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Registration for the 2019 MD PhD Conference is OPEN!

We're excited to announce that registration for the 34th Annual National Student MD PhD Conference on July 12th - 14th 2019 at our fantastic new site Copper Mountain, is open now through June 13th!  Register by April 30th to qualify for early registration fees.
Click or copy the link to register:

Calling for Abstracts 

We are currently accepting abstract for student oral presentations and/or poster presentations is now open!  For an opportunity to present, submit your abstract via the conference registration page by May 19th, 2019, to be considered for an oral presentation.  Abstracts will be considered for either poster or oral presentations.  Abstracts not selected for oral presentations will be presented during the poster sessions. The deadline for poster abstract submission is June 1st. 2019

​Abstract Guidelines:​
Limit to 2,500 characters and include the following sections:

  1.  Introduction and Background
  2.  Specific Experimental Aims
  3.  Methods and Design
  4.  Results
  5.  Conclusions and Future Directions

Please include a title and an author list (not included in 2,500 characters). Include your name first, followed by other authors in the format: Doe, J., Fawn, J.

Abstract Submission Deadlines: 

Oral Presentation Abstracts: May 19th, 2019
Poster Abstracts: June 1st, 2019


Diversity Travel Award:

Diversity Travel Awards in the amount of $1000 each are being offered. The intent of these travel awards is to increase attendance of diverse students to the National MD/PhD Student Conference​.  Recipients of Travel Awards will be chosen on a competitive basis by a review committee. The key criterion for selection will be the quality of the research abstract submitted by the award applicant describing their recent scientific work.

To apply for the travel award 
1.  Submit a research abstract with registration and indicate the diversity category for which you are eligible.
2.  If desired, submit an explanation on why you qualify for a diversity award up to 2000 characters long.

Click here for award details and eligibility.​

Diversity Travel Award Deadline:  

Register and submit abstract/optional diversity statement by: May 19th, 2019

Program Details:

Keynote Speakers:

Peter Agre, M.D.

Dr. Peter Agre.jpg 
Dr. Peter Agre, M.D., is a professor of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also holds an appointment in the department of molecular biology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Agre’s research has focused on the molecular aspects of human diseases, including hemolytic anemias, blood group antigens and malaria. He received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Roderick MacKinnon of Rockefeller University for the discovery of aquaporins, water channels that facilitate the movement of water across cell membranes. He is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. For the past ten years Peter Agre’s lab has focused upon the role of aquaporins in malaria.

Dr. Agre received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Augsburg College. He earned his M.D. from Johns Hopkins. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals of Cleveland and performed a hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Agre returned to Johns Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow in cell biology before joining the faculty in 1984. He became vice chancellor for science and technology at Duke University Medical Center in 2005. He returned to Johns Hopkins in 2008. Dr. Agre is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.​

Huda Akil, Ph.D.​

Dr. Huda Akil.jpg 
Dr. Huda Akil, Ph.D. is the Gardner Quarton Distinguished University Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry and the co-Director of the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan. Dr. Akil has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the brain biology of emotions, including pain, anxiety, depression and substance abuse. She and her colleagues provided the first physiological evidence for a role of endorphins in the brain; and showed that endorphins are activated by stress and cause pain inhibition.

Dr. Akil’s current research investigates the genetic, molecular and neural mechanisms underlying stress, addiction and mood disorders. She is engaged in large scale studies to discover new genes and proteins that cause vulnerability to major depression and bipolar illness. She is the author of over 500 original scientific papers, and has been recognized as one of the most highly cited neuroscientists by the ISI Citation Index.

Dr. Akil‘s scientific contributions have been recognized with numerous honors and awards. These include the Pacesetter Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1993, and with Dr. Stanley Watson, the Pasarow Award for Neuroscience Research in 1994. In 1998, she received the Sachar Award from Columbia University and the Bristol Myers Squibb Unrestricted Research Funds Award. She is also the recipient of the Society for Neuroscience Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award and the Patricia Goldman-Rakic Prize for Cognitive Neuroscience (2007). In 1994, she was elected to the membership of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Science. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2000. In 2004, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.​

Cato Laurencin, M.D. Ph.D.

Dr. Cato Laurencin.jpg 

Dr. Cato Laurencin, M.D. Ph.D. is a University Professor at the University of Connecticut and is the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is internationally renowned for his scientific work in biomaterials, stem cell science, nanotechnology, drug delivery systems, and a new field he has pioneered, regenerative engineering. He and his colleagues were the first to develop nanofiber technologies for tissue regeneration and his group is credited for pioneering polymer-ceramic systems for bone regeneration. As an engineer/scientist and practicing surgeon, Laurencin has been in a unique position to develop new technologies and bring those technologies to patients. Work in the development of engineered systems for bone and ligament regeneration have inspired new technologies that are now available to patients, that are FDA cleared, and/or present in the clinical pipeline.

