Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program


The 2024 MSTAR program applications are now closed.

Group photo of Medical Students in the Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program

MSTAR student Luskin Sanchez giving a presentation

The MSTAR program provides medical students short-term research training in aging and geriatrics with successful mentors in the field, with the goal of encouraging medical students to consider careers as physician scientists in aging research.
In this program students spend 8-12 weeks:

  1. conducting aging research under the close supervision of an experienced mentor and the mentor's research team
  2. acquiring essential research skills
  3. networking with other medical students and faculty who share an interest in aging research
  4. learning about careers in aging
  5. learning about common clinical topics in aging

Since 1989, more than 450 medical students have participated in this program and its precursor, the Medical Student Geriatric Scholars Program. Each year, students present their research at local and national meetings. Many students have won awards at these meetings and many have published their work in medical journals.

How to Apply to the Program

Interested students should contact the program administrator at [email protected] for the application form.
Applications for the UCLA, UCSF, and UW sites must be sent directly to UCLA.


Research Training

Each student will have a structured research experience. Students will conduct research with a mentor who will assist them in completing a project that can be accomplished in an 8 to 12-week period. At the conclusion of the summer, students will present their research at their site and also write a research abstract. Students are strongly encouraged to present their work at national meetings including the American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting.

Example Research Opportunities

Didactic Training

Students will attend seminars one half day per week either in person or via videoconference. The topics include:

  1. General research methods (e.g., how to prepare a research report, responsible conduct of research)
  2. Clinical topics in geriatrics (e.g., incontinence, dementia, etc.)
  3. Career opportunities in aging and geriatrics


Students are encouraged to network with faculty, research staff and each other to promote common interests in aging. MSTAR alumni attending the AGS Annual Meeting are invited to a yearly dinner. Students are also encouraged to maintain contact with the program, their mentors and fellow MSTAR students after program completion.


A program director meets with students weekly to check in and make sure their project is progressing and their mentor is providing sufficient support. Students will be asked to complete evaluations of the weekly seminars they attend. At the end of the summer, site directors meet individually with students to elicit their opinions about all aspects of the program. We use this information to modify and improve our program continuously.


Each year, program awards are given to deserving mentors. Awards are issued for best research mentor and best clinical mentor. Some MSTAR students win additional awards for their research at the American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting and other local and national meetings.

Past Mentor Awards

The MSTAR Program is possible through generous support from:

  1. National Institutes of Health
  2. National Institute on Aging
  3. The Lillian R. Gleitsman Medical Student Summer Research in Aging Program

National Training Center: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Partner Sites: University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) & University of Washington