UCSF Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Physician-Scientist Pathway

The UCSF Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine are deeply committed to training the next generation of basic scientists who will work at the interface of science and medicine. This is achieved through providing a structured series of seminars, lectures, and journal clubs during the clinical years, followed by two or more years of post-residency research training in any of the hundreds of laboratories (i.e. not limited to the Depts. of Pathology or Laboratory Medicine) at UCSF, one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the world. The goal of this program is to provide advanced training in the experimental study of the molecular and cellular basis of disease that will permit the trainee to establish him or herself as independently funded investigator in a career blending basic science with clinical medicine. The Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have a strong track record of guiding physician-scientists through the process of career development, by providing mentors and role models from among the research faculty, and these resources will be available to program participants.

The Program

The PSP offers the following benefits:

  1. Admission to the UCSF clinical subspecialty fellowship of the applicant’s choice (contingent upon satisfactory completion of the core residency program, application at least 18 months prior to the fellowship starting date and approval of the fellowship director).
  2. Guaranteed support for post-doctoral research training. Participants in the PSP are guaranteed funding for at least two years of post-residency research in any laboratory at UCSF.
  3. Counseling from senior faculty on topics including selecting a laboratory, writing grant applications, and making the most of your residency and post-doctoral training, through a series of formal seminars and informal discussions.
  4. A personal faculty advisor who will provide guidance on establishing a career as an independent investigator.
  5. Participation in a monthly Research Interest Group meeting, where faculty and fellows present and discuss their work. We also require that trainees entering the UCSF PSP do their clinical training in AP-only, CP-only, or AP-NP, in order to maintain a clear focus on their scientific goals and to limit the duration of training to the extent possible.

The American Board of Pathology (ABP) has recently announced a "Physician-Scientist Research Pathway" for Pathology. This pathway requires a minimum of 12 months of research in addition to the 6 months of research that is already included in the core residency, and does not guarantee financial support. At UCSF, we do not require physician-scientist trainees to join this pathway, but we prefer to work with our fellows to craft individual training programs to best achieve their goal of becoming a principal investigator. It is also important to emphasize that we guarantee at least two years of financial support for research training (in most cases trainees spend significantly more than two years doing research after finishing their clinical training). We also recommend that trainees entering the UCSF PSP should do their clinical training in AP, CP or AP-NP, in order to maintain a clear focus on their scientific goals and to limit the duration of training to the extent possible.

Additional Coursework

UCSF has two world-class graduate (PhD) programs in the life sciences, the Program in Biological Sciences (PIBS) and Biomedical Sciences (BMS), each of which offers advanced coursework in basic and applied biology. A full listing of the available courses can be found at their websites (PIBS can be found at http://pibs.ucsf.edu/and BMS can be found at http://bms.ucsf.edu/). PSP fellows who wish to do so may audit any of these courses as a way to deepen their exposure to areas of interest.


Interested applicants should inform Dr. Arun Wiita by e-mail ([email protected]) of their interest in the program at the time they submit their ERAS application for residency. Please note that the application deadline for the PSP is October 1, 2023. Select applicants will be invited for a special 2-day PSP interview (Nov. 1-2, 2023 or Dec. 7-8, 2023), which will feature presentations by and meetings with research faculty as well as interviews with clinical faculty.


Boris Bastian, MD
Genetics and biology of melanoma

Robert Blelloch, MD, PhD
Molecular basis of stem cell self-renewal, differentiation and contribution to cancer

Charles Chiu, MD, PhD
Metagenomic sequencing for infectious disease

Jayanta Debnath, MD
Autophagy and cancer pathogenesis

Adrian Erlebacher, MD, PhD
Immunology of pregnancy

Jonathan Esensten, MD, PhD 
Cellular therapies

Eric J. Huang, MD, PhD
Neural development and neurodegenerative disease

Scott C. Kogan, MD
Leukemia pathogenesis

Matthew Krummel, PhD
Immune cell interactions, imaging

Marta Margeta, MD, PhD
Pathogenesis of nerve and muscle diseases

Andrew D. Leavitt, MD
Hematopoietic stem cells

Mark Looney, MD
Platelet biology in lung disease

Clifford A. Lowell, MD, PhD
Innate immune cell signal transduction

Aras N. Mattis, MD, PhD
Liver diseases

Ari Molofsky, MD, PhD
Immunology of metabolic diseases

Stephen Nishimura, MD
Integrins and lung inflammation

Phillip Norris, MD
Immunology in blood transfusion

Shibani Pati, MD, PhD
Mesenchymal stem cells and trauma

Joanna J. Phillips, MD, PhD
Glioblastoma and tumor microenvironment

Hilde Schjerven, PhD
Lymphocyte development and leukemia

Mark Seielstad, PhD
Genetic epidemiology

Catherine Smith, MD
Genetics of myeloid leukemia

David A. Solomon, MD, PhD
Diagnostic neuropathology

Thea Tlsty, PhD
Cancer progression, genomic instability

Laura J. Van't Veer, PhD
Cancer genetics, breast cancer biomarkers

Jeffrey Whitman, MD, MS
Biomarkers of parasitic diseases

Arun Wiita, MD, PhD
Proteomics and new therapy development for hematologic malignancies

Alan H.B. Wu, PhD
Pharmacogenomics and toxicology