Pediatric Physician Scientist Training Program

Pediatric Physician Scientist Training Program

The University of Minnesota Pediatric PSTP is designed for residents who already have an advanced research degree (e.g. MD/PhD, MD/MPH) or other significant prior research experience and who are interested in pursuing an investigative career.  The PSTP works closely with Pediatric Fellowship Programs to recruit applicants interested in pursuing both residency and fellowship training at the University of Minnesota, and provides research-focused activities during residency. 

Residents in the PSTP typically pursue the Integrated Research Pathway (IRP) or Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP) offered by the American Board of Pediatrics.  The IRP provides up to 12 months of protected research time during a 3-year residency.  The ARP shortens residency training to 2 years, but extends subspecialty fellowship training from 3 to 4 years.  Applicants interested in the PSTP Pathway should apply to the categorical program through ERAS and should notify the PSTP Director, Bryce Binstadt, by email at or by phone at (612)625-2953 or contact the Senior Pediatric Residency Program Administrator, Amy Gaug, by email at Applicants may rank both the PSTP Program and the Categorical Program in NRMP at the time of rank list submissions.

Lauren"I completed my MD and PhD as part of the University of Minnesota Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), as well as an MPH at the University of Wisconsin prior to starting medical school. My MPH was focused on Biostatistics, studying adolescent media use and mental health with Dr. Megan Moreno. I completed my PhD in Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology with Dr. Melissa Gardner studying mechanical mechanisms regulating cell division in the context of cancer and other cellular disease phenotypes. Our work revealed a novel centromere mechanical maturation process that is critical to the fidelity of chromosome segregation during mitosis. Currently, I work with Dr. Kyriakie Sarafoglou studying Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) and the effects of early androgen exposure and cortisol replacement on neuropsychiatric outcomes.  My long-term career goal is to become a tenure-track, pediatric physician-scientist at an academic health center. My scientific interests lie in applying quantitative approaches to understanding complex problems in child health and development, and my clinical interests are focused in Endocrinology, specifically disorders of sex development, and Neonatology. I chose to pursue the PSTP’s Integrated Research Pathway in order to integrate my research time throughout all three years of residency, and to give me more time to develop my clinical interests before deciding on a fellowship program. I’m excited to take the next steps in my training as a member of the Pediatric Residency Program and PSTP at the University of Minnesota!"

Here is a link to Dr. Harasymiw's bibliography.

-Lauren Harasymiw, MD, PhD, Pediatric Residency PL-1, PSTP Track

zach"I completed my MD and PhD at the Medical College of Wisconsin. There, I earned a PhD in Biochemistry & the Translational Sciences where the focus of my work was to study the mechanisms by which our innate immune system responds to viral infection, and how these responses influence the induction of autoimmune diabetes. Our work has led to the identification of CCR5 as an important cell surface receptor required for macrophage production of inflammatory genes (including cytokines, prostaglandins, and nitric oxide; molecules long thought to contribute to beta-cell damage and the pathogenesis of diabetes) in response to viral infection. We also characterized the mechanisms by which pancreatic beta-cells are able to defend against viral infection. My long-term goals are to be a physician scientist whose clinical and scientific work focuses on autoimmune and autoinflammatory disease.  Broadly, I hope to subspecialize as a Pediatric Rheumatologist and to study the mechanisms by which peripheral immune tolerance is generated and how environmental factors (like viral infection) influence the immune system’s ability to either appropriately or aberrantly discriminate self (our tissues) from non-self (foreign molecules and pathogens).

When applying for Pediatric residency programs, I found the University of Minnesota PSTP to be a perfect fit for both my clinical and scientific goals. The UMN provides both strong, general & subspecialty Pediatric training, and has nationally recognized basic science immunology research and Global Health/infectious disease programs. And most importantly, the UMN functions in a collaborative environment that enhances our education as trainees and the quality of health care that the communities we serve deserves."

Here is a link to Dr. Shaheen's bibliography.

-Zach Shaheen, MD, Pediatric Residency PL-2, PSTP track

George"I graduated from the University of Athens School of Medicine in Greece. After graduation and having always been excited to combine clinical practice with research, I moved to the U.S. where I participated in both clinical and basic science research as a post-doctoral research fellow at the UT Southwestern Medical Center and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, respectively. During my basic science postdoctoral fellowship, I was primarily involved in two projects. In my first project, I studied the contribution of reactive oxygen species (ROS), enzymatically produced by NADPH-oxidases, in cardiovascular complications in sickle cell anemia (SCA). In my second project, I investigated the role of the VPS4A gene in erythroblast mitosis, cytokinesis, and erythrocyte maturation, validating its pathogenetic role in Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anemia (CDA) type I. After matching in the PSTP track at the University of Minnesota, I joined Dr. Jakub Tolar’s research team, an internationally recognized expert in the field of stem cell and umbilical cord transplantation. My current research efforts are focusing on exploring the role of two novel genes in Dyskeratosis Congenita, a rare, progressive bone marrow failure syndrome with very high mortality. Following completion of my pediatrics residency, my goal is to subspecialize in hematology-oncology and BMT. The University of Minnesota PSTP track was clearly the ideal stepping stone for my career and setting my life goals."

Here is a link to Dr. Christakopoulos' bibliography.

-Georgios Christakopoulos, MD, Pediatric Residency PL-3, PSTP track

Follow this link to meet some Fellows/Alumni of the Pediatric Physician Scientist Training Program!