My Dream is to be a doctor. My Decision was Ohio State.

Aliyah Bennett

My goal is to break the unbreakable biofilm – Ohio State’s MSTP program is helping me accomplish this.

Medical student Aliyah Bennett examining a  petri dish

Prior to coming to Ohio State, I was a medical laboratory scientist in a clinical microbiology lab, where each day I would receive samples from infected patients.

Over time, I began to recognize their names and see that their infections weren’t going away. I would send recommendations for drugs and treatments and the infections wouldn’t improve in the way you’d expect. That motivated me to pursue training that would combine patient care with targeted scientific research to improve the lives of patients directly.

I love medicine and research. I chose to enter The Ohio State University College of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) to become a physician who also pursues research. I want to make an impact on patients hospitalized for weeks on end due to chronic infections.

My research looks at bacterial biofilms, fortresses built by bacteria to protect themselves and adhere to a surface. Biofilms are naturally very difficult to treat – immune systems can’t get rid of them and antibiotics can’t penetrate them, so they allow bacteria to live despite our best efforts. Biofilms can cause difficult-to-treat and chronic or recurrent infections. 

The goal of my work is to develop pharmaceuticals and anti-biofilm compounds that can be used to “break up” the biofilms and better treat chronic infections. 

My vision to ensure a world where chronic infections are manageable will be a significant breakthrough. Chronic infection cases are a massive drain on our health care system, especially in regions of the world where health care resources are limited. Also, chronic infections often require surgery to treat, which is not accessible in low-income communities around the globe. 

I want my research to bring treatments to patients who wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford to access them.

The need for novel treatments has grown, and the work of the physician-scientist is essential to uncovering scientific discoveries and developing new therapies, treatments and preventive care in our communities. I truly believe the Ohio State College of Medicine is committed to increasing the number of physician-scientists.

They’ve developed an Office of Physician Scientist Education and Training to train early-career physician-scientists. This provides access to early, intensive training to students like me who are interested in incorporating medical research into their career. We learn how to collaborate and build supportive environments within the scientific community and build connections with faculty mentors. 

Faculty mentorship was the reason I chose to come to Ohio State. I get a lot of one-to-one time with faculty, and my principal investigator, John Gunn, PhD, is my most involved mentor. There are other important resources, such as counseling, academic support and participation in student groups. The student culture is intimate and connected within the larger academic community. The chance to interact with a wide variety of students and researchers from a variety of disciplines has been eye-opening.

I made the right decision to come to Ohio State because I’ve been able to grow here. I’ve built a strong community that I’ll continue to grow with throughout my career. Things are going in the direction I dreamed they would and that makes me very happy.


Where our students learn


Ohio State University Hospital

Consistently recognized as one of America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, University Hospital is the flagship patient care facility of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. University Hospital is home to a Level I Trauma Center, a Level III neonatal intensive care unit and a groundbreaking Center for Neuromodulation. 

Located walking distance on the medical campus.


The James Cancer Hospital


As the third largest cancer hospital in the country, The James fully integrates scientific research with education and excellent patient-care. Designated a Comprehensive Caner Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), The James is one of only a few centers in the nation funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs sponsored by the NCI. 

Located walking distance on the medical campus.


Ohio State Ross Heart Hospital

Top ranked in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report, the Ross Heart Hospital provides care for every type of heart or vascular disease. 

Located walking distance on the medical campus.


Ohio State Brain and Spine Hospital

Home to central Ohio’s top-ranked neurology/neurosurgery program, the Brain and Spine Hospital has specialized units for stroke care, neurotrauma and traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and spine surgery, epilepsy, chronic pain, acute rehabilitation and neurosurgery.

Located walking distance on the medical campus.


Ohio State East Hospital

The Ohio State East Hospital blends academic medicine with a community-based setting in a comprehensive outpatient facility and 190-bed hospital on Columbus’ east side. Home to a Level III Trauma Center, East Hospital provides a full range of medical and surgical services to patients throughout central Ohio, including orthopedics, general surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery, ENT, cardiovascular and pulmonary care, urology, family medicine, general internal medicine and emergency medicine.

Located within 15 minute drive from medical campus. Shuttle service is also provided.


Nationwide Children's Hospital

As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is where medical students are trained in pediatric care and is currently ranked #6 for best children's hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Located within 15 minute drive from medical campus. Shuttle service is also provided.


Ohio State Dodd Rehabilitation Hospital

At Ohio State’s nationally ranked inpatient rehabilitation services at Dodd Rehabilitation Hospital, residents receive training in general and neurorehabilitation, neuromuscular medicine, electrodiagnostics and musculoskeletal ultrasound to helps individuals live their lives to the fullest after disabilities caused by trauma, illness, congenital deficits or disease. 

Located walking distance on the medical campus.


Ohio State Harding Hospital

Ohio State Harding Hospital provides the most comprehensive behavioral health care services for adults, older adults, children and adolescents in central Ohio. 

Located walking distance on the medical campus.

Why choose The Ohio State University College of Medicine?

Why choose The Ohio State University College of Medicine?

MD Programs we offer

MD Programs we offer

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