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About the Annual Student Conference

Each year, the University of Colorado Medical Scientist Training Program sponsors and coordinates the National MD/PhD Student Conference. Organized by the 3rd year MSTP students, the conference provides an opportunity for MD/PhD students around the country to present their work and interact with other students and prominent scientific investigators. What began as a small meeting in 1986 has grown into a gathering of over 200 students, faculty, and alumni from over 60 academic institutions in the United States and Canada.

Note: it will be possible to register on-site with a check for $425 made out to the University of Colorado MSTP. If you are interested in doing this, please send an email to 

Early Registration deadline: May 16th May 23rd, 2014 ($365 registration fee)

Late Registration deadline: June 27th, 2014 ($425 registration fee)

Cancellation with Refund deadline: June 27th, 2014

Abstract deadline for oral presentations/travel awards: May 16th May 23rd, 2014

Final abstract deadline: June 13th, 2014

Please see a tentative schedule for the conference here.

About​ the Speakers

Dr. Mary-Claire King, Ph. D.; University of Washington: Dr. King is a leading human geneticist best known for her discovery of BRCA1, the first described heritable breast cancer factor and one of the first demonstrations of a relationship between genetics and complex disease. She was also the first to clone a nonsyndromic gene for hereditary deafness, and in her doctoral work demonstrated that humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical. She is well-known outside of science for her genetic human rights work to identify victims of war crimes and reunite abducted children with their families. She is currently being portayed by Helen Hunt in Decoding Annie Parker, a movie about the discovery of BRCA1. 

Dr. Kevin Eggan, Ph. D.; Harvard University: Dr. Eggan is an HHMI Early Career Scientist studying stem cell reprogramming, and the application of those technologies to neuromuscular disease. Specifically, his lab is researching the process of embryonic stem cell differentiation into the neural lineage, and the reprogramming of common cell types into those (such as spinal motor neurons) that are rare and difficult to study otherwise. In 2006, he was recepient of a MacArthur Genius Grant

Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, Ph. D.; MIT and RIKEN Institute: Dr. Tonegawa is the 1987 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, for "discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity." Today, the mechanism he described and elaborated upon is commonly known as V(D)J recombination. Since that time, Dr. Tonegawa's interests have turned towards neuroscience—he is founder of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and director of the RIKEN Brain Science Institute. Recently, his lab has been in the news for their discovery that memory engrams are encoded by specific neurons, and the use of that knowledge to create false memories in mice. 

Dr. Lee Michael Kaplan, M.D./Ph.D.; Massachusetts General Hospital: Dr. Kaplan is the founding director of the Mass General Weight Center, one of the first multidisciplinary weight clinics of its kind. He is currently director of the Obesity, Metabolism, and Nutrition Institute at MGH. Research in his lab focuses on the genome’s and microbiome’s contributions to weight gain and obesity. ​

Dr. Thomas R. Cech, Ph.D.; University of Colorado Boulder: Dr. Cech discovered self-splicing RNA ribozymes, for which he was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Sidney Altman. He also served as president of HHMI from 2000-2009, and is currently the director of the BioFrontiers Institute at CU Boulder.

About Keystone

What happens other than famous scientists giving talks? There will also be a career panel, poster sessions, optional outdoor activities, and breakout sessions covering topics of interest to MD/PhDs. This year these will include: Scientific Presentation Techniques, Grant-Writing Techniques, Biotechnology and Industry, Entering Residency and Fellowship, and Approaching Bioinformatics Analysis.

How long should I plan on staying for the conference? Conference check-in opens at 2 pm and activities begin at 5 pm on Friday, July 18th.The conference concludes late Sunday evening and we recommend you plan to stay in Keystone through Monday morning.

How far Keystone is from Denver International Airport? 98 miles, or about 2 hours in normal traffic. You should plan flying in around noon on July 18th. Google Map 

How do I get to Keystone? Colorado Mountain Express is a shuttle service that is offering discounted rates to Keystone for conference attendees. Shared Ride Shuttles depart daily every 90min.

Denver Intl. Airport to Keystone -- 9:30am-9:30pm
Keystone to Denver Intl. Airport -- 5:15am-5:45pm

Phone: 1-800-525-6363
Discount rate: $52 each direction.
Discount Code: MDPhD

Where should I stay? Lodging can be booked through Keystone Resort on their website, or via their toll-free conference line at 800-258-0437. Be sure to mention our group code (CN3MS4) to receive a discount!  The discounted rates will be honored up to 3 days before and 3 days after the meeting dates, based on availability.
For further information visit their website at

What should I bring with me? 
Sunscreen and Water BottleThe elevation at Keystone ~9,300 ft. It's easy to get dehydrated, so drink plenty of water. This NEJM article​ has more information.
JacketAverage July high and low are 74°F and 39°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. 

Invitation Letter

It is with great pleasure that the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus invites you to attend the 29th Annual National MD/PhD Student Conference.  The 2014 conference will take place July 18–20 in Keystone, Colorado.  Over the past 28 years, the conference has brought MD/PhD students from across North America to Colorado to share their research, hear featured speakers, participate in small groups, interact with a career panel and enjoy the Rocky Mountains.  Participants have the unique opportunity to network with their fellow MD/PhD students, meet leading researchers, and consider the evolving role of the physician scientist.

As in the past, we have invited a group of distinguished speakers from a variety of disciplines. These featured speakers will address topics in both basic science and translational research. In addition, student oral presentations and poster sessions will ensure that a wide spectrum of topics are discussed including, but not limited to, cancer biology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, neuroscience, bioengineering, developmental biology, and public health. The career panel will include physicians and scientists from both academia and industry who will offer a variety of perspectives on career development for MD/PhD students, including a new methods workshop highlighting emerging technologies in biomedical research.

The program includes free time to enjoy the spectacular surroundings of the conference venue. Summit County and the nearby cities of Keystone, Dillon, Silverthorne and Breckenridge allow for outdoor exploration, shopping and social gatherings after hours. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and other adventure activities are conveniently located near the conference site and are incorporated into the conference.

Ten Diversity Travel Awards will be given to conference attendees. We strongly encourage students to apply for these $500 awards that cover registration and travel expenses. Additional awards may be provided.

We hope that you will join us at this year's conference and find it as valuable as past attendees have. Please contact us with any questions.


The 2014 Organi​zing Committee



Page last modified 7/18/2014 -- EDN​​​​​​​