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A new $3.5 million grant will provide two medical students at the University with complete scholarships for a period of six years to study internal medicine. Portions of the grant from the Lucille Markey Charitable Trust will also go to two internal medicine students from Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and Washington University in St. Louis. The grant will be used to fund the Four Schools Physician Scientist Program, which is in its third year and pays for six years of fully funded training for students who are interested in becoming physician scientists. "As the resources of each school grow increasingly limited, we decided to form a consortium of four schools to generate physician sciences, which is a national need," said Medicine Professor Alfred Fishman, the program's coordinator. After completing their third year of medical school, the eight students will be given the chance to take a year off from medical school to pursue research at any of the four participating schools. The students will then return to their home schools for their final year of medical school and are sponsored through two years of residency and two years of post-doctoral training. "If I were starting over again, it would be a really attractive program to me, especially since some students couldn't afford to pay for this training," Fishman said. Third-year Medical School student Stephen Gruber, one of this year's participants in the program, described the program as a "unique opportunity." Gruber said that he eventually wants to get an academic position in the field of epidemiology. Gruber, who completed his undergraduate education at the University and then obtained a Ph.D. in epidemiology, is spending his research year working in a University molecular biology laboratory. "I've been studying the molecular biology of tumors, and it's already been a worthwhile experience," said Gruber. "I've been able to apply the skills I'm learning to a Parkinson's study that I was working on previously." At the end of the year, Gruber and the other participants in the program will present their research findings at a special convocation ceremony for the students at all four schools. The ceremony was held at the University for the first two years of the program's existence. "The mentor program participants are very close," said Fishman. "They've formed a kind of research society and each year we bring everybody back for convocation."

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