Dr. Laurencin earned his B.S.E. degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and his M.D., Magna Cum Laude from the Harvard Medical School where he received the Robinson Award for Surgery. He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Laurencin completed residency training at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Surgery Program where he was Chief Resident in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He completed fellowship training in Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery, Cornell Medical College, in New York.

Dr. Laurencin has also been honored with numerous awards for his work. The American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering awarded him the Pierre Galletti Award, medical and biological engineering’s highest honor. His work on engineering tissues was honored by Scientific American Magazine as one of the 50 greatest achievements in science in 2007. His work was also highlighted by National Geographic Magazine in its “100 Discoveries That Have Changed Our World” edition. Dr. Laurencin is also the recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in ceremonies at the White House. It is the highest honor bestowed in America for technological achievement.


Douglas R. Lowy, M.D.

Dr. Douglas Lowy.jpg

ouglas R. Lowy, M.D., is Chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology and he is the current Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Since 2010, has also served as the Deputy Director of the NCI. Dr. Lowy received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1968, and trained in internal medicine at Stanford University and dermatology at Yale University. He has directed a research laboratory at NCI since 1975, after receiving training as a Research Associate in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Lowy is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and of the Institute of Medicine of the NAS. For his research with John Schiller on technology that enabled the preventive HPV vaccines, he and Dr. Schiller have jointly received numerous honors, including the 2007 Federal Employee of the Year Service to America Medal from the Partnership for Public Service, the 2011 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award, the 2012 National Medal of Technology & Innovation (awarded in 2014), and the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the country’s most prestigious honor for biomedical research. Dr. Lowy has also received the National Medal of Honor for Basic Research from the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Lowy has two main research areas. One focuses on basic and translational aspects of human papillomavirus infection. His joint research with John Schiller in the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology (LCO) has identified many aspects of the human papillomavirus (HPV) life cycle, developed technology underlying the FDA-approved HPV vaccines, and elucidated mechanisms for the high efficacy of the vaccines. The second area focuses on cancer genes, currently emphasizing the DLC1 tumor suppressor, which encodes a Rho-GAP that is down-regulated in a wide variety of cancers, leading to the high Rho activity seen in many advanced cancers. This research has identified important scaffold functions for DLC1, including protein-protein interactions that contribute to the regulation of its activity and its role as a tumor suppressor, and identified kinases that activate and inactivate the functions of DLC1 and the mechanisms by which they do so.

Padmanee Sharma, M.D. Ph.D.

Dr. Padmanee Sharma.png ​

Dr. Sharma is a leading figure in oncology, specializing in renal, bladder and prostate cancer. Her primary focus is to understand the mechanisms and pathways within the immune system responsible for tumor rejection. Her immunotherapy work includes numerous collaborations with Dr. James P. Allison who received the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Sharma has tested new prostate cancer immunotherapies, looking for differences in T cell subsets and function between pre-therapy blood and tissue samples versus post-therapy blood and tissue samples.

She has received the ASCO Young Investigator Award, the MD Anderson Physician Scientist Award and ASCO Career Development Award and her research enabled her to compete successfully for the Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award and the American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Grant. Dr. Sharma is also an investigator on awarded AACR/SU2C/CRI cancer immunotherapy dream team grant. Dr. Sharma attended Boston University for her B.A. in Biology and M.A. in biotechnology. She also holds a Ph.D. in immunology and M.D. from Pennsylvania State University. She received her residency training in Internal Medicine at Cornell Medical Center and her fellowship training in Medical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.​ 

 ​Research Residency & PSTP Showcase​​

In addition to being a fantastic student conference in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, the National MD/PhD program is a great way to learn about future career paths after your MD/PhD training. In particular, this year's conference will feature a residency exhibit session that will delve into research track and physician scientist training residency programs. Residency directors from across the country including Baylor, Vanderbilt, UNC, Harvard, and many more will be here to talk to students. We will have residency directors in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and more specialties give a short panel explaining the basic premise of research residencies. After this, students will have the opportunity to talk to each of the directors in a career fair/exhibit booth style.

