Pediatric Scientist Development Program

PedSDP group


Our mission is to develop pediatrician-scientists through an individualized six-year program that combines residency and fellowship. Our trainees embody excellence in care, inquiry, and leadership.


Our vision is to be the leader in developing pediatrician-scientists dedicated to improving child health through discovery.

Who Should Apply?

We are looking for candidates who possess a proven track record of interest and skill in discovery in a broad set of scientific disciplines - MD, PhD graduates as well as others with significant research experience in clinical basic science.


The curriculum for the Pediatric Scientist Residency Program track is focused on mentoring, educational conferences, and development of the resident's skills. 

A key component of the PedSDP is a longitudinal curriculum that is designed to facilitate mentoring experiences, integrate scientific management topics and develop individual leadership skills. These goals will be accomplished through:

Mentoring Development

  • Mentoring begins in Intern year with Bridges Mentoring Program
  • Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) forms early in residency; SOC can change composition over time
  • Program Directors attend as ex officio
  • Leadership Academy yearly with longitudinal curriculum

Teaching Conferences

  • Monthly seminars with focus on career development and introduction to NIH
  • Rangos Research seminars feature cutting edge basic research (choose 1 to attend each month)
  • United Fellows Course (UFC) includes responsible conduct of research, statistical analysis, intro to IRB
  • Access to Office of Academic Development seminars and presentations 
  • Each year of program ends with PedSDP focused retreat for trainees in all PGYs


  • Deliverables are flexible but serious goals
    • Scholarly work product (review or case report) in 2nd to 3rd year of residency 
    • Compete for T32 within first years of Fellowship
    • First author scholarly work product before last year of fellowship
    • Development of award application in last year of fellowship
  • Focus on writing and publishing frequently 
  • Travel funds for meeting attendance 
  • Integration into Department of Medicine NRSA writing course

Program Funding Opportunities

Burroughs Wellcome Scholar Application

Physician Scientist Incubator Program

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have partnered to form a new Physician Scientist Incubator to enrich the pool of MD-only (rather than MD-PhD) physicians who lead basic research laboratories. Residents and Fellows seeking careers built on preclinical research can apply for competitive Burroughs Wellcome Scholar positions supported by the Incubator. The Burroughs Wellcome Scholars receive laboratory biostatistics training, technical expertise consulting as needed, executive coaching (workshops and nine individual sessions of career and resiliency coaching), transactional and leadership skill training, and the opportunity for technician support on return to clinical training post research. In addition, the program provides tuition and travel support, a time management bonus (restricted to personal, non-academic time demands), and up to two years of stipend support for those not supported by other mechanisms, such as, training grants. 

Apply now.


The overarching goal of the Pittsburgh Innovation in Collaborative Training of Residents alliance, or PICTOR alliance program, is to create the next generation of physician scientists by promoting research in residency.

The PICTOR alliance program:

  • Draws upon the experience of established investigators focused on research along the continuum of the lifespan, from childhood to adulthood and from health to disease
  • Integrates residency programs in the Departments of Medicine, Pathology, Pediatrics, and Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Allows up to four outstanding residents per year to engage in either basic translational or clinical translational research in the cardiovascular, lung, sleep, and blood fields

Learn more.

Program Training 

The PedSDP is a flexible track providing key experiences in mentoring, administrative fundamentals, and leadership development. Candidates can pursue an Integrated (IRP) or Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP) to provide more research time during residency (IRP) or fellowship (ARP). Preferential fellowship acceptance at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh programs is provided with extra training opportunities beginning in the intern year. 

Learn more about UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Fellowships

Integrated Research Pathway

  • Residents enter IRP
    • 36 months of residency training (39 blocks)
    • 3 dedicated blocks in Resident 1 (can be contiguous or distributed)
    • 6 dedicated blocks in Resident 2 (should be contiguous, most likely with identified mentor/SOC member)

Accelerated Research Pathway

  • Residents enter ARP
    • 24 months of residency training
    • 4 years of fellowship training (with 12 extra months of research integrated)

Program Leadership

Learn more about Pediatric Scientist Development Program Directors, Committee, and Administration

Contact Information

Andy Nowalk, MD, PhD

Jackie Ho, MD

Kristin Santoro