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Academy of Physician Scientists Pathway Overview

Pathway Overview

Texas A&M University Health Science Center School of Medicine and College of Engineering, in partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital (HMH) and Research Institute (HMRI) and the Texas Medical Center (TMC), has established an Academy of Physician Scientists as a pathway for attracting and nurturing medical students and physicians during residency or fellowship to pursue successful research careers as physician-scientists with an emphasis on medical engineering (physicianeers), which spans engineering of genes, cells, tissues, devices, technologies, diagnostics, analytics, therapeutics, and informatics.

Our focus on physicianeers is predicated on the emerging concept that the rate of technological changes in health care and medical research are advancing faster, and are more complicated, than can be absorbed by the traditional medical workforce. This led us to rethink potential strategies that could be used to expand the physician workforce capable of bridging medicine and engineering.

The Academy of Physician-Scientists was selected as one of only ten medical schools in the nation to receive a highly prestigious Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) Physician-Scientist Institutional Award to catalyze highly innovative programs for training non-PhD physicians for successful academic careers as physician-scientists. This BWF Award complements institutional commitments from Texas A&M, HMH, and TMC. The Academy provides the administrative infrastructure, a competency-based curriculum leading to a Masters in Medical Sciences (MS) or a Masters in Engineering (MEng) or a Certificate of Training in Clinical & Translational Sciences, robust career mentoring, immersion in medical engineering research, and an interactive Community of Physician-Scientists. Academy medical student trainees are candidates for BWF Scholar Awards and resident/fellow trainees are candidates for BWF Fellow Awards.

Medical Student BWF Scholar Awards: Medical students in either the traditional medical school track or the ENMED* track who are interested in pursuing one year of research between their third and fourth year of medical school through the MDPlus** program are candidates for the Academy of Physician-Scientists and BWF Scholar Awards. Awardees receive a graduate student stipend and graduate school tuition from the School of Medicine toward an MS or an MEng, as well as a BWF Scholar Award, to advance their research and scholarly activities.

Resident/Fellow BWF Fellow Awards: Over 300 physician residents/fellows are enrolled in Texas A&M-affiliated GME programs at Houston Methodist and are candidates for Academy of Physician-Scientists training positions and BWF Fellow Awards. Awardees will pursue research for up to two years, with resident/fellow stipends from HMH, and a Certificate of Training in Clinical & Translational Sciences, as well as a BWF Fellow Award to advance their research and scholarly activities.   

BWF Scholar and BWF Fellow Awardee Mentored Training: Each trainee has a mentoring matrix comprised of dual research mentors (medical and engineering), a career mentor, a peer mentor, and a resource management mentor, and self-mentoring that will be used in conjunction with Individual Development Planning to nurture trainees for successful research careers. In addition to their research, and important for continuity along the spectrum of career development as physician-scientists, all trainees participate in the Academy’s Community of Physician-Scientists, wherein they engage in shared scholarly activities that include a rigorous competency-based curriculum, conferences, workshops, journal clubs, lab management, communication, grantsmanship and mock study sections, participation on IRB and IACUC committees, leadership skills, and an annual Engines of Ingenuity Retreat.

*ENMED is a new LCME-approved School of Medicine campus expansion to accommodate a four-year engineering medical school track leading to both an MD and an MEng, requiring a capstone engineering project. Located on our Houston Campus, ENMED is the first of its kind in the nation.

**MDPlus is a School of Medicine program that provides the opportunities for medical students to pursue an MS, MPH, or MBA in addition to their MD.

Director's Message

David Huston, MD, PhD

The Texas A&M University Academy of Physician Scientists is the only program in the nation that is focused on establishing a pipeline for training physicians as physician-scientists to pursue academic careers as physician engineers (physicianeers). The novelty of the Academy is evidenced by its prestigious selection as one of only ten medical schools in the nation selected for a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Physician-Scientist Institutional Award to catalyze innovative strategies for attracting and nurturing medical students and residents/fellows who did not enter MD/PhD dual degree programs, but during the course of their education and training in medical school and residency/fellowship were stimulated to pursue academic research careers as physician-scientists.

The faculty of the Academy are dedicated to providing a unique and robustly mentored educational and research environment that will propel highly motivated medical students and residents/fellows to bridge the gap between clinical medicine and basic, translational, or bench research. The partnership of Texas A&M University’s School of Medicine and College of Engineering with Houston Methodist Hospital and Research Institute and the unique resources of the Texas Medical Center provides a stimulating research and educational environment. We welcome you to explore the opportunities provided by the Academy for the pursuit of a rewarding career as a physician-scientist and physicianeer.


David P. Huston, MD
Director, Academy of Physician Scientists and Burroughs Wellcome Fund Physician Scientist Institutional Award
Associate Dean for Physician Scientist Development