Scott M. Thompson
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in the classics from Brown University in Rhode Island, Scott M. Thompson returned to his roots in Rochester, Minn., to attend medical school in 2007.
Scott got intrigued by clinical and translational science after taking the Introduction to Clinical Research course during his first year of medical school. This led him to become one of the first scholars in the M.D.-M.S. Program, which is specifically for medical students. In 2010, he transferred to the M.D.-Ph.D. Program (Medical Scientist Training Program).
Scott says that earning a Ph.D. in clinical and translational science in addition to his medical degree will make him a better physician.
As he explains, "I see clinical and translational science as the intersection between research and the immediate needs of the patient. I want to integrate my future clinical and research practice by taking the problems and challenges I see facing my patients and asking, 'How can I better understand these issues and improve care for my patients?' "
Scott's research interests span many disciplines, including vascular and interventional radiology, diagnostic radiology, oncology, pathology, imaging informatics, cell and molecular biology, and mathematical modeling.
As such, his Ph.D. research project, which focuses on optimizing thermal tumor ablation, has a multidisciplinary approach that combines physiological imaging, liver vascular physiology, energy- and catheter-based devices for tumor ablation, animal models for studying liver hemodynamics and cancer, molecular biology of cancer cell resistance and death, and mathematical and computer modeling of bioheat transfer.
Scott hopes his project will help translate recent interventional oncology advances in basic science, biomedical engineering, imaging informatics and therapeutics into cost-effective and targeted treatments for patients.
The M.D.-Ph.D. Program, says Scott, is broadening his knowledge and providing the skills necessary to critically review clinical and translational research and to collaborate with both basic scientists and clinical researchers. He enjoys Mayo Clinic's "spirit of collaboration, accessibility of faculty and the incredible resources available to students."
A strong focus on mentoring is a key differentiator of the clinical and translational science training programs offered by the Mayo Clinic Center for Translational Science Activities. Scholars select their own mentors from among Mayo Clinic faculty. The mentor's role is to provide personalized guidance and support for the scholar's research project and career development.
Scott's formal program mentors are Matthew R. Callstrom, M.D., Ph.D., David A. Woodrum, M.D., Ph.D., and Joseph P. Grande, M.D., Ph.D., all of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Given the complexity of the questions he's pursuing, Scott was encouraged to expand his mentoring team to include multiple perspectives, so he's sought further mentorship from a unique group of Mayo faculty with expertise in basic science, clinical and translational research, and clinical practice.
These mentors — James C. Andrews, M.D.; Zeljko Bajzer, Ph.D.; Daniel J. Blezek, Ph.D.; Rickey E. Carter, Ph.D.; Bradley J. Erickson, M.D., Ph.D.; Krzysztof R. Gorny, Ph.D.; Scott H. Kaufmann, M.D., Ph.D.; Bruce E. Knudsen; and Cynthia H. McCollough, Ph.D., all of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. — are helping him develop his current research project while also supporting his growth as a professional and academic.
"Each mentor fosters a spirit of inquiry and provides me with unique perspectives and expertise," says Scott. "At the same time, they challenge me to develop my confidence and skills as an independent researcher."