MD-PhD Advising Program
The Johns Hopkins MD-PhD Advising Program seeks to develop a community of physician-scientists in order to nurture and guide future leaders of biomedical research, education, and clinical medicine.
- Excellence in teaching, clinical practice, and scholarly endeavors is critical to the development of future leaders in academic medicine.
- Scholarship- the continual, collaborative pursuit of innovation and enhanced understanding- is at the heart of all health professions and the practice of learning.
- A Community of learners and teachers, together in supportive and nurturing relationships, is critical to the growth of humanistic, patient-centered physicians and researchers.
- Diversity & Inclusiveness strengthen and enrich communities through the realization that every member should be welcomed and valued for their unique abilities, perspectives, and contributions.
- Personal & Professional Development is essential for the maturation of students and faculty alike across the continuum of learning.
- Well-Being for students and faculty, teachers and learners, is vital in order to best advocate for the well-being of our patients.
Each year we will recruit 20-30 faculty members who have developed successful careers as physician-scientists. Faculty will be sought from diverse departments within the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health. We plan to recruit an equal number of fellows and residents who have completed MD-PhD training to serve as co-advisors. Students who elect to participate will be assigned to groups of 4-6 MD-PhD students, 1 faculty advisor, and 1 fellow. Within each group, we will designate one senior MD-PhD trainee to serve as a student leader, who will be tasked with ensuring that the advising needs of all students in the group are being met.
The Advising Program Will:
- Provide advising support to MD-PhD students for the duration of their clinical and research training with a particular emphasis on transitions and preparing for successful careers as physician-scientists
- Each advising group will meet throughout the year at the discretion of its members.
- Students will meet individually with their advisors at least once a year, and also at critical transition periods during their training.
- Host two events each year for all students: a reception in the fall to welcome new MD-PhD students into our learning community, and a spring event that will feature discussion with a prominent physician scientist.
- Promote relationships and develop a shared community among students across all years of our training program.
Nita Ahuja, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Oncology. She attended medical school at Duke and completed her surgical residency at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Ahuja joined the faculty in the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins in 2003. Her surgical specialization is in gastrointestinal cancers, including gastric, colorectal, pancreatic cancers and sarcomas. Dr. Ahuja also directs an active cancer research laboratory studying molecular markers important in early diagnosis and prognosis of gastrointestinal cancers.
Mary Armanios, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Oncology. She attended medical school and completed her Internal Medicine & Pediatrics residency at Ohio State before coming to Johns Hopkins in 2001 for fellowship training in Oncology. Dr. Armanios’ clinical and research interests focus on disorders caused by telomere dysfunction. The goal of her lab is to understand the genetics and biology of telomere-mediated disease with the goal of advancing treatment paradigms for affected patients.
Jay Baraban, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. He received his MD-PhD from Yale and completed a psychiatry residency at Columbia before coming to Johns Hopkins in 1984 for a research fellowship. Dr. Baraban is interested in understanding molecular mechanisms of neuronal plasticity induced by environmental stimuli, including drugs, as they apply to neuropsychiatric disease. Additionally, his research focuses on the role of microRNA pathways in synaptic signaling and plasticity.
Hans Bjornsson, M.D., Ph.D. completed medical school at the University of Iceland before coming to Johns Hopkins where he received his PhD and recently completed a combined Pediatrics & Medical Genetics residency program. Dr. Bjornsson’s research focuses on exploring the epigenomic impact of various Mendelian disorders of the epigenetic machinery. He is also interested in epigenetic based therapeutic development with focus on developing therapies for Mendelian disorders of the histone machinery and imprinting disorders.
Joel Blankson, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. He completed medical school at Cornell and received his PhD from Rockefeller University before coming to Johns Hopkins in 1995 for residency and fellowship training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Blankson’s research is focused on the pathogenesis of HIV infection, HIV latency, viral reservoirs, and long-term control of HIV infection.
Kathy Burns, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Oncology. Dr. Burns completed her MD-PhD training at Baylor College of Medicine before coming to Johns Hopkins in 2004 for residency and fellowship programs in Pathology. Her research interests include mapping mobile DNA in the human genome, finding evidence of mobile DNA activity in cancer, and understanding how mobile DNA insertions may contribute to cancer susceptibility or tumor progression.
