Clinician-Scientist Training Program (CSTP)



Our program has two tracks. One is a 7-year research residency track, which combines 5-year clinical training in otolaryngology — head & neck surgery with 2 years of research training (during PGY4&5). The second is a 1-year medical student track, which will be used to provide a research experience for those individuals that desire an extended research experience before residency training. Both tracks are designed to train future physician-scientists pursuing research in communication disorders, with the main difference being that the first track has the research block in the middle of residency training and the second track has the research block during medical school has been completed.  Both tracks provide guidance on how to balance research and clinical responsibilities in order to prepare the trainees to become independent physician-scientists.

Many of the trainees will not only work with the program faculty, but also with additional Stanford faculty from other departments within and outside the School of Medicine. This offers the opportunity for a diverse training experience that permits trainees to access the excellent research opportunities that exists throughout the Stanford University faculty. A distinctive feature of this training program is the emphasis on providing mentorship throughout their entire combined clinical-research training period.

Our program also contains a structured didactic program, multiple journal clubs, a weekly seminar series, and a monthly visiting basic science lectureship series. In addition, there are a wide range of additional training opportunities at Stanford specifically designed for post-doctoral fellows and medical students, such as training in the responsible conduct of research, statistical analysis, how to write a scientific paper, grantsmanship, negotiating for your first position, and a wide range of classes available for auditing, etc. Thus, trainees in this program will have a unique opportunity to build a career as clinician-scientists in a strongly supportive environment that is exuberantly pushing the boundaries of research and clinical training in otolaryngology.

Tina Munjal, MD, 2nd year research resident


We believe that a protected research block is a critical period necessary to have the best chance at success with this career pathway. While every trainee is different and brings with them different strengths and weaknesses, we base this assertion upon the significant experience of the program faculty in training graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. An ideal approach is to combine clinical and research training to prepare future clinician-scientists, because a clinician-scientist must do both.

The core experience is one (medical student) or two (residents) years of dedicated research time. We realize that training a clinician to think like a research scientist is not something that can be achieved simply with a “research block.” While most of the research experience must be held during the 2-year period, our program will encourage continued participation in research meetings and seminars after the trainee resumes clinical duties. In our experience, this is essential to sustain the individual’s commitment to research through the clinical years. Our goal is to prepare the trainees to first enter a clinical residency/fellowship (that includes research training) and subsequently take an academic position with dedicated research time. Further research training would likely take place via the K08 or K23 mentored clinician-scientist award mechanisms.


Trainees in this program may choose their primary research mentors from the program faculty: Konstantina Stankovic, Stefan Heller, Anthony Ricci, Alan Cheng, Teresa Nicolson, Nicolas Grillet, Peter Santa Maria, Jon-Paul Pepper, Elizabeth DiRenzo, Iram Ahmad, John Sunwoo, Dáibhid Ó Maoiléidigh, Jayakar Nayak, and Tulio Valdez.

Every member of our program faculty has multiple research collaborations. Trainees in this program may choose to be involved in these collaborations. Indeed, many of the best and most exciting projects require collaborators with significant differences in expertise, but which can be used synergistically to advance the field in a leap-frog step. Many of the trainees will be working closely with collaborators in addition to their Primary Research Mentor. In some cases, the collaborator may even be considered a co-mentor. This is beneficial because of the additional opportunities for learning it offers.

In addition to their primary research mentor, each resident trainee will select a secondary clinician-scientist mentor who is different than his/her primary research mentor. This person must be NIH-funded and run an independent lab, but not need be a member of the program faculty. Thus, this list of individuals within our department currently includes Alan Cheng, John Sunwoo, Peter Santa Maria, Konstantina Stankovic, and Lloyd Minor. The goal of this secondary mentor is to provide individualized guidance for a successful career as a clinician-scientist in academic otolaryngology. An annual meeting between the trainee and the secondary mentor should take place, but of course more discussions can be held as needed.

Training Experience

Research training will take place within the laboratories of program faculty or their collaborators. Both written and oral proposals will be prepared. Research can start once Individual Research Committee (IRC) approves the proposal. Select a Primary Research Mentor, any co-mentors, the research project, and the members of their IRC prior to the research year.

The trainee will submit written progress reports followed by oral presentations to their IRC every 6 months during their research block. All trainees will take written notes to document the feedback they received, and then append his/her progress report by responding to the critique in a point-by-point manner.

One year after the research block ends, the trainee will submit a written Final Report and present an oral version of this to his/her IRC.

