Washington University Physician-Scientist Post-Bac Scholars Program

The mission of the Post-baccalaureate (Post-bac) program is to provide an intensive, mentored, laboratory research experience for students that will promote their career development, expose them to the physician-scientist career pathway, and strengthen their applications to MD and/or MD/PhD programs. Due to the lack of diversity in scientific research, we highly encourage Under Represented in Medicine (URiM) applicants to apply.


Beth McClendon 

Brittni Cannella 


As the U.S. population becomes more diverse with increasing numbers of people who identify as members of one or more racial and ethnic minority groups, there continues to be limited representation of minorities and disadvantaged populations in medicine and the biomedical workforce. This disparity impacts us all and has the potential to further exacerbate known health inequities. A lack of diversity in the biomedical workforce persists for a variety of reasons, including a lack of academic opportunities and effective support systems within academic medical training programs. It is imperative that our biomedical and physician workforce represents the changing demographics of our country. We feel it is important to identify and recruit talented under-represented in medicine (URiM) students, to promote initiatives that will advance their careers in medicine, and to expose them to the physician-scientist career pathway.

  • The Post-bac program is a two-year, full-time commitment, during which our trainees will study with current post-doctoral trainees in our PSTP. Candidates will work in a laboratory environment to gain experience in basic science and/or translational research.
  • Trainees will receive the necessary training to complete complex laboratory work under the supervision of their PSTP post-doctoral mentor. They will be expected to be engaged, thoughtful, and deeply involved in their research projects. At the end of the two years, the trainee will present their findings to the scientific community at various forums. We fully expect that many trainees will be co-authors on papers describing their research endeavors.
  • The Post-bac program is not curriculum-based and does not provide, nor require, any coursework. Rather, the program is focused on providing a “near-peer” mentoring experience, which includes regular interactions with the post-doctoral PSTP trainee and the Principal Investigator in a research setting.
  • With the help of the post-doctoral PSTP trainee, the Principal Investigator, and the PSTP Post-bac Coordinators, Post-bacs will receive regular mentoring and guidance to prepare their applications for MD and MD/PhD programs. This will include taking/retaking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and help with preparing the personal statement. Trainees will also have opportunities to participate in programming events through the medical, graduate, and MD/PhD programs, including retreats, seminars, poster presentations, and other academic/social events.
Program Benefits
  • The Post-bac program is designed to expose URiM trainees to academic medicine in a research-intense setting. Candidates will gain firsthand experience in working in a laboratory environment at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, an outstanding, research-oriented academic medical institution. They will receive regular input from their mentors on designing, executing, and communicating their research findings, and will publicly present their findings as part of the program (conferences, poster presentations, etc.). Candidates will also meet with the post-bac coordinators at least twice a year to track their progress and well-being, discuss future goals, and address any issues related to mentoring.
  • Candidates will have opportunities to network with other URiM trainees at various levels of medical training, including medical students, residents, post-doctoral trainees, and faculty members. They will also be encouraged to attend conferences to expand their network.
  • Candidates will receive a stipend and a benefits package (including health insurance) for the duration of the two-year program.
  • An additional stipend will be available for candidates who wish to enroll in an MCAT prep course.
  • Candidates will receive funding to travel to one conference during the two-year program.
  • By the end of the Post-bac program, trainees will have developed the confidence and experience to become highly competitive candidates for MD and MD/PhD programs.