Scientist poses for camera in lab
Dr. David Stepp

New MD/PhD Program Director

Dr. David Stepp, federally funded vascular biologist and a 21-year faculty member in the MCG Vascular Biology Center, is the new director of the University System of Georgia’s MD/PhD program. Dr. Larry Layman, chief of the MCG Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Infertility and Genetics, will continue to serve as co-director.

The dual-degree program allows students to earn both a medical degree at MCG and a PhD either at MCG, or one of the USG’s other research universities — Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia or Georgia State University.

Stepp, Leon Henri Charbonnier Endowed Chair in Physiology, also directs the Vascular Biology Center’s graduate program and is co-director of the Department of Medicine’s Research Residency Track. He is a co-principal investigator with VBC Director, Dr. David Fulton, on a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to determine how disruption in circadian rhythm impairs cardiovascular function in obesity.

He is the contact principal investigator with Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, physiologist and dean of The Graduate School at Augusta University, on a $1.5 million T32 NIH training grant that supports the graduate education of future scientists whose focus is cardiometabolic diseases — like hypertension and diabetes. Stepp also leads the MCG training program for the new American Heart Association Cardio-Oncology Strategically Focused Research Network (see MCG Medicine, Fall 21/Winter22).

Stepp has mentored more than a dozen aspiring scientists — PhD students and postdoctoral fellows  — who currently hold faculty positions in Calgary, Cincinnati, Oklahoma and at MCG. An honored educator, he has received multiple MCG Exemplary Teaching Awards and in 2020 he was named MCG’s outstanding faculty member.

His research has been continuously extramurally funded for 20 years, including six awards from the NIH and four awards, including a Scientist Development Grant, from the AHA. His work has resulted in over 80 publications including signature work in high-impact cardiovascular journals such as Circulation, Circulation Research and Hypertension.

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