Andrew Cameron, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Johns Hopkins. He is an alumnus of the MD-PhD program at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Cameron trained at Massachusetts General for a surgical residency and at UCLA for a fellowship in transplant surgery. He returned to Johns Hopkins as a faculty member in the Department of Surgery in 2006. His clinical interests include end stage liver disease and hepatocellular cancer and his laboratory studies stem cell mobilization and liver regeneration.
William Checkley, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care and has a joint appointment in Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He attended medical school at Northwestern University and received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his internal medicine residency training at Emory University and fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Checkley’s research interests include the epidemiology of obstructive lung diseases, lung function and physiology, and clinical trials and observational studies in critical care.
David Dowdy, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He received his MD-PhD from Johns Hopkins before completing his residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSF. Dr. Dowdy maintains a practice in general internal medicine and his research interests include Tuberculosis and HIV diagnostics, health economics, quality of life of ICU survivors, and clinical epidemiology.
Amy Duffield, M.D.,Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Johns Hopkins specializing in Hematopathology. Dr. Duffield completed her MD-PhD at Yale before coming to Hopkins for pathology residency and fellowship. Clinically she focuses on diagnosing hematopoietic neoplasms, while her research involves the study of novel protein-protein interactions. She is currently identifying and investigating the functional significance of proteins that interact with receptor tyrosine kinase FMS-Like Tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) in hematopoietic and leukemic cells.
Leisha Emens, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her MD-PhD from Baylor College of Medicine and completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas at Southwestern before coming to Johns Hopkins in 1998 for a fellowship in Medical Oncology and Hematology. Dr. Emens’ research focuses on the development and implementation of breast and ovarian cancer immunotherapies (including vaccination strategies and immune checkpoint blockade) in combination with traditional anticancer therapies and newer biologically targeted therapies.
Luis Garza, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology. He received his MD-PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his residency training in Dermatology at the University of Michigan. He returned to the University of Pennsylvania for a post-doctoral lab based fellowship before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2009. Dr. Garza’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that maintain the diverse types of skin present in adulthood. For example, can skin identity be changed? Similarly, his lab focuses on the mechanisms which control regeneration versus scarring after wounding. The results of this work will be a better understanding of how to promote organogenesis in adults.
Marlis Gonzalez-Fernandez, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins. She attended medical school at the University of Puerto Rico and completed her Physiatry residency training at Sinai Hospital in association with the University of Maryland before earning her PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Gonzalez-Fernandez’s research interests include the epidemiology of swallowing disorders after stroke and neural control of swallowing function. Her clinical practice concentrates on neurorehabilitation, spinal cord injury, and amputee rehabilitation.
Marc Halushka, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Pathology and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Perdana University in Malaysia. He received his MD-PhD from Case Western and completed his residency training in Pathology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Halushka is a practicing cardiovascular and autopsy pathologist. His research interests include microRNA expression, endothelial cell biology, sudden cardiac death, and cardiac transplantation. His laboratory is currently working to identify biomarkers of sudden cardiac death and expression patterns of microRNAs in tissues and cells.
Maureen R. Horton, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary Division at Johns Hopkins. She is an alumna of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Horton completed her residency training at Hopkins in internal medicine, and continued as a fellow in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. Her research interests include the pathogenesis of autoimmune lung disease and interstitial lung disease.
Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor of Pathology, Oncology and Surgery at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Iacobuzio-Donahue received her MD-PhD from Boston University School of Medicine. She came to Hopkins as a resident in Anatomic Pathology, and continued here for her clinical fellowship in Gastrointestinal Pathology and a postdoc in Oncology. Her laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular biology and genetic events that promote gastrointestinal malignancies, and specifically metastatic dissemination.
Tom Lloyd, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Lloyd received his MD-PhD from Baylor College of Medicine. He came to Johns Hopkins Hospital for residency training in Neurology, after which he completed a fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine. Dr. Lloyd specializes in neuromuscular disorders in adults, with a particular interest in neurogenetics and motor neuron diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), motor neuropathies, and muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy.
Bill Matsui, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Matsui attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle and fellowship training in medical oncology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Matsui’s current research is focused on normal and cancer stem cell biology. Clinically, Dr. Matsui specializes in caring for adults with hematologic malignancies and in bone marrow transplantation. In addition to his work on stem cell biology, his lab also focuses on translational research and the development of novel therapies that target cancer stem cells in hematologic malignancies.
