Accelerated BS-MD Degree Program Emphasizes Research

A crew from The College Tour films Kelly Modi in Dr. Damian Shin's lab

Since 1964, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Albany Medical College have partnered to offer an accelerated degree program that now culminates with students earning both a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Doctor of Medicine degree in seven years.

One current student, Kelly Modi, was drawn to the program for its emphasis on research. “Throughout high school, I developed my love for science and research – I knew it was something I wanted to continue throughout undergrad,” she said.

Now in her second year at Rensselaer, Modi is featured in a Season 11 episode of The College Tour that profiles Rensselaer, scheduled to stream on Amazon Prime in May.

Originally from Newark, Del., Modi’s on track to begin the four-year MD program at Albany Medical College in August 2025, graduating with her medical degree with distinction in research (MDDR) in April 2029.

Last fall, she began working in the lab of Damian Shin, PhD, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at Albany Medical College.

“This opportunity has allowed me to combine my interest in the molecular biology of Parkinson’s disease with innovative applications of advances in nanomedicine,” Modi said, adding that it’s also helped her become more confident in her laboratory courses at Rensselaer.

Identifying novel therapeutics that target the aberrant neuronal signaling underlying Parkinson’s disease is one of the areas of study that researchers focus on in Dr. Shin’s lab.

“So far, I’ve had 22 students from the Physician-Scientist Program researching in my lab,” said Dr. Shin. “Like Kelly, they’ve been talented, motivated, and enthusiastic individuals. It’s been an incredible experience watching them develop into thoughtful, competent, and confident next generation physician-scientists.”

The deadline to apply for the joint degree program is Nov. 1. Applications are initially reviewed by Rensselaer’s Admissions Office; those who meet the program standards are forwarded to Albany Medical College for further review.

For more information on the Physician-Scientist Program, contact Rensselaer’s School of Science or Rensselaer Admissions at 518-276-6216.