studying mechanisms of protein synthesis and amino acid metabolism in the laboratory of Tracy Anthony, PhD, at the Indiana University School of Medicine campus in Evansville. She then completed her MD/PhD training through the Medical Scientist Training Program at Vanderbilt University. During graduate school, she worked with Al Powers, MD, investigating the developmental relationship between pancreatic islet endocrine cells, endothelial cells, and neurons, and how alterations in this relationship affect islet function. She joined the Physician Scientist Training Program in 2014, and is currently a third-year fellow in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes (MEND). She is working in the laboratory of Ling Qi, PhD, investigating the role of endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) in prohormone maturation and pancreatic islet function, and is also collaborating with Elif Oral, MD, investigating molecular mechanisms of lipodystrophy phenotypes. View list of publications.

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.

Our Graduates

Now that our program is over 10 years old, we are excited to report that we have graduated approximately 20 Physician Scientist Training Program scholars, and of these alumni, eight individuals have successfully competed for career development awards (i.e. NIH K08 grants or equivalents). In addition, another five 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.      

  • Jeffrey Beamish, MD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Nephrology
  • Graham Brady, MD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 
  • Eric Buras, MD, PhD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes
  • Frank Cackowski, MD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Hematology/Oncology
  • Phillip Palmbos, MD - Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
  • Daniel Schneider, MD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
  • Benjamin Singer, MD, PhD - Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
  • Joanna Spencer-Segal, MD, PhD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes
  • Jason Watts, MD, PhD - Clinical Lecturer, Division of Nephrology
  • Robert Woods, MD - Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases

Bios from Our Graduates

Eric Buras, MD, PhD graduated from the University of Michigan in 2002 with a degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology. After staying at Michigan to work as a lab technician, he moved to Houston and completed MD and PhD training at Baylor College of Medicine, graduating in 2013. At Baylor, Dr. Buras worked in the lab of Dr. Larry Chan studying autoimmune diabetes and obesity-associated adipose tissue inflammation. Dr. Buras joined the PTSP program at the University of Michigan and completed his internal medicine residency and clinical endocrinology fellowship before joining the lab of Dr. Tae-Hwa Chun. Dr. Buras and Dr. Chun now study the impact of obesity on the anatomy and physiology of skeletal muscle, with specific emphasis on responses of muscle stromal cell populations to nutritional stimuli. Clinically, Dr. Buras is interested in complications of obesity, including obesity hypoventilation syndrome. View list of publications

Benjamin Singer, MD, PhD is a University of Michigan "lifer," (BS 2002, MD/Phd 2010) and completed his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in 2016. He was then promoted to Assistant Professor in 2017. His research is supported by the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke, and is focused on using animal models and human neuropathology to understand mechanisms of reversible brain injury in survivors of critical illness, especially sepsis. Dr. Singer specializes in the care of patients requiring chronic mechanical ventilation in the Assisted Ventilation Clinic. View list of publications

Joanna Spencer-Segal, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine in the division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes (MEND), and a Research Assistant Professor in the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan. She is a physician-scientist who conducts translational research on neuropsychiatric dysfunction in critical illness survivors. Dr. Spencer-Segal also cares for patients in MEND, with a special interest in disorders of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. View list of publications

Jason Watts, MD, PhD completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. He went on to complete his residency in Internal Medicine at Duke and currently a fellow in the U-M Division of Nephrology studying transcription regulation, in particular, the control of RNA polymerase pausing. View list of publications.