Physician Scientist Pathway (PSTP)

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 submission. The program will be offering 3 specific research interview days: Thursday November 15, Thursday December 6th, and Thursday December 13.


George Christakopoulos"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."

-Georgios Christakopoulos, MD, Pediatric Residency PL-2, PSTP track


 Shawn Mahmud"I completed my PhD thesis research with Dr. Mike Farrar in the Center for Immunology at the University of Minnesota where I studied the development of a subset of T cells called regulatory T cells, or ‘Tregs’.  Tregs are CD4+ T cells that develop in the thymus and in the peripheral lymphoid organs.  These cells are unique in that they restrain (regulate) immune responses by a variety of mechanisms.  Quantitative and qualitative deficiencies in Treg cells have been associated with human autoimmune disease, and Tregs show promise as potential therapy in autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.  Notably, Dr. Bruce Blazar and colleagues at the U of MN have shown that Treg cell therapy is effective as prophylaxis against acute graft versus host disease in BMT.  My research helped elucidate how stimulation by several members of the TNF receptor superfamily guide developing CD4 single positive thymocytes to divert into the Treg lineage.  I showed that TNF receptor superfamily stimulation engenders heightened sensitivity to interleukin-2 in developing Tregs — IL-2 is a key cytokine required for Treg differentiation.  More recently, I have been exploring a project with Dr. Bryce Binstadt (Pediatric rheumatology) looking at Treg function and exogenous replacement in a mouse model of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis — a devastating disease characterized by marked immune dysregulation."

-Shawn Mahmud, MD, PhD, Alumni and Pediatric Rheumatology Fellow


 beising"I am pursuing my fellowship in pediatric pulmonology here at the University of Minnesota.  My fellowship research is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis.  We are currently using single-cell whole transcriptome RNA sequencing approaches to identify fibrinogenic fibroblast sub-populations from patients with pulmonary fibrosis.  This research will hopefully lead to a better understanding and improved outcomes for children suffering from fibrotic lung diseases.  This project spans multiple disciplines and departments and is well suited to the open, collaborative research environment present at the University of Minnesota."

-Daniel Beising, MD, PhD, Alumni and Pediatric Pulmonology Fellow