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7th Annual M.D./Ph.D. Retreat Welcomes First Alumni Speaker

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Author: Laura Caflisch | Category: GSBS Alumni | M.D./Ph.D. | March 11, 2016

The M.D./Ph.D. program held another successful annual retreat last Saturday with our first program alumni speaker, Dr. Suzanne Thibodeaux

Dr. Thibodeaux is currently a clinical pathology chief resident in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Thibodeaux discussed her story as a rising physician scientist, from her beginning interests in research through her journey through the M.D./Ph.D. program, and her life as chief resident at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Her story was interesting and inspiring, and often humorous, but for many of the students it is one which we can relate to our own career and reflect on in the future. We hope that we can have many more alumni speakers in the future.

We were also pleased to welcome our distinguished guest speaker, Dr. Carl June

Dr. June delivered an inspiring talk on his work in cancer immunology and his journey to become an accomplished physician scientist at the University of Pennsylvania.

He also spoke on his efforts to promote cancer research funding and awareness, as well as the impact that his patients have had on his motivation and desire to push the cancer research field further.

There were also a variety of oral presentations and posters presented by M.D./Ph.D. students from many different fields of research, a physician scientist Q&A panel, and four breakout sessions led by students in the more advanced years of the program and faculty volunteers. We also had the opportunity to meet the newly accepted class of M.D./Ph.D. students for the fall. 

The physician scientist panel was led with the help of physician scientists from a variety of career stages: Dr. Suzanne Thibodeaux, Dr. Edward MedinaDr. Al Fisher, and Dr. Tyler Curiel

The physician scientist panel offered helpful tips on managing a career as physician scientist, from how to initially develop one’s own research ideas, to running and managing an independent lab. Student volunteers for the breakout sessions were the MS4s Jill Heisler, Jade Zhou, and Danielle Callaway; and the MS3s Vinh Dao, and David Melton. 

These students answered questions and offered strategies for managing clinical rotations and applying for residency. 

Physician scientists Dr. Patricia Dahia and Dr. Tyler Curiel also led an insightful breakout session on how to publish meaningful and high‐impact papers, with guidance from their own extensive publishing experience. 

Finally, Dr. Patricia Dahia and Dr. Suzanne Thibodeaux led a dual breakout session, “Work-Life Balance/Being a Female Physician Scientist,” an important topic especially for our students who already have or are planning to have families alongside their career. 

In the end, the M.D./Ph.D. retreat this year was successful yet again, thanks to the participation of the students, faculty, and our guests who graciously traveled to take part in this event. The retreat provided a healthy exchange of ideas, tips, and motivation for physician scientists in training at all levels. 

We hope to continue improving on our success from this year and years’ past in future retreats.

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