PhD/MD PhD Program Supports New Generation of Scientists, Physicians

Loma Linda University’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program (IMSD) has helped dozens of PhD and MD/PhD students at Loma Linda University continue their graduate training and focus on their specialized research interests in health disparities. IMSD alumni are currently enrolled in competitive residency or post-doctoral programs nationwide.  A number of them are working as faculty or scientists in academia, industry, or government.

Current and former IMSD program participants share how the program has helped prepare them for productive careers in health sciences research.


I am grateful for the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Program's support throughout my academic journey at Loma Linda University. My experience was enriched by the diverse faculty and peers that supported and surrounded me while pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience, Systems Biology, and Bioengineering. From the writing seminars with Dr. Susan Gardner to the yearly encouragement and financial support to present in various scientific meetings, I was encouraged and inspired to grow into the neuroscientist I am today. During my time in the program, I conducted relevant evidence-informed research to improve health risks and reduce disparities in adolescents exposed to early life stress and obesogenic environments. I was honored to be part of the team of scientists contributing to understanding the impact of social determinants of health at the Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine. I will take the comprehensive formation provided by the IMSD program with me and continue to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce with my scientific contributions and leadership. ~ Perla Ontiveros-Ángel, B. Eng, PhD