medical scientist training program

Penn MD-PhD Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is the core group that guides and shapes the MD-PhD program at Penn. The members are Skip Brass, MD, PhD (Director), Aimee Payne, MD, PhD, (Associate Director), Mitch Weiss, MD, PhD (Associate Director) and Maggie Krall (Director of Administration). The three faculty members on the committee have all been through MD-PhD programs themselves and share a deep commitment to helping train the next generation of physician scientists. The committee meets often to discuss all aspects of the program, and the members are always available to talk with students individually.

Additional information about the Director and Associate Directors appears below.

Lawrence (Skip) Brass, MD, PhD
Associate Dean and Director
brass@mail.med.upenn.edu, 215-573-3540

Skip Brass, MD-PhDLawrence (Skip) Brass, MD PhD is a 1970 graduate of Harvard College and received his MD and PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 1977. He stayed at CWRU for residency training in internal medicine before becoming a fellow in Hematology-Oncology at Penn in 1979. He has been a member of the Penn faculty since 1982, served as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine from 2004 to 2007, and is currently Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology. He became Associate Dean and Director of the MD-PhD program in 1998. He has been active at the national level in the development of training programs for physician-scientists and is a past President of the Association of MD-PhD Program Directors and Administrators and a past Chair of the AAMC GREAT group section on MD-PhD training programs. He is a past member of the NHLBI Hematology-II study section and a current member of the NIH study section that reviews T32 training grants, including NIGMS MSTP grants. Skip's research interests lie in the fields of hemostasis and vascular biology. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians, an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, and was a recipient of the IXth Biennial Award for Contributions to Hemostasis Research from the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis. Skip has trained numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in his lab, and is a member of graduate groups in Pharmacological Sciences, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics and Cell & Molecular Biology. He is active in graduate and medical education in a number of ways, including as founding co-director of Topics in Molecular Medicine and Case Studies Translational Research, courses specially designed for first and second year MD-PhD students. In addition, he is active as an attending physician, a course director in Module II, and as a member of the advisory committee for Biomedical Graduate Studies and the curriculum committee for the medical school. In 2001, Skip won the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania. He has also received teaching awards voted by the students of the School of Medicine in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2009.


Aimee Payne, MD, PhD

Associate Director
paynea@mail.med.upenn.edu, 215-746-4488

Aimee Payne, M.D., Ph.D.Aimee Payne graduated from Stanford University in 1993 and received her MD and PhD (Molecular and Cellular Biology) from Washington University in 2001.  She moved to Penn for her internal medicine internship and dermatology residency.  She stayed on at Penn for her postdoctoral fellowship, where she received the American Academy of Dermatology Young Investigator Award and an American Skin Association Research Scholar Award.  She joined Penn’s faculty in 2006 as an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology and is currently the Director of the Tissue and Keratinocyte Procurement Core for the Penn Skin Disease Research Center.  Aimee’s research interests are in autoimmunity and desmosomal cell adhesion, focusing on the model autoantibody- mediated blistering disease pemphigus.  Her clinical practice specializes in medical dermatology and autoimmune blistering diseases.  She is also active in teaching and advising medical students, graduate students, and dermatology residents.  She is a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology and Immunology Graduate Groups, as well as the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.  She has served on the Board of Directors for the Society for Investigative Dermatology, the Dermatology Foundation Medical and Scientific Committee, and the International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Committee.  


Mitch Weiss, MD, PhD
Associate Director

weissmi@email.chop.edu, 215-590-0565 Mitch Weiss, MD-PhD

Mitch Weiss received his BS Penn State University and his MD and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. He did a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at The Children's Hospital (Boston) and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute. His first faculty appointment was as an Instructor in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Boston and Dana Farber in 1994. He spent 2 years leading a research group at Ontogeny Inc., a biotechnology companyin Cambridge, MA.Then, he returned to Penn in 2000 as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hematology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.In 2006, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Pediatrics with tenure.He became an Associate Director of the MD-PhD program in 2001, having previously served on the Advisory and Admissions Committees. Mitch's research interests are in the role of transcription factors in hematopoietic cell development and differentiation. He has published over 60 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Nature Genetics and The Journal of Biological Chemistry, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including an NIH Clinical Investigator Development Award and an American Society of Hematology Junior Faculty Award. Mitch serves on the editorial boards of Blood and The Journal of Clinical Investigation and on the Medical Advisory Boards for the Cooley's Anemia Foundation and the Daniella Maria Arturi Foundation (For Diamond Blackfan Anemia). In addition to conducting research, Dr. Weiss has clinical responsibilities in hematology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and is actively involved in teaching medical students, residents and fellows. He is a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group.