Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

The Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology

Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)

The Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology has established an integrated Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) for graduates of MD/PhD programs and for recently graduated MDs who have had extensive experience in the conduct of research. The intent of this program is to facilitate the transition from neurology residency training to a productive career in biomedical research. Research training will start during the PGY-3 year. The trainees will be given the opportunity to spend their elective months doing either basic or clinical research. Research training will be completed under the mentorship of a faculty member at Northwestern University.

Clinical Training

According to the ACGME guidelines in creating flexible training paths for neurologists/ neuroscientists we offer a training path for the neurology residents interested in pursuing a research career. Trainees are expected to complete an ACGME accredited year of training in Preliminary Medicine. Neurology training includes a minimum of 18 months of clinical adult neurology rotations as required by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) including at least six months experience in outpatient adult neurology. Training at Northwestern provides the opportunity to care for a diverse patient base and interact with our numerous and talented clinical faculty members. Clinical rotations will encompass both inpatient and outpatient rotations at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and affiliated clinics.

Research Training 

Research training will start during the PGY-3 year. The trainees will be given the opportunity to spend their elective months doing either basic or clinical research. Research training will be completed under the mentorship of any faculty member at Northwestern University. Applicants will be encouraged to interview potential research mentors before or early during their clinical fellowship training. Final selection of a research mentor will be made with the assistance of the program mentor. During research training, a mentoring committee consisting of the program mentor, research mentor and at least one other faculty member knowledgeable in the chosen area of research will be formed to assess the trainee and ensure progress towards independence. Trainees will be encouraged to work on the research proposals for the junior investigator (K-award) to be submitted by the end of the residency.

R25 NINDS Research Education Program

Our department is a recipient of the R25 NINDS grant for research education programs for the residents, which allows interested and qualified trainees to start research training during the last year of residency. The selected trainee gets six to nine months protected research time during the last two years of residency training being mentored by the experienced faculty member and prepared to submit a K junior investigator grant. The research track can be either clinical or bench work. The grant also provides funding for post-residency research fellowship training.

Financial Support 

Trainees in the PSTP are guaranteed support for their clinical training years. Trainees in their research years will be encouraged, with the support of their research mentor, to seek outside support to help facilitate their transition to independence. In addition to salary support for postgraduate years one through six as stipulated by the Office of Graduate Medical Education, the following financial support will be provided to trainee:

Application Process

Applicants should apply to the Advanced Neurology Training Program of the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University through ERAS. In addition to their application through ERAS, applicants should submit a Northwestern University Neurology PSTP application. If not already included in ERAS, applicants should also submit a letter of recommendation from their principal research mentor, one additional letter from an individual familiar with their research potential, and copies of all published research publications.

Applicants will be notified if they are invited to interview. Interviews for the program will occur concurrently with interviews for the Advanced Neurology Training Program. Acceptance into the program will be via the NRMP and will be based on commitment to and potential for a career in academic neurology as a physician-scientist.

Contact Us

Contact our directors for more information about the PSTP program or to submit an application.


Danny Bega, MD, MSCI
Residency Director 
Department of Neurology
Feinberg School of Medicine

Puneet Opal, MD, PhD

Puneet Opal, MD, PhD
Neurology PSTP Director
Associate Professor of Neurology

Meet Our PTSP Participants

Find brief bios of our current and former participants via the following links.

Current PTSP Participants

Former PTSP Participants

Housestaff Research Portal

Feinberg has the infrastructure and resources to assist McGaw trainees interested in conducting scientific research. Visit our Housestaff Research Portal to learn more.