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MSTP Leadership

The Iowa MSTP leadership team includes the Director Dr. Steven Lentz, the Co-Director Dr. Pamela Geyer. This leadership team has been in place since 2010, when Drs. Lentz and Geyer were selected by the Deans of the CCOM and Graduate College to lead the MSTP. These Directors were chosen based on their long-standing commitment and dedication to physician-scientist graduate and medical education. Together, they have over 30 combined years of administrative leadership in the MSTP and are dedicated to the mission of training physician-scientists.

Dr. Darren Hoffmann was recently introduced to help evaluate and strengthen the Iowa MSTP and guide us into the next phase of the program.

Ms. Linda Varvel coordinates all MSTP activities, including admissions, enrollment, registration, correspondence with the prospective applicants and current trainees, organization of recruitment weekends, enrichment activities, and reporting to the NIH.

The MSTP Office is also a warm and welcoming meeting place for students to stop in. We always have time to visit with students. We keep a bowl stocked with chocolate to encourage students to stop by. Depending on where they are in their training, this may be the only time we see them in weeks. The office door is always open!

Have a question?  Always feel free to email your questions to mstp@uiowa.edu.

Steven Lentz, MD, PhD
MSTP Director
Professor, Internal Medicine

Dr. Lentz holds a primary appointment in the CCOM as a Professor of Internal Medicine. He is the Henry Hamilton Chair in Hematology and serves as the Chief of the Section of Hematology. Dr. Lentz is a member of the graduate training program in Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Lentz has a long-standing commitment to the training of physician-scientists. He is an MSTP graduate (Washington University) and an active physician-scientist. He has served as Director of the U of Iowa MSTP since 2010. Dr. Lentz also has served as Associate MSTP Director (2004-2010), founding Director of the postdoctoral Iowa Physician-Scientist Training Pathway (2005-2009), and Director of an NIH-funded (T32) postdoctoral training program in hematology (2007-present). Dr. Lentz is committed to mentorship, which he considers to be among his top academic and professional priorities. He oversees the development and implementation of the overall MSTP curriculum. He is particularly involved in advising trainees during their initial medical phase of training, introducing them to the Individual Development Plan (IDP), and guiding their transition back to the medical curriculum after completion of the graduate phase of training. He is committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive culture of excellence in the MSTP. He helps each trainee identify and navigate an individualized career development pathway to ensure timely progress towards career advancement.

Dr. Lentz is internationally recognized for his basic and translational research on mechanisms of thrombosis, hemostasis, and vascular dysfunction. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Association of American Physicians (AAP), serves on several editorial boards, and has served as Associate Editor of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (1999-2007). He was a member of the AICS study section of the NIH from 2009-2013 and is a current member of the NHLBI Institutional Training Mechanism (NITM) Review Committee. He served as Chair of the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB) of the American Heart Association (2016-2018). He received the Jeffrey M. Hoeg Award for Basic Science and Clinical Research in 2008 and the Sol Sherry Memorial Award in Thrombosis in 2018 from the American Heart Association.

Pamela Geyer, PhD
MSTP Co-Director
Professor, Biochemistry

Co-Director Pamela Geyer, PhD, holds a primary appointment in the CCOM as a Professor of Biochemistry and an Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the interdisciplinary training programs of Genetics and Molecular Medicine. Dr. Geyer has served as MSTP Co-Director since 2010. In this role, she is committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive culture of excellence in the MSTP and at the University and works towards innovating and advancing training opportunities that emphasize skill building and community. Dr. Geyer is internationally known for her research efforts to understand how nuclear organization regulates gene expression. Her research laboratory has been NIH R01 funded for 30 years. In her research laboratory, Dr. Geyer has mentored over >60 undergraduates, 3 MS students, 11 PhD students and 5 postdoctoral fellows. Her academic accomplishments have been recognized by receipt of the CCOM Faculty Service Award (2007), the Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence (2008), the Graduate College Outstanding Faculty Mentor (2014), the CCOM Collegiate Teaching Award (2014), election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2015) and election to the Board of Directors of the Genetics Society of America (2019).

Darren Hoffmann, PhD
Director, Curriculum for Graduate Studies, Biomedical Sciences Program
Assistant Professor, Anatomy & Cell Biology

As a member of the team working on the MSTP program at Iowa, I am working to help establish new program evaluation protocols, and ensure alignment of program objectives with assessment outcomes and delivery of education. I have skills in both qualitative and quantitative research methods for program evaluation. I can conduct focus groups and interviews independently. I can also perform most statistical analyses commonly required for program evaluation without assistance from statistics consultants. In the medical curriculum I am an instructor of Gross Anatomy where I interact with all MSTP students in a one-on-one basis. In the graduate school, I am the institutional co-leader of CIRTL (center for integration of research teaching and learning), working to support development of teaching and educational research skills in graduate students. Through these experiences, I have a strong rapport with the MSTP student population and leadership and should be able to help both groups explore program development and evaluation together. I am strongly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and have served on many institutional programs and committees related to these important initiatives (e.g. SHPEP, presenter for training workshops, participant in implicit bias training).

Linda Varvel, MS
Administrative Director

I was hired as the Administrative Director of the University of Iowa MSTP in June 2020. I have been at the University of Iowa since July 2011 and have worked in both University Housing & Dining and the College of Engineering. For the past four years I served as the Director of the Women in Science and Engineering program (WiSE). The mission of WiSE is to expand and improve educational and professional opportunities for students who identify as women in STEM by facilitating individual, institutional, and social change. Serving as the WISE Director ignited a strong passion for supporting students beyond their rigorous classroom experience with social and emotional support for the whole student. My goal is to see students beyond their major or their research and provide holistic support as they successfully achieve their academic and personal goals. I will apply this same passion to the students I work with in MSTP.

My responsibilities include managing all aspects of MSTP administration, including program organization, recruitment/admissions, student affairs and curriculum matters. I coordinate all enrollment requirements for admitted MSTP students (who are simultaneously graduate students and medical students) including overseeing course enrollment, health insurance, payroll, and tuition scholarships.

I am told much of my time will be spent conversing with and advising current and prospective students. I suspect this will be an aspect of the position that I will love. As a professional I strive to bring energy, authenticity, humor, and empathy to my work with students and want my office to feel like a safe space for all.

Administrative Services Coordinator