Physician Scientist Training Program

Johns Hopkins University has an international reputation for its commitment to biomedical research, and is dedicated to training the future leaders that will continue this tradition. The Johns Hopkins Pediatric Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) aims to recruit highly qualified candidates who intend to pursue a career as an academic physician scientist. Recognizing that residency and fellowship training are a crucial period between medical school and the early career development of an independent physician scientist, this program is designed to provide the necessary tools to facilitate this transition.

The Harriet Lane Residency Program enthusiastically supports the dual training of physician scientists, and created the Pediatric PSTP to allow residents to focus on sustaining research knowledge and productivity without sacrificing superb clinical pediatric training.  The Pediatric PSTP offers several flexible options to allow each physician scientist to customize residency training to best support the individual’s long terms goals.

Pediatric PSTP Pathways

Accelerated Research Pathway

The Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP) is designed to accommodate candidates who are committed to an academic career as physician scientists with a strong research emphasis in a pediatric subspecialty. Candidates entering the ARP may begin subspecialty training after completion of two years of general comprehensive pediatric training. A structured curriculum and close observation of the progress of the trainee during the core general pediatrics training is overseen by the program director. The second year of training is adapted in such a way that specific curricular requirements in general pediatrics are met. Subsequent to two years of general pediatric training, the length of subspecialty fellowship will be a minimum of four years. Although it may be advantageous for both general pediatrics and subspecialty training to occur in the same institution, this is not a requirement of the pathway.

The Accelerated Research Pathway in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins does have a separate NRMP/ERAS match, although we encourage applicants to apply to both the ARP and the Categorical Pediatric Residency Program.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Candidates must be committed to an academic career with a strong research emphasis in a pediatric subspecialty. 
  2. Candidates will have completed a Ph.D. in addition to the M.D. by the start of the residency or have equivalent prior research experience.
  3. Whether a trainee may remain in the pathway will depend on the assessment of the general pediatrics program director, who will be required to verify competence at the end of two years of core training. The program director must be able to attest that trainee performance has been satisfactory and the curricular requirements have been met, including performance on in-training examinations.
  4. For specific training requirements in general pediatrics (components and number of educational units) for residents in the Accelerated Research Pathway, please see information available from the American Board of Pediatrics.

Subspecialty Fellowship Requirements After Completion of General Pediatrics Training

Subspecialty training must be at least four years in duration and in a discipline for which the ABP requires scholarly activity. A minimum of one year of clinical training is required. Some subspecialties of pediatrics may require more than one year of clinical training for a fellow to be able to attain the clinical competencies necessary to practice the subspecialty. All subspecialty trainees will be expected to participate in a core curriculum in scholarly activity skills (e.g., study design, statistics, principles of evidence-based medicine, manuscript preparation, biomedical ethics, educational techniques). Trainees will be required to meet the same standards for scholarly achievement as defined for those in the standard three-year subspecialty fellowship training programs.

Eligibility for Certification in General Pediatrics After the ARP

To meet the eligibility requirements for certification in general pediatrics, the trainee must satisfactorily complete two years of core general pediatrics training and an additional year (one year of clinical experience) in the subspecialty fellowship. Verification of clinical competence and training will be required from both the general pediatrics program director and the subspecialty training program director.

Eligibility to take the subspecialty certifying exam will require completion of six years of total training (two years of general pediatrics and four years of subspecialty training).

Integrated Research Pathway

Any applicant who has earned an MD/PhD is eligible for the Integrated Research Pathway (IRP). This program allows for 12 months of continuous research during residency, usually during the second half of second year and the first half of third year, to preserve the crucial supervisory experiences of the clinical curriculum. During intern year, these residents select a research mentor (with assistance by the appropriate subspecialty) and begin to outline the specific project. The 12 months of research time is completely protected, with the only exception the continued half day per week of continuity clinic.

Categorical Pediatric Residency

Physician-scientists wishing to pursue the traditional 3 year Harriet Lane residency curriculum are still able to take advantage of many opportunities to promote their career development goals. Beginning intern year, distinguished physician scientist faculty members provide mentorship to maximize exposure to relevant aspects of the field of interest. Other features of this pathway include travel stipends for presentations at national meetings and networking opportunities.

Categorical Pediatric Residency with Research Concentration

In addition to the opportunities listed above in the categorical track, those residents choosing to pursue a research concentration will have up to three months of strategically placed elective time to allow for protected time for scholarly work of a mentored project.

Current ARP/IRP Residents

Dr. Kate Williams

Dr. Williams is a 3rd year resident in our Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP) whose research interests are in cancer therapeutics, cancer and transplant immunology, and structural biology. Her interest in cancer research initially encouraged her to pursue both an MD and PhD and her early graduate work was in cancer immunology. Ultimately, her dissertation work focused on structural and biochemical characterization of a group of ubiquitin conjugation cascade enzymes that regulate the cell cycle. She hopes to combine these experiences to develop a niche focus within pediatric oncology research during fellowship training, which she will be continuing at Johns Hopkins after completion of residency.

Dr. Kate Williams

Dr. Andy Kleist, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Kleist is a 3rd year resident in our Integrated Research Pathway (IRP) whose prior PhD work investigated how hormones, drugs, and immune signaling molecules recognize and activate cell surface G protein-coupled receptors at the atomic level. He is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying recognition at "immune synapses", and harnessing protein structure and sequencing data to devise immunotherapies that modulate these synapses in cancer and other diseases. His research during the residency IRP year will be in the laboratory of Drs. Ken Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein. He plans to pursue fellowship training in Pediatric Oncology after completion of the IRP.

Dr. Andy Kleist, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Zaw Phyo, M.D.

Dr. Phyo is a 2nd year resident in our Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP). His passion for cancer immunology research and career aspiration to be a physician-scientist are deeply rooted in his personal experience of witnessing multiple family members suffer from cancer. After his undergraduate studies, he spent two years at the National Cancer Institute investigating a small molecule that inhibits the Myc oncogene transcription and elucidating the cell death mechanism induced by this novel drug. In medical school at Johns Hopkins, his research interests shifted to tumor immunology and he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Won Jin Ho to characterize the phosphorylation states in the TCR-mediated signaling pathway to better understand T cell exhaustion and resistance to checkpoint inhibitor therapy. He is particularly interested in Pediatric Oncology and hopes to be involved in the development and application of novel immunotherapy treatments and its integration with traditional treatment modalities such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Dr. Zaw Phyo, M.D.

Who to Contact

Nicole Shilkofski, M.D., M. Ed.
Pediatric Residency Program Director
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Vice Chair of Education
[email protected]

How to Apply

All physician-scientist applicants interested in applying to a PSTP pediatric pathway are encouraged to email the residency program director, Dr. Nicole Shilkofski at [email protected] and include a statement of interest describing areas of research interest and subspecialty career goals (maximum one page).

Interview with a Physician-Scientist

Read an interview with physician-scientist James Cronk about why he chose Johns Hopkins for his training.