Application Materials

Residency Track

Important note: In addition to the application materials required, in ERAS, of the 5-year clinical track, applicants to the 7-year CSTP track must submit a one-page statement of purpose in .pdf format discussing long-term goals as a clinician-scientist to this Box folder. This is simply a research-oriented one-page document for you to describe your research interests, including how they may relate to Stanford. It may describe one or several potential projects and mentors. This is not a grant proposal. The .pdf file should be named in the format of "Last Name+First Name Initial-CSTPstmt" (e.g., DoeJ-CSTPstmt.pdf). The deadline for submission is 8am EDT (5am PDT), October 1, 2023 for the statement.

Please note: All CSTP program participants receiving support from the R25 grant from the NIH-NIDCD must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. You can withdraw your CSTP track application if that does not apply to you.

Application deadline:  closed

Statement of purpose deadline: closed


Medical Student Track

Application period for our one-year medical student track is now open.

Applicants must be medical students (from any US medical school) and must be sponsored by a Stanford faculty member. Applicants will be considered based on 1) their research proposal and relevance to communication disorders, 2) strength of their training and mentoring plan; and 3) potential to pursue academics and become a physician-scientist. Trainees must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Please see below for more detailed instructions for your research proposal submission. If you are unable to access the instructions for any reason, please reach out to Amy D. Blake-Iranon at

Research Proposal Submission Instructions

Please note: All CSTP program participants receiving support from the R25 grant from the NIH-NIDCD must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Application deadline:  closed


Program Administration

Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology
Director of the Clinician-Scientist Training Program

Alan G. Cheng, MD
Edward C. and Amy H. Sewall Professor in the School of Medicine, Professor of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery and, by courtesy, of Pediatrics


Dr. Alan Cheng received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. He then received his M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and graduated with distinction in research in otobiology. Dr. Cheng pursued his residency training in Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at University of Washington. During residency, he undertook a two-year NIH-sponsored research fellowship investigating mechanisms of hair cell degeneration. After residency he sought fellowship training in pediatric otolaryngology in Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School. Alan Cheng joined the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Stanford University as a surgeon-scientist in 2007. His clinical practice based at the Stanford Ear Institute and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital focuses on otologic diseases including congenital hearing loss and cochlear implantation, and chronic ear diseases in the pediatric population. In parallel, his research program focuses on inner ear hair cell development and regeneration. He has received funding from NIH, Department of Defense, the American Otological Society, and California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for this research endeavor.

Chief of Research

Anthony J. Ricci, PhD
Edward C. and Amy H. Sewall Professor in the School of Medicine and Professor of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery and, by courtesy of Molecular and Cellular Physiology


Anthony Ricci, PhD got his PhD in Neuroscience at Tulane University School of Medicine where he was studying the peripheral vestibular system. He did a postdoctoral fellowship with Manning Correia at UTMB and then at the University of Wisconsin with Robert Fettiplace. His work has focused upon hair cell function, using electrophysiological and imaging tools for this work. Dr. Ricci has contributed at many levels to understanding signal processing from the periphery to the CNS. He also has a translational component to his work where he is collaborating to develop non ototoxic antibiotics, developing new drug delivery systems for the ear to facilitate gene therapy treatments and more recently investigating how hearing loss impacts cognitive function. As a PI, Dr. Ricci has trained numerous students both medical and graduate. He has also trained postdocs and residents. Dr. Ricci served as the director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Stanford for almost eight years. He was a co-founder of the ADVANCE Summer Institute, an onboarding program for incoming bioscience graduate students from underserved backgrounds. He has been the faculty lead for this program for the past 9 years. He is presently the faculty lead on a new postdoctoral fellows program, Propel, that targets scholars form underrepresented communities who are interested in academic careers. Most recently, Dr. Ricci is part of a team launching a new postbaccalaureate program REACH that provides a strong research based opportunity to scholars from underrepresented backgrounds interested in a research or medical career. Dr. Ricci is presently the Associate Dean of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs and the Director of Research for the Department of Otolaryngology.

Program Coordinator

Amy D. Blake-Iranon, MSML
Adm Svcs Admstr 1, OHNS/Research Division


Amy D. Blake-Iranon has served as the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Clinician Scientist program coordinator since 2018. She works alongside Dr. Cheng on all administrative aspects of the training program as well as assists program trainees with program-specific needs. Her favorite aspects of the program are interacting with the program trainees as well as seeing their progress in their personal growth and projects. Amy earned her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Stanford University and her Master of Science in Management & Leadership from Western Governors University. She is passionate about equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion, especially in higher education. She has extensive history in multiple academic and legal administrative support roles and is formally trained as a paralegal.