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The T35 Summer Program for Medical Students is the first step towards becoming a clinician-scientist

About the Program

The T35 Summer Program combines the resources available at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern University to offer experiences in basic science and health services and outcomes research.

Funded by the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and under the direction of Program Director Daniela Ladner, MD MPH, the T35  Northwestern Summer Research Program for Medical Students began in Summer 2022.  This program builds on the established multidisciplinary research infrastructure primarily within the Divisions of Nephrology, Gastroenterology, and Endocrinology and the Comprehensive Transplant Center (CTC).

Our aim is to identify and recruit 8 academically promising medical students and foster their development into the next generation of clinician scientists in areas of interest to the NIDDK: Diabetes, Endocrinology & Obesity, Digestive Diseases (i.e., liver cirrhosis), Kidney diseases, Urologic Diseases and Nutrition. This T35 opportunity encourages students from underrepresented minorities (race, ethnicity, disability, LGBTQ+, disadvantaged background) and women to apply.

We have 32 NIH-funded mentors participating in this program, resulting in a 1:4 ratio of trainee/mentor and providing ample opportunity for interested students to work with a mentor they pair well with.

The program consists of 8-10 weeks of mentored and paid research and didactics including:

  • Hands-on research experience
  • Daily lectures
  • Weekly group trainee meetings
  • A full-day retreat with a NIDDK-funded visiting professor
  • A poster session at the end of the summer

About Our Director

Daniela Ladner, MD, MPH

Daniela Ladner, MD, MPH

John Benjamin Murphy Professor of Surgery (Organ Transplantation) and Medical Social Sciences
Vice Chair of Research & Innovation, Department of Surgery 
Director Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative (NUTORC) 
Director CTC Summer Student Immersion Program 
Associate Surgical Director Liver Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Transplantation 


Daniela Ladner, MD, MPH serves as the Program Director for this NIH T35 Summer Research Program for Medical Students. Dr. Ladner is a clinically active transplant surgeon, a well-funded scientist, and a passionate and dedicated mentor. She is the John Benjamin Murphy Professor of Surgery and serves as the Vice-Chair of Research and Innovation in the Department of Surgery.  She was also awarded Northwestern’s 2023 Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.   

In the past decade, she additionally created and served as the Program Director for the Comprehensive Transplant Center’s Summer Student Immersion Program, an unpaid summer immersion program to students (undergraduates, M1s and M2s) who are interested in transplant research.   Alongside Dr. Richard Green, Dr. Ladner is the Program Director for the T32 Transplant Surgery Scientist Transplant Program, a postdoctoral program designed to set up residents and fellows for a successful academic career in transplantation (hepatology & surgery). 

Dr. Ladner is also the Founding Director of the Northwestern University Transplant Outcomes Research Collaborative (NUTORC), a transdisciplinary outcomes research group that brings together diverse expertise across Northwestern University to tackle transplant and end-organ disease related questions.  Dr. Ladner's research expertise is in liver cirrhosis and transplantation, with a focus on epidemiology and risk prediction in liver cirrhosis and process improvement related to transplantation. To this end, she is Principal Investigator for two NIH-funded grants that study patients with cirrhosis, risk prediction, social determinants of health and economic implications in large population-based cohorts in collaboration with Dr. Charles Manski and Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra (RISCC and LIVOPT). Moreover, she is leading the Scientific and Data Coordinating Center (SDCC) for the NIDDK sponsored Liver Cirrhosis Network (LCN) - a study across 10 hepatology centers to study cirrhosis - as Principal Investigator together with Dr. Jody Ciolino. With a focus on social determinants of health, she is also a Principal Investigator for a NIDDK U01 Award titled, “Improving access to renal transplantation for Underserved Black Communities” along with Dr. Dinee Simpson and Dr. Kiarri Kershaw. Intramurally, she is supported to examine top-down proteomic markers of decompensation and death for patients with cirrhosis and to investigate an implementation pathway for guideline adherent care for cirrhosis patients.    


2023 Mentor of the Year Recipient

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