The Department continues to take an active role in training outstanding pathologist-scientists. In association with the UCLA-STAR program, we have created a training pathway tailored to the unique needs of pathologist-scientists. One of our residents, Jennifer Chia, MD, PhD, entered this pathway when she began her AP residency in 2018. Dr. Chia is currently a hematopathology fellow in our program, having completed her AP training in June 2021, which included a research block in the laboratory of Dr. Alex Hoffmann, the Director of the Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences. During this research block, Dr. Chia developed extensive preliminary data for a highly innovative project. Her research combines her training in hematopathology and her interest in computational biology to study the role of the NF-kappa B transcription factor in myeloid proliferations. Her work will set the stage for important scientific discoveries during a dedicated research phase as a STAR fellow and provide the practical experience and mentoring for an independent research program in the years to come.
Dr. Jennifer Chia
The UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is a flagship education program in the David Geffen School of Medicine. The UCLA-Caltech MSTP offers students rigorous combined MD/PhD training across disciplines relevant to human health and medicine, ranging from basic sciences to translational research to engineering to social sciences and health policy. The program’s success is predicated on the breadth of opportunities and excellence of research at UCLA. In addition, select individuals pursue research at Caltech through an institutional partnership established two decades ago. The MSTP recruits and supports students of diverse backgrounds and experiences, seeking individuals with a passion for scientific knowledge and a life-long commitment to research and leadership in medicine. There are currently 113 students enrolled in the UCLA-Caltech MSTP making it one of the largest and most diverse in the country. Students have a longstanding record of accomplishment, typically securing extramural NIH or other private foundation funding for their PhD training and averaging six authored papers (including 2+ as first author and a best first author paper in journals with an average impact factor of 14)! Graduates match in the most competitive residency programs across the country, while more than 70% of alumni remain in academia after completing their postgraduate training. Notable alumni include several current UCLA Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine faculty, including Drs. Michael Teitell, Jonathan Zuckerman, and Valerie Arboleda.
Dr. David Dawson
Pathology faculty are heavily involved in the UCLA-Caltech MSTP through participation in program admissions, research mentorship, and leadership. Many MSTP students pursue their PhDs in pathology research laboratories with pathology faculty serving as primary PhD advisors or thesis committee members. Pathology is by far the most heavily represented department on the MSTP Admissions Committee, which currently includes Drs. Valerie Arboleda, Gay Crooks, David Dawson, Dinesh Rao, Peter Tontonoz, Harry Vinters, and Michael Teitell. Dr. Teitell recently served as an MSTP Associate Director from 2013-2019, stepping down when he became Director of the Cancer Center. Previously the Associate Director for Admissions and Mentorship (2015-2019), Dr. David Dawson became co-Director of the MSTP in January 2020, a primary leadership role that is shared co-equally with a second co-Director, originally Dr. Carlos Portera-Cailliau (Dept. of Neurology) and more recently Dr. Olujimi Ajijola (Dept. of Medicine).
Sarah M. Dry, MD
Professor & Chair, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine