KL2 Clinical Scholars Program

A core component of the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) is the education and cultivation of the next generation of clinical/translational scientists. Young physicians envisioning a career as clinician-scientists or clinical trialists are ideal candidates for the KL2 Clinical Scholars Program. The KL2 grant is an NIH-sponsored professional development award that allows for a recently trained clinical physician or other advanced-degree heath professional to pursue a Master’s Degree in the discipline of Clinical and Translational Investigation (MCTI). Candidate KL2 Scholars who have already obtained master’s or PhD degrees may qualify for an individualized KL2 pathway in The Scripps Research Institute’s (TSRI) PhD or post-doctoral programs.

Conducted collaboratively with the Kellogg School of Science and Technology at TSRI, the Master’s Degree in Clinical and Translational Investigation (MCTI) program is a 2-3 year research-centric educational endeavor that is complemented by coursework and a series of seminar based activities directed at preparing the young investigator for a career as a clinical and/or translational scientist. Additional information is listed below and further detailed in the KL2 Handbook.

Eligible Candidates

The program is aimed at early-career physicians who have discovered a passion for science/discovery and have a desire to translate basic science discoveries or technologic innovations into meaningful clinical practice interventions. Scholars are enrolled during residency or fellowship training or shortly after embarking upon a clinical career.

Note: Due to the requirements of the sponsoring NIH grant, a candidate must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States to receive a research stipend during participation in our Clinical Scholars Program.

Program Objectives

The program will provide the scholar with the knowledge and skills that will enable him/her to:

  • carefully refine research hypotheses
  • compete effectively for grant funding
  • persuasively articulate research findings in both written and verbal form
  • effectively analyze scientific data
  • master numerous basic and clinical laboratory science techniques
  • manage a research laboratory or research group
  • develop a more clear understanding of a variety of basic science disciplines as they apply to clinical discovery
  • effectively collaborate with other basic and clinical investigators.

All will be accomplished via close interaction with the other 450 graduate students and 800 post-doctoral candidates of the Kellogg School of Science and Technology of TSRI, the faculty of TSRI, STSI, and Scripps Clinic.

Program Curriculum

The curriculum of the MCTI KL2 Scholars Program includes a series of required courses/seminars offered through the Kellogg School of Science and Technology, which is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 graduate schools in the biologic and chemical sciences by US News and World Report.

Required courses in scientific ethics, basic biostatistics, clinical trial design and grant writing, human genomics, and molecular medicine will be completed during the first or second year of the program. Electives from Kellogg School’s extensive course offerings are also available.

Scholar Research Activity

Seminar-based study of clinical trial design, biostatistics, and fundamental basic science represent a minority of the scholar’s activity, however. The majority of time is spent refining research skills and conducting translational research, either basic or clinical. Scholars have an opportunity to participate in laboratory rotations during which they learn scientific techniques as they apply to areas such as stem cell research, genome sequencing, informatics, drug discovery, and much more. After an introduction to the research laboratories, the scholar will identify a field of research and a laboratory in which he/she intends to complete his/her Master’s thesis.

Unique features of the program include specialty training tracks in Genomic Medicine and Wireless Health that allow the scholar to study and make contributions in these burgeoning fields. Moreover, subspecialty tracks in virtually any discipline of translational medicine are available to our scholars. Nearly all of our scholars have studied in more than one discipline, for example completing a translational basic science thesis project while participating in the conception and completion of clinical trials ongoing at our institute.

Over the course of 2-3 years, the scholar will conduct intensive study in one of the laboratories at TSRI, STSI, or one of the affiliated research centers of the STSI/CTSA program. During this time frame, the scholar will prepare his/her thesis, receive guidance and counsel from his/her thesis advisory committee, publish at least one but likely several manuscripts related to his/her project(s), and select one manuscript to defend for the Master’s Degree.

Apply

The KL2 Clinical Scholars Program is currently full. Please check back in Fall 2016 regarding potential openings for July 2017.

Summary

The KL2 Clinical Scholars Program offered by STSI provides an energetic and scientifically minded young clinician with the tools that will allow him/her to bridge the void that exists between the bench and bedside. This practice and study career development program provides scholars with the skills and opportunities to allow them to make fundamental contributions to medical science that may impact generations to come. These capabilities will be acquired in a brief 2-3 years, with a competitive stipend provided and the intent that the scholar will remain 20-25% clinically active in his/her field of medicine.

Laura Nicholson, MD

We provide our resident scholars with the clinical and translational research training required to bring scientific discoveries together with unmet clinical needs. They learn collaborative science that expedites important new findings towards improved human health.

Laura Nicholson, MD, PhD

Co-Director, Education

Current KL2 Scholars

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Contact

Scripps Translational Science Institute
Attn: KL2 Master’s Program
3344 North Torrey Pines Court, Suite 300
La Jolla, CA 92037 USA
TEL: 858-554-5768
FAX: 858-546-9272
gthill@scripps.edu