Graduate School of Medical Sciences
A partnership with the Sloan Kettering Institute

Weill Cornell IMSD Program

IMSD Scholars 2019

2019 IMSD Fellows

Funded by the NIH/NIGMS, the Weill Cornell Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (Weill Cornell IMSD) aims to increase the number of PhD students from underrepresented backgrounds who are trained to conduct exceptional research and continue as leaders in biomedical research careers. Newly accepted Weill Cornell Graduate School (WCGS) PhD students from underrepresented backgrounds apply to become IMSD fellows after April 15th of each year.

IMSD fellows receive funding during their first four years of training (full funding in years 1 & 2 and partial funding in years 3 & 4). The remainder of funding support is covered by the PI or through other sources as outlined in the financial support section.

Fellows also join a community of diverse scholars at WCGS through Espirt de Corps, receiving support at multiple stages of the PhD training experience, in addition to academic and professional enrichment opportunities. Explore the benefits of the IMSD Program here.

To find out more about the program, please contact the Program Manager, Roxana Mesías, Ph.D. at



2023 IMSD Fellows 


2022 IMSD Fellows 


2021 IMSD Fellows and Scholars


2020 IMSD Fellows 


2019 IMSD Fellows


IMSD-Ex Fellows 


Eligibility and Selection

The Weill Cornell IMSD program is designed for (but not limited to) : 

  • Incoming 1st year PhD students at Weill Cornell Graduate School
  • Individuals who can commit to a summer rotation and the Early Start Program (start date July 1st, 2024)
  • A United States Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Individuals from groups underrepresented in biomedical research as defined by the NIH

Eligible WCGS PhD students complete a short application to be considered for selection by the IMSD Admissions Committee composed of program leadership and graduate program directors. Applications are sent to accepted students with a deadline of April 16th. Four students are selected as IMSD fellows each year. Students are admitted to the IMSD program on the basis of their future potential for success in the program as evidenced by their IMSD and graduate school application and interviews.


Financial Support

Weill Cornell IMSD fellows are fully supported by the IMSD program in years 1 and 2 of their graduate training and partially supported by IMSD in years 3 and 4. In subsequent years, students are supported in full through their labs and graduate programs.

Early Start Program and Summer Rotation

First-year IMSD Fellows start at Weill Cornell in the summer (July 5th) prior to their first semester to conduct an 8-week, summer research rotation in the laboratory of an IMSD faculty member. The early start program (ESP) allows for a smooth transition to Weill Cornell while securing housing, adjusting to the city, and participating in programming that helps to elucidate what to expect in the fall.

The focus areas of the ESP programming fall into three categories: Community Building, Academic Development, and Professional Development. IMSD Fellows participate in weekly meetings, professional development workshops, and social outings. By the end of the ESP, student participants will have formed a strong sense of community and feel more equipped to address their academic and professional endeavors as a collective and supportive network.


Conference Travel Funding: 

IMSD Fellows are eligible to travel to one national meeting during their second year. The goal of this opportunity is to facilitate cultural and scientific integration. In addition, these trips will provide opportunities for the student to network with potential research collaborators and stay abreast of national trends.

Multiple Mentorship: 

IMSD fellows will receive mentorship from multiple sources: IMSD Faculty Mentors and IMSD Coaches. Much like an actual coach, IMSD Coaches will be expected to help students navigate graduate training. Coaches are not research mentors. Rather, they provide complementary focus and expertise to help fellows excel. Coaches will be especially skilled in helping fellows acknowledge and address some of the extra barriers underrepresented scientists face. IMSD Coaches will include senior postdocs, alumni, faculty, and professionals in sectors such as academia, industry/for-profit, and non-profit. All Coaches are based in the NYC area to allow for easy access and in-person mentorship.Mentoring_YOP

Social Outings and the Esprit de Corps Community:

As a part of the Weill Cornell IMSD, fellows will be integrated in the Esprit de Corps Program, a community-building program for 1st-year PhD students from diverse backgrounds. Esprit de Corps hosts monthly workshops and social events such as dinners, bowling, game nights, and mixers.

Career Development and Leadership Training:

IMSD Fellows receive personal career counseling in all years of their training, along with leadership development training in their senior years in preparation for the post-PhD workforce.

IMSD fellows are expected to participate in all required IMSD activities.

IMSD Face of Science

Program Leadership

WCGS IMSD Program Director:                                               

Ethel Cesearman, M.D., Ph.D. (

WCGS Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Yazmin Carrasco, Ph.D. (

WCGS Diversity Program Manager:

Roxana Mesías, Ph.D. (                           

Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences 1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-8906