Research rotations introduce MSTP students to the laboratory opportunities available through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. MSTP students complete a minimum of two rotations, finishing the first in the summer prior to entering year one of medical school and completing the second in the summer between year one and year two of medical school. A third rotation may be completed after passing USMLE Step I prior to selecting a PhD thesis mentor. In rare circumstances, a fourth rotation may also be carried out.
During each of the rotations, students work on a research project with the aim of learning laboratory skills and research approaches. Students are encouraged to use the rotations to acquire a variety of skills and to gain familiarity with a range of research areas, including areas that they may not have explored before. The rotations also expose students to the culture and atmosphere in the different graduate programs and help students identify their dissertation laboratory. In practice, students always do a rotation before making a final commitment to join a laboratory for their dissertation.
Rotations are arranged in consultation with program leadership who meet with each student individually to explore research interests and help students find rotations that meet their goals. Rotations must be conducted in the laboratories of members of the GSBS faculty.
Rotations are evaluated in writing and graded by the rotation mentor with a letter grade. Success in a laboratory rotation is measured by skills acquired, effort demonstrated, and knowledge obtained, not by the success of the experiments attempted.