Rotations and Advising

The UCLA MSTP requires completion of at least two research rotations before selection of a PhD thesis laboratory or research mentor for those in the Social Science Track.  Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to do a research rotation during the summer preceding the first year of medical school. While this is a short rotation (5 weeks), it serves to introduce students to the research faculty on campus. All students are required to do a nine-week research rotation the summer between the first and second years of medical school. When necessary, the MSTP supports students to do an additional rotation following the second year of medical school. The structure of the curriculum during the first two years of medical school is ideal for MSTP students since it provides adequate unscheduled time for many of our students to participate in lab meetings and journal clubs, or to engage in research rotations, while they are in medical school.

The number of research opportunities at UCLA and Caltech is extraordinary. Upon acceptance into the program, students are assigned to one of the program co-directors, Carlos Portera-Cailliau and Leanne Jones, or to the associate program directors: David Dawson and Joel Braslow for advice and mentoring during the first 2 years of medical school (MD1and MD2) and the PhD years.  Drs. Portera-Cailliau, Jones, Dawson and Braslow meet with each student twice a year to help identify faculty and research labs in the student’s area of interest, and to provide guidance during their PhD thesis. During the last year of research, as students are transitioning back to finish medical school, as well as during the last 2 years of medical school (MD3 and MD4), associate program director Mike Teitell becomes their advisor.

In addition, the following websites are useful resources for learning about faculty research interests at UCLA:

Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Molecular Biology Institute (A general site with links to Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology; Cell & Development Biology; Gene Regulation; Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis)
Molecular Pharmacology
Human Genetics

Physics & Biology Medicine
Biomedical Engineering

The following websites are useful resources for learning about faculty research at Caltech:


Inset Photo: California Institute of Technology