Confirmed Programs and specialties:

  • Baylor, Pediatrics 
  • Cinncinati Childrens, Pediatrics 
  • U. Cinncinati, Internal Medicine 
  • Harvard, Internal Medicine 
  • U. Iowa, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, & Psychiatry
  • U. Minnesota, Internal Medicine
  • U. North Carolina, Internal Medicine 
  • Northwestern, Internal Medicine
  • Ohio State, Internal Medicine
  • Penn State, Internal Medicine 
  • Stanford, Anesthesiology 
  • Vanderbilt, Internal Medicine 

Breakout Sessions

Research Ethics - led by Mary Allen, Ph.D.

A thought-provoking discussion on issues regarding data falsification, rigor in research, and challenges as a graduate student.

​Women and Minorities in Science: Changing the Paradigm - led by Judith Kaur, M.D.

Engage in an important conversation about equity and diversity, and learn how you can make the difference in tomorrow's world.

Scientific Communication - led by Jay Vyas, M.D. Ph.D.​

Scientific communication plays a crucial role in diseminating research discoveries to broader, non-academic audiences and society at large.  Effective communication fosters support for science, promotes public understanding of its relevence to society, and encorages more informed decision making at all levels.  Learn from Harvard's IM PSTP Director Jay Vyas, and build your presentation and communication skills to better advocate for your science

Should I Learn How to Code? Skills of a 21st Century Investigator - led by Larry Hunter, Ph.D.

Did you ever take that Python class in college? Do you wonder if you can implement computer coding in your project? Come listen to the founder of Bioinformatics as he addresses these questions.

Panel Discussion: What it means to be an M.D./Ph.D.

As a physician-scientist, you will have many choices to shape your career to the way you want it. Learn about all of the various paths that lay ahead during this panel discussion.​

Conference Activites

On Sunday, you will have the option of experiencing some of the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains by participating in one of the following activities, led by incredible members of CU MSTP. (For all hikes, please bring the following: a pair of supportive shoes or boots, sunscreen, water, snack food, loose-fitting clothes, a warm layer, and a rain/wind-resistant layer.)​

Advanced Hike: Mt. Quandary:  We will be hiking a Colorado 14er, Mt. Quandary (14,265 ft), weather permitting. In order to reach the summit, we will leave Keystone by 5:30 AM and should arrive back just before 1:00 PM. This hike will have an altitude gain of 3450 ft and will be 6.75 miles round trip. Hiking experience is required. (link to a description of the route:​

Beginner Hike: ​​​ Full of goregous views of nature without the worry of losing your breathe or waking up at 5 AM. Stay tuned for trail details! 

Alpine Fishing: ​Enjoy a wonderful morning of fishing in the fresh mountian air with our expert student fishermen! Limited number of poles available.  Stay tuned for more details. 

Copper Resort Activities: Copper resort offers a host of exciting activities for you to enjoy!  Day passes are avaliable for an additional fee, at a group rate for $65.  Day pass includes (3) Bungee, (1) Go Kart ride, (1) Zip Line, (2) WreckTangle, (1) Rocky Mountain Coaster ride, and unlimited access to Mini Golf, Boating Activities, and Climbing Wall.  Activities a-la-carte-$13 each ($2 off full price)​. 


About Copper​

Where should I stay?
Please read the following information from the resort about booking a room for the conference:

To ensure that rooming requirements can be accommodated properly, we ask that individual reservations be made on prior to Friday, June 21, 2019. Rooms will be booked based on space and availability after this time. The contracted rates will be honored up to 3 days before and 3 days after the meeting dates, based on availability.  Please call 888-760-7561 to make lodging reservations. Use discount code 4086 for reduced room rates. For further information visit their website at If you would like to share a room with attendees from other MD/PhD programs, please see and like our conference Facebook page.


How long should I plan on staying for the conference?

Conference check-in opens at 2pm, room check-in begins at 4pm and dinner begins at 5 pm on Friday, July 12th. The conference concludes late Sunday evening and we recommend you plan to stay in Copper through Monday morning, July 15.


How far Copper is from Denver International Airport?

100 miles, or about 2 hours in normal traffic (which can be unpredictable). You should plan flying in around noon on Friday, July 12th to allow yourself plenty of time to arrive in Copper and get checked in by 5pm. 


How do I get to Copper?

There are several ways to get to Copper Mountain. Please visit this page for more information:


What should I bring with me?

- Sunscreen, lip balm, and a water bottle: The elevation at Copper is ~9,700 ft. It is easy to get dehydrated, so drink plenty of water. This NEJM article has more information.

- Jacket: Average July high and low are 65°F and 48°F. On Sunday morning there will be optional conference activities, some of which are outdoors. It might rain. 

- Scientific curiosity: It is a science conference, after all.​

We look forward to seeing you in July!!!