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UCSD Pediatric Physician Scientist Training Program

The Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego has a Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) with goal to promote and encourage scientific investigation during physician training and to provide a pipeline for future fellows and faculty for our department. The program is open to residents with MD/PhD degrees and others with strong research backgrounds who plan to pursue academic careers with a research emphasis.  The goal of the PSTP is for residents to successfully transition into the UCSD pediatric subspecialty fellowship of their choice after successfully completing residency. This allows for continuity of research projects and optimized integration with clinical training to prepare trainees for their future academic faculty positions. 
Our PSTP offers research-enhanced pediatric residency training through the American Board of Pediatrics Integrated Research Pathway and Accelerated Research Pathway. Successful PSTP residents are guaranteed a fellowship position at UCSD in the subspecialty area of their choosing.

Research Opportunities and Engagement

Residents in the Pediatric PSTP have full access to the thriving research community both within UCSD and at other prominent research institutions throughout San Diego. UC San Diego and specifically the Department of Pediatrics have a very strong research portfolio allowing trainees to find mentors and collaborators in every area of medicine and science. Our Pediatric department has been ranked in the top-10 pediatric departments in the country in NIH research funding for the last 5 years. In fact, the Blue Ridge Institute for Research named UCSD #5  in the nation in NIH funding among U.S. Departments of Pediatrics in its 2019 rankings .Residents and fellows training at UCSD can also choose mentors/research programs in any UC San Diego department as well as at collaborating institutions in San Diego including the Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.

UCSD Pediatrics is home to numerous outstanding Pediatrician-Researchers, often developed from within or recruited to the Department. They thrive in an exciting training and collaborative research environment throughout the Department, UCSD Health Sciences (Medical School, Pharmacy School, new School of Public Health) and its hospitals, and aligned basic science and engineering Departments in the broader University. The PSTP takes advantage of the remarkable science and physician scientists at UCSD/RCHSD by incorporating trainees in numerous research related activities. UCSD and our Department of Pediatrics provide a spectacular environment for research, teaching and career advancement in biomedical sciences.

Resident scholars are supported in the Pediatrics Department through formal mentorship schemes, specific educational curricula, and retreats/workshops including:

UCSD/RCHSD Annual Pediatric Research Symposium

  • Showcases outstanding research from across the Department, including faculty, fellows, residents and students. Promotes collaboration and highlights high impact breaking discoveries

  • Research and poster presentations are showcased

UCSD/RCHSD  Pediatric Grand Rounds

  • Features world-class physican-scientists from across the U.S. as part of weekly Grand Rounds

  • Grand Rounds mentorship Breakfast: invited illustrious physician-scientist speakers meet with trainess for informal discussions on research, academic pediatrics, career development, and networking

Annual AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting

  • PSTP residents are invited and supported to attend this Joint Meeting annually.

  • Attendance with Department Chair, Dr. Haddad, and PSTP leadership

  • Networking Luncheons

Support for travel and presentation at national meetings

  • PAS


  • Other subspecialty conferences

Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC)

  • Committee of 3-4 individuals, including research PI, with goal advise the resident on their research project and provide career mentoring and feedback

  • Provide support and guidance to PSTP residents

  • Begins in residency for IRP residents, and during fellowship for ARP residents

Fellow Research Seminar Series

  • PSTP residents are invited to attend this longitudinal series showcasing trainees research and focused on curricula to develop scientific projects

  • IRP pathway resident present current research in 2nd/3rd year

Major Interdisciplinary Research Centers at UCSD Health Sciences fostering cutting edge science and collaboration:

  • UCSD Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute

  • UCSD Institute for Genomic Medicine (IGM)

Programmatic Support and Scheduling

We work with each resident to develop a personalized schedule that works best for them and their goals.  

  • Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP): 2 years of residency followed by a 4-year subspecialty fellowship that includes an extra year for research
  • Integrated Research Pathway (IRP): 3 years of residency including up to 11 months of research integrated into your residency schedule residency followed by a 3-year subspecialty fellowship

This pathway allows for early integration of research during residency. In the Integrated research pathway, intern have rotation time dedicated to exploring possible research labs and mentors. During the second and third years of residency, we offer research blocks that can be personalized to focus on either intermixed research and clinical rotations or a few more extended blocks of research time.  In accordance with the ABP, IRP residents are board-eligible for Pediatrics after the completion of their first year of fellowship. Each IRP residents benefits from a Scholarship Oversight Committee. The committee meets reguarly guide and mentor IRP residents

PSTP Resident/Leadership Dinners and Happy Hours – Residents and leadership come together to share ideas for individual and program development.  The program is committed to continuous improvement and feedback.

PSTP resident socials: suppport for PSTP track residents to gather, socialize and build community.


Mentorship is essential to cultivating a successful academic research career. We are proud of the strong personalized mentorship provided longitudinally to each Physician-Scientist track resident. They are matched with both pediatric physician-scientist mentors and research-specific mentors in their areas of interest. Our PSTP Scientic Advisor, Dr. Brent Polk, meets regularly with residents for advice and to ensure that they are progressing as expected and receiving the support they need to succeed. Support and career development of Physician-Scientists is a vital goal of the Department of Pediatrics.

Fellowship Opportunities

  • The Department of Pediatrics has active fellowships in all areas of pediatrics. Successful Physician-Scientist track residents are anticipated to enter a fellowship at UCSD. Mentoring and career development opportunities within the residents chosen subspecialty division begin during residency. 
  • T32 Training Grants- numerous training grants across UCSD

Transition to Faculty Positions

Junior Faculty Opportunities

The Department of Pediatrics has a strong track record of mentoring our junior pediatric faculty in

the K series and junior faculty have been successful in competing for higher level NIH grants and have transition successfully to independent faculty. The Department has extraordinarily expanded its faculty (double) and research base (triple) in the last 10 year.

Child Health Research Career Development Award (CHRCDA)

  • Robust NIH award within the Department of Pediatrics with goal to Develop Diverse Physician-Investigator Leaders for the Future of Child Health”

provide our young faculty scholars with a period of extended research training by proven, committed mentors in cutting-edge, high-level NIH-funded, basic and basic/translational research laboratories at UCSD Health Sciences

Comprehensive Research Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities (CRCHD)

  • Partnership of UCSD with San Diego State University School of Public Health and the County of San Diego Public Health
  • Recruits, retain, and mentors women and URM faculty

UCSD National Center of Leadership in Academic Medicine (NCLAM)

  • 7-month Health Sciences faculty development program committed to providing Assistant Professors with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to make successful transitions to careers in academic medicine
  • Emphasizes on understanding of the UC San Diego Health Sciences educational mission as well as the research and clinical practice environment.
  • includes faculty development workshops, a junior/senior mentoring relationship based on a key professional development contract, academic strategic career planning, and individual academic performance counseling sessions
Dr. Adriana Tremoulet, MD in Department of Pediatrics serves as an Advisory Board Member