Sara Pai, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology at Johns Hopkins. She is an alumna of our MD-PhD program at Hopkins. Dr. Pai remained at Hopkins for residency training in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and stayed on as a faculty member. She has clinical and research interests in human papilloma virus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancers. Her laboratory focuses on developing cancer vaccines for HPV-associated maligancies as well as studies the tumor microenvironment of these virus-related cancers.
Ben Ho Park, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Oncology in the Breast Cancer Research Program at Johns Hopkins University’s Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. He earned his MD-PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Combined Degree Program and continued his clinical training at Penn, completing an internal medicine residency and Hematology/Oncology fellowship. Dr. Park’s research interests include identifying the genetic mediators of breast carcinogenesis and drug resistance. He continues to serve as an attending physician in the solid tumor oncology service and has a strong interest in house staff and medical/graduate student education.
Zeshaan Rasheed, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins. He earned his MD and PhD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Rasheed completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine before coming to Hopkins as an oncology fellow. His research interests focus on the clinical relevance of cancer stem cells in pancreatic cancer.
Jeffrey Rothstein, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor of Neurology and John W. Griffin Director of the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins as well as the Director of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Rothstein received his MD-PhD from the University of Illinois. He trained as a intern at the University of North Carolina before coming to Johns Hopkins for his neurology residency, followed by a fellowship in neuromuscular disease. Now a Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Rothstein focuses on the translation of basic neuroscience to clinical neuroscience, focusing his clinical efforts on neuromuscular diseases, in particular, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His research team has evolved from studying fundamental neuron-glial biology, identifying relevant defects in neurodegeneration, and using this knowledge to develop new effective clinical therapeutics.
Cynthia Sears, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease at Johns Hopkins. She trained as a resident in internal medicine and as a clinical fellow in infectious disease at Cornell Medical Center/Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute and the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Her laboratory research focuses on the pathogenesis of enteric infections, specifically those caused by enterotoxigenic bacteria, using both in vitro and murine models of disease. Presently she focuses on how colonic bacteria contribute to the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. She has translated her work clinically at Johns Hopkins and is presently initiating new international sites for human disease studies.
Tom Sedlak, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Sedlak is a graduate of the Washington University Medical Scientist Training Program and completed his residency and fellowship in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. His laboratory studies brain metabolic and antioxidant pathways relevant to normal brain biology and neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Theresa Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D. is the Wellcome Professor and Director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and a Professor of Medicine and of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences. She is an alumna of the MD-PhD program at Johns Hopkins. The central theme of her laboratory is antiparasitic chemotherapy. On a molecular basis, her group is interested in understanding the mechanism of action for existing antiparasitic agents, and in identifying vulnerable metabolic targets to develop novel antiparasitic chemotherapies. Her work has been translated into clinical trials that study the efficacy, pharmacokinetics, metabolism, and safety, of experimental antiparasitic drugs in humans.
Connie Trimble, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Gynecology/Obstetrics, Oncology, and Pathology. She is the director of Center for Cervical Dysplasia, whose mission is to develop immune therapies, including vaccines, to treat HPV disease of the lower genital tract. Her research aims are to develop and evaluate interventions to prevent cancers associated with persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). The focus of her laboratory is threefold: we study mechanisms governing recruitment, function, and homeostasis of tissue-resident T cells in the human lower genital tract; epigenetic regulation of the HPV tumor microenviroment; and clinical translation of immune therapies for HPV disease.
Sarah Wheelan, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Oncology, Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, and the co-director of the Next Generation Sequencing Center (NGSC) at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Wheelan is an alumna of the MD-PhD program at Hopkins. Dr. Wheelan’s research focuses on creating new techniques for mathematical analysis and biological interpretation of high-throughput sequencing data and other high-dimensional biological datasets. Her group has been involved in projects ranging from analyses of cancer genomes to in-depth analysis of the dog transcriptome, to mapping transposon insertions using sequencing methods in several organisms.
Elias Zambidis, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Oncology and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He trained as a resident in pediatrics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital before coming to Hopkins as a clinical fellow in pediatric hematology and oncology. In addition to taking care of patients, Dr. Zambidis’ laboratory studies the formation of pluripotent stem cells with a focus on the potential therapeutic use these cells. Projects include studying the developmental biology of hematopoiesis as well as improving the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells to various cell lineages.