Tanner Martinez ’19 Receives Highly Competitive Medical Scientist Training Program Award

head and shoulder image of a male student with short dark hair

Rhodes senior Tanner Martinez is the recipient of a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) award, which provides highly qualified individuals opportunities to pursue a combined MD-PhD degree in order to care for patients and to conduct research. MSTPs are funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

This summer, Martinez will enter the MSTP at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
 “I am excited to continue my education at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine because of Pritzker’s great research opportunities in immunology and its dedication to ameliorating the health care disparities on the South Side of Chicago. This program sets me up well to continue my goal of becoming a physician-scientist to research and treat patients diagnosed with the catastrophic illnesses of childhood.”
A biochemistry and molecular biology major from Mercer Island, WA, Martinez has been a St. Jude Summer Plus Fellow working in the lab of Dr. Hans-Martin Herz in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For three years, he has been conducting research at the hospital with a focus on understanding more about genes that are frequently mutated in cancer and how they contribute to regulation of chromatin and cis-regulatory genomic elements called enhancers. 

“It is only because of the opportunities available to me through Rhodes that I am able to join an MSTP this year,” says Martinez. He adds that his advisor, biology professor Terry Hill, has had a profound influence on his career at Rhodes. 

Other Rhodes alumni who have participated in MSTPs include Michael Burke ’05, accepted in 2007 at Stony Brook University; Sinifunanya Nwaobi ’07, accepted in 2007 at University of Alabama at Birmingham; Alex Tong ’11, accepted in 2011 at Case Western Reserve University; Emily Woods ’12, accepted in 2012 at Emory University; Grace Mosley ’14, accepted in 2014 at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Matthew Roberts ’14, accepted in 2016 at Medical University of South Carolina; Emily Hayward ’16, accepted in 2016 at University of Alabama at Birmingham; Ashley Truong ’16, accepted in 2018 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Pryce Michener ’17, accepted in 2018 at University of Massachusetts.