Health Students


Ideally, UCSF learners enter the Molecular Medicine Pathway (MMP) in the first year so that exploration is guided by directors throughout the duration of training via:

  • Individual Development Plans: Learners and directors meet annually to review learner progress in research training, career development, career choice, and dissemination
  • Case Conference: Meeting twice monthly, the Molecular Medicine Case Conference enables faculty, researchers, and learners from across UCSF to consider the research related to patient diagnosis and care
  • Quarterly Dinners: MMP directors host informal gatherings of learners, faculty, and guests


Requirements for the Molecular Medicine Pathway vary depending on the health professional training program.

Dentistry and Pharmacy Students

Learners in the Schools of Dentistry and Pharmacy complete requirements similar to those detailed below for medical students, but specific coursework, the nature of the research experience, and the way in which participation will be recognized beyond a certificate of completion, is currently being examined and individualized training plans will be developed through consultation with the student and school leadership.

Medical Students

Molecular Medicine Pathway requires an extension of training to 5 years in order to complete the requirements:


  • One quarter elective is required to be audited during the research year. This course is to be chosen from Graduate Program in Biomedical Science (BMS),  Program in Biological Science (PIBS), or Quantitative Biosciences Consortium (QBC), graduate courses in immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, neuroscience, human genetics, or other pertinent topics with permission of the MMP.  Students with little or no background in science beyond college-level, pre-medical coursework may choose to enroll in BMS 260 Cell Biology (fall) or BMS 255 Genetics (winter) in place of a topical elective.

Experiential Research Component

  • The experiential activity for medical students is a fifth year in which the student will undertake an appropriately designed, year-long laboratory research experience between years three and four of the Clinical Core.  Students will receive a stipend and their medical school tuition for that year will be waived.
  • Each student will be assigned an advisor at UCSF who will work with the student to identify three or more research mentors, chosen from the list of approved mentors in the MMP, with whom the student should interview.  The list of approved research mentors is chosen by the MMP Executive Committee, based on the mentors' ability and interest in providing a one-year research experience for health professions students. Visit the Our Staff and Faculty Page page for the list of approved research mentors, who may be faculty from any of the UCSF schools.

Journal Club and Case Conference

  • One full year of weekly journal club participation is also required during the research year.  BMS 198 Journal Club or the MSTP Journal Club will ususally satisfy this requirement.  Students also will participate in the bi-weekly Molecular Medicine Case Conference with Molecular Medicine Pathway Residents and Associated Fellows.  This will consist of a 90 minute session occurring on alternate Friday mornings where a patient case will be discussed by a MMP faculty member, highlighting the molecular aspects of pathophysiology, diagnosis and management, followed by a journal club presentation by a MMP Student or Resident.

Individual Development Plan

  • Students will develop an Individual Development Plan with their advisor and research mentor, in consultation with the MMP Directors, that will be reviewed annually by a "professional development" committee within the MMP during the student's progress through the 5-year training program.


  • Student will be expected to present their work at Pathways Research Day during their research year or final year of school.  In addition, students will present their work at national meetings at the discretion of their research advisor.  In some cases, students are able to publish the content of their thesis in a peer-reviewed journal with the assistance of their research advisor.