Five-Year Clinician-Scientist Residency

The 5-year pathway is for the emergent academic radiologist who wishes to perform research and publish early in residency. These residents push the limits of radiology knowledge to position themselves for a prestigious position in academic radiology. 

This program is designed to train the future generation of clinician-scientists. It is an integrated research and clinical training program that provides the trainee with approximately 1.5 years of dedicated laboratory research and 3.5 years of clinical experience. The program is supported in part by a NIH T32 training grant and accepts 3 trainees/year. The program is currently organized as follows:

Program Structure 

  • One Year of Research (PGY2): Typically, the resident will begin the year by meeting with multiple radiology laboratory leaders to select a research mentor, laboratory, and a project that will best meet the resident's research goals. The Radiology Department has several world-renowned investigators with a long track record in mentoring successful scientists and covering all aspect of imaging and organ systems. Residents also have the option to select a mentor from other departments. Should the resident choose a mentor from another department, they must also choose a secondary mentor from radiology to ensure that the research focus is directed towards imaging science.

The first year is dedicated to research and there are no clinical obligations. The salary during the research year is commensurate with that of the clinical PGY2 position. Participation in clinical conferences and society meetings is encouraged. Travel expenses are provided for scientific conferences for residents who are presenting authors.

  • Four Years of Clinical Radiology (PGY3 – PGY6) that incorporates approximately six weeks of protected research time each year.

Department Facilities

  • 3T MR unit, under the directorship of Graham Bydder, renowned MR scientist and researcher for basic and applied research. Dr. Bydder has a long record of performing superior clinical research.
  • Keck Functional MRI Center, with four dedicated research magnets for both animal and human studies.
  • Radiology Imaging Laboratory (RIL) that houses the MEG program (under the direction of Dr. Roland Lee) and a 1.5T magnet.
  • Small Animal Imaging Resource at the Moores Cancer Center that houses MRI, PET, Planar Scintigraphy, CT, Ultrasound, and a time-domain Optical rodent imaging system, as well as Radiochemistry and radiolabeling.
  • Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging laboratories.

In addition, we are continually updating our magnets, scanners, angiography suites and other clinical imaging facilities to provide the latest tools for clinical research.

Eligibility & Application Process

Applicants must apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Applicants for our specialty tracks, Research and DIRECT Pathway, must also apply through ERAS and participate in the NRMP.

Applicants must be in their fourth year of medical school or a graduate of an American or Canadian medical school (including osteopathic schools).  In addition, the applicant must either be eligible for licensure or hold a valid medical license in the State of California.

International Medical Graduates will be considered on an individual basis.  UCSD accepts ECFMG-sponsored J-1 visas. Please note that H-1B visas are not available to trainees at our institution.

This residency program requires a non-radiology clinical internship prior to beginning radiology training. The application process for internship is entirely separate from this radiology residency application process.  Your internship does not need to be at UC San Diego Medical Center. Most of our residents complete a Preliminary Medicine, Surgery, or Transitional Internship.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Please submit all application materials by October 15.

Our Selection Committee will review all applications, including the Student Performance Evaluation Letters (Dean's Letter) in early November. If selected, you will be contacted to schedule a personal interview.

Please do not anticipate any correspondence from our Selection Committee concerning interviews until the end of November. We receive over 500 applications each year and interview approximately 80 applicants annually.  All interviews are scheduled during the month of January.

We seek candidates with a strong educational background and well-rounded academic and personal experiences. Our primary goal is to train fundable academic radiologists with a research emphasis. At the same time, we offer broad and varied clinical training, as we believe superior clinical skills are necessary for success as a clinician-scientist.


Claude Sirlin, MD
Program Co-Director, 5-Year Research Residency
University of California, San Diego
Isabel Newton, MD, PhD
Program Co-Director, 5-Year Research Residency
University of California, San Diego