Graduate Programs in MD/PhD

Graduate Programs in MD/PhD

MD/PhD students officially begin their PhD coursework after successful completion of their USMLE Step 1 exams and the MD program's TTCE 2-week course. Students interested in a particular graduate program should meet with that program's director early in their first year of medical school to begin preliminary planning of rotations and coursework, and consult regularly with their Scientific Oversight Committee (SOC). 

Learn more about the SOC

Learn more about the graduate programs available to MD/PhD students below. 

Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program (BSN)

Behavioral and systems neuroscience emphasizes systems neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and computational neuroscience in the context of healthy behavior and brain disorders. Students joining this graduate program gain outstanding training and mentorship across these boundaries of biology and behavior through studies of a variety of vertebrate species, including humans, rodents, and non-human primates, and reductionist or computational approaches. BEHN faculty offer expertise in the neurobiology of substance abuse, cognitive and affective neuroscience, behavioral genetics, animal communication, learning and memory, social neuroscience, and impulsivity. 

MD/PhD students in Behavioral Neuroscience complete core courses and electives tailored to meet their qualifications and interests. Medical school courses are substituted for the departmental basic science core requirement. MD/PhD students in Behavioral Neuroscience must achieve the same programmatic milestones as PhD students, but their timetable may be accelerated. 

Contact the Behavioral Neuroscience graduate program to schedule a one on one meeting with the Graduate Program Director and for more information on required courses, waivable courses, and anticipated timelines. 

BSN website 

Matt Lattal, PhD, Program Director, Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program
Lisa Mendes, Graduate Program Coordinator

Biomedical Engineering (BME)

Biomedical Engineering (BME) is a graduate program that trains its students in biomedical optics, cardiovascular engineering, computational biology, nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology, neuroengineering, and spatial system biology. BME students and faculty closely collaborate with other faculty, departments, and programs on campus for a rich research opportunity.

Contact BME to schedule a one on one meeting with the Graduate Program Director and for more information on required courses, waivable courses, and anticipated timelines. More information on the program can be found on the BME website.

BME Website

Karina Nakayama, PhD, Program Co-Director, Biomedical Engineering
Sandra Rugonyi, PhD, Program Co-Director, Biomedical Engineering
Alyssa Yadao, BME Program Coordinator

Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program (BMI)

The Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program in the Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) offers a PhD in two majors: Health & Clinical Informatics and Bioinformatics & Computational Biomedicine. Core coursework makes up an important part of the PhD curriculum. 

In addition to work on the dissertation, students obtain an in-depth understanding of the field through specialized coursework in biomedical informatics, advanced research methods and design, and a focused cognate area. The cognate area allows tailoring of the educational experience to one's research interests. Past cognate areas have included Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Science Engineering, Public Health, Nursing, Systems Science, Anthropology, Education, and Management. 

Contact the Biomedical Informatics graduate program to schedule a one-on-one meeting with the Graduate Program Coordinator for more information on required courses, waivable courses, and anticipated timelines. 

Biomedical Informatics website 

William Hersh, MD, Program Director, Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program
Diane Doctor, MLIS, Graduate Program Coordinator
Lauren Ludwig, Admissions Coordinator

Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP)

The Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) at the OHSU Vollum Institute has a strong background in cellular and molecular neuroscience, glial biology, gene regulation, biophysics of channels and transporters, sensory system, neuroendocrinology, developmental neuroscience, and disease-oriented neuroscience research.

Entering MD/PhD students interested in neuroscience are strongly encouraged to meet with the NGP director early in Year 1 to begin immediate planning for the research component of their dual-degree program and to learn how they can participate in NGP activities as soon as they arrive at OHSU. MD/PhD students complete 3 research rotations between February and August of their 2nd year after they have completed their USMLE Step 1 exam and TTCE course. If a summer research rotation was taken before starting the MD program, that may count as one rotation toward the required three with the NGP program director's approval. Students are also expected to complete coursework prior to entering a lab full time. 

Contact the Neuroscience Graduate Program to schedule a one on one meeting with the Graduate Program Director and for more information on NGP activities, required courses, waivable courses, and anticipated timelines. 

NGP website

Kevin Wright, PhD, Program Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program
Jessica Parks, MED, Graduate Education Manager

Program in Biomedical Sciences (PBMS)

The Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (PBMS) provides a flexible and interdisciplinary training experience that prepares students to make significant contributions to biomedical research in diverse scientific careers. PBMS is a highly collaborative environment that focuses on interdisciplinary and translational faculty and research. Students will identify with research hubs, which serve as intellectual "homes" for graduate education and training at OHSU. Students will be required to take a standardized set of credits, but course options are flexible across research hubs.

Research hubs include:

  • Biochemical, Molecular, and Structural Biology
  • Chemical Physiology
  • Development, Differentiation, and Disease
  • Genome Sciences
  • Infectious Disease and Immunology
  • Integrated Cancer Biology

Contact PBMS to schedule a one on one meeting with the Graduate Program Director and for more information on required courses and anticipated timelines. More information on research hubs within PBMS can be found by clicking on the website below. If interested in a particular program, students are encouraged to reach out to the respective programs for more information as well. 

PBMS Website

Sudarshan Anand, PhD, Program Director, Program in Biomedical Sciences
Aaron Matney M.Ed , Graduate Program Coordinator