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Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program logo

The Tri-Institutional MD-PhD, or Tri-I, program is an innovative biomedical partnership between the Weill Cornell Medical College (WMC), The Rockefeller University(RU) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). [1][2][3]Located in the Upper East Side of New York City, the Tri-I campus is led by Harold Varmus (President of MSKCC), Sir Paul Nurse (President of RU) and Antonio Gotto is the Dean of WMC. Dr. Olaf Andersen of Weill Cornell directs and Ruth Gotian manages the program.



Weill Medical Center

Students complete medical studies at Weill Cornell and may choose a PhD thesis advisor in any of the institutions. Each year about 350 students apply for on average 12 positions; the positions are funded by National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) for the full length of training (usually 7-8 years). Applicants often have strong undergraduate science preparation, extensive laboratory experience and strong MCAT test scores.

The medical curriculum is characterized by Problem Based Learning and early exposure to medical interviewing. While the Cornell Medical Center is frequented by Manhattan celebrities and the wealthy, opportunities to serve in the new student-run free clinic or abroad in Haiti, Brazil, Tanzania or Weill Cornell-Qatar campus are also available.

Students arrive the July 4th weekend before their first year of medical school to complete one of three rotations for the summer. The first year curriculum is similar to Cornell MD students except that MD-PhD students take Frontiers in Biomedical Sciences I (Frontiers). Students complete a second rotation after their first year and complete second year of Cornell MD curriculum while taking Frontiers II and the USMLE in June. The Thesis Years (3,4,5 and maybe 6 and 7): Students complete thesis research and graduate school requirements in one of the 270 laboratories on Tri-I campus. Clinical electives and courses are offered to keep students up to date with their medical training and clinical skills. During the 6th and 7th years, students complete clinical requirements at Cornell and pursue any electives.


The Tri-I program boasts extensive medical and basic science resources. Notable achievements in the past year include the ranking of MSKCC as the nation's top cancer center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital ranked 7th by the U.S. News & World Report, and Rockefeller University as a top biomedical graduate school for cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and structural biology. The institution has been associated with 23 Nobel Prize winners in its 100 year history.

Notable faculty


Subsidized housing by the program is available to Tri-I students for all years. The first year is based in Olin Hall with dorm-style rooms, at 69th St and York Avenue across the street from the medical college, while years 2-4 are based in Lasdon Hall with apartment style rooms. Students have option of moving to Sloan Kettering or Rockefeller housing for years 5-completion.


The Students often proceed to internal medicine or pathology residencies either at Weill Cornell Medical College, Harvard University (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital) or University of California, San Francisco. The program has been successful, as 80% of the nearly 150 graduates now hold academic posts in a basic research or clinical capacity.

See also


  1. ^ Paul Smaglik. New York: Building cooperation.Nature. vol. 419, no. 4-5 (September 2002). Accessed July 3, 2008.
  2. ^ Weill Cornell: from scholars to scientists. The Scientist. November 22, 2004. Accessed July 3, 2008
  3. ^ Stem Cell Research in New York City Receives Pivotal Boost From The Starr Foundation; New Tri-Institutional Collaboration Aimed at Realizing Potential of Stem Cell Research. AScribe Medicine News Service. May 23, 2005. Accessed July 3, 2008.

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