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Many Diverse Training Opportunities

Beyond the "standard" MCP curriculum, MCP meets the individual needs of each student toward their research goals and career aspirations by providing a wide range of training options. MCP Students are encouraged to enhance their educational experience toward success by taking advantage of the diverse training opportunities available at U-M. Some of these opportunities are listed below.


Embedded and Joint Training Programs

  • Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics—Many MCP students have components of their thesis projects that rely heavily on bioinformatics and, accordingly, many of them enjoy the benefit of the embedded Master's Degree in Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics offered by the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (DCMB).

  • Internship—The Rackham Doctoral Intern Fellowship Program allows doctoral students to pursue a fully supported and funded internship during their graduate training. Internships offer students a mentored professional learning experience in diverse career settings, e.g., in the biotech/pharma industry.

  • Translational Research—The Department of Pathology is also home to the T32 Training Program in Translational Research (TPTR), which is led by MCP mentors Drs. Andrew Lieberman and Zaneta Nikolovska-Coleska. TPTR offers an interdisciplinary program of study and research that prepares graduate students for successful careers at the interface between basic biomedical science and clinical medicine. This program is designed for predoctoral PhD students and aims to address the widely recognized shortage of rigorously trained scientists who can successfully work together with medical professionals to bridge the gap between basic science and clinical practice. Along with additional coursework in translational pathology, trainees participate in a mentored clinical rotation in an area relevant to their thesis research, complementing the experimental work with exposure to disease-related clinical problems.

  • Proteomics—The T32 training program in Advanced Proteogenomics of Cancer, led by MCP mentor Dr. Alexey Nesvizhskii, supports students performing graduate cancer-related research and provides training for proteome informatics research.


Many more T32 training programs at the U-M provide funded, structured, and mentored time for aspiring scientists interested in: Experimental Immunology, Chemistry Biology Interface, Biogerontology, Tissue Engineering and Regeneration, Molecular Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis, Translational Cardiovascular Research and Entrepreneurship, Vision Research, and more.


Mentoring Network

MCP students are mentored by a thesis mentor, typically the head of the research laboratory in which they are pursuing their dissertation project. Moreover, upon achieving candidacy, students form a dissertation committee, which is composed of four or more faculty members, to guide and encourage the student’s design and execution of an original, high-quality, doctoral-level research project. In addition to the regular MCP group meetings, MCP Co-Directors, Drs. Jeff Rual and Simon Hogan, also hold one-on-one academic advisory meetings ~1-2 / year with MCP students to discuss their research project, academic achievements, career development progress, as well as their well-being. Additional resources, services, and mentoring support are also available from the U-M Rackham Graduate School or the U-M Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS).


Financial Support and Awards

MCP students have access to numerous grant opportunities, fellowship awards and financial aid from MCP or the Department of Pathology, from the U-M Rackham Graduate School or the U-M Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS), as well as from extramural institutions. Some of these awards are listed below.

Conference Travel Grants—To facilitate and ensure that MCP students attend extramural scientific meetings and present their research, the graduate program provides financial support for travel on a yearly basis by awarding the Rackham Travel Grant and/or the MCP Travel Grant Awards. Every year, most MCP students take advantage of this opportunity. For example, in 2022, fourth-year MCP student Sanjana Eyunni (Chinnaiyan Lab) was awarded a Rackham Travel Grant to attend Annual Multi-Institutional Prostate Cancer Program Retreat at the University of California in Los Angeles, California to give an oral presentation entitled "The Furious roles of FOXA1 Class 2 mutants in prostate tumorigenesis".

Sahiti Marella (Hogan Lab) receives the MCP Outstanding Research Award, the most prestigious honors awarded by MCP at the 2023 Annual MCP Research Symposium.MCP Outstanding Research and Service Awards—Every year, MCP celebrates the many outstanding contributions of our MCP students with several honors, including the MCP Outstanding Research and Service Awards, at the Annual MCP Research Symposium. The MCP Outstanding Research Award recognizes the outstanding research and scholarly accomplishments of the student awardee. The MCP Outstanding Service Award distinguishes a student who has shown great commitment of time and effort towards service to the department and the community.

Rackham Merit Fellowship—The Rackham Merit Fellowship (RMF) Program helps sustain the academic excellence and inclusiveness of the Michigan graduate community, one that embraces students with diverse experiences and goals, and who come from many educational, cultural, geographic, and familial backgrounds. By offering financial assistance to those students who might not otherwise have access, we aim to reduce disparities in graduate education. We also aim to promote the values of diversity and inclusion by encouraging the admission and funding of students who represent a broad array of life experiences and perspectives, because this enhances the quality of the intellectual environment for all students. MCP students Mohamed Mire (Lukacs Lab), Joanna Lum (Venneti Lab), and Thandiwe-Kesi Robins (first-year, lab rotations ongoing) are RMF Fellows.

MCP Student Research Grant—MCP supports graduate students by awarding the MCP Student Research Grant, a competitive award (internal competition) designed to support a student-initiated research project and to advance their progress toward their degree. This $3,000 grant is intended to support an exploratory research question relevant to the student’s thesis and to encourage the independent research work of the students by providing support for novel/risky ideas that might provide proof of concept for feasibility and further study. For example, in 2023, MD/PhD MSTP student Kristen Lozada Soto (Nusrat-Parkos Lab) received a Research Grant to investigate how the CLDN23 proteins orchestrate intestinal mucosal wound repair by identifying possible molecular targets using spatial transcriptomic technologies.

Extramural Awards—Many MCP students are also supported by prestigious extramural awards, including NIH NRSA F31 fellowships and diversity awards, Department of Defense (DOD) pre-doctoral research awards, professional societies and disease foundations fellowships (Examples: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7).


Professional Development

The Rackham Graduate School, home of graduate education at the University of Michigan, supports students in developing strategies, plans, and networks to be successful in their professional development during their Michigan experience, and as they transition into their careers. Rackham organizes multiple workshops, programs, resources, and career services across the campus to prepare the graduate students primarily in three key areas: Core Skill Development, Career Exploration, and Job Search Skill Development.

Similarly, the OGPS career & professional development team supports trainees throughout their career exploration and professional development journey by offering individual advising, professional development workshops, cohort-based learning, career exploration panels, and more.