The Department of Medicine offers candidates with interest in a career as a physician scientist the opportunity to enter our ABIM Research Pathway. Training leads to certification in internal medicine and a subspecialty plus 2-3 years of research. Special rules apply to each of the subspecialties requiring 6-7 years of training in internal medicine, fellowship and research.

Dr. Terry Watnick

Dr. Terry Watnick oversees the Research Pathway and ensures each resident is successful. Her expertise in mentoring young physicians and conducting her research in the biology of cystic kidney disease ensures our trainees are successful in the Pathway. Our chair, Dr. Stephen Davis, is highly supportive of the Research Pathway as a means to ensure each resident's trajectory as a physician scientist.

If our residents and fellows in the Research Pathway do not already have a PhD, they are strongly encouraged to complete our PhD for Clinicians during their research years. This program provides a rigorous, accelerated curriculum in basic or translational research. PhD's are awarded through the Graduate Program in Life Sciences and in Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Neuroscience, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Science, Epidemiology, Gerontology and Toxicology. See the PhD Program for Clinicians for more information.

To apply for ABIM Research Pathway, see our Application Process and complete a Supplemental Application to expand on your research interests. Review the ABIM Requirements for this pathway for more information. If you are invited for an interview for the Research Pathway, you will meet with faculty from both the residency and fellowship programs and with Drs. Watnick and Wolfsthal, giving you a comprehensive view of our residency, fellowship and research opportunities. If you have any questions, please email us at

Below are our recent grads and current participants in our Research Pathway.

Andrew Clerman, MD

Andrew Clerman, MD, PhD

BS: Cellular and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University, 2006
MD: George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2011
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland, 2011-2013
Fellowship, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine: University of Maryland, 2013-2018
PhD, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology: University of Maryland, 2018

Andrew completed his two years of Internal Medicine training with us in 2013 and his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He is completed a PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology under the mentorship of Dr. Sergei Atamas. His research focused on the sub-cellular localization, proteolytic processing and differential expression of interleukin-33 in the context of lung injury, inflammation and fibrosis. He is currently working as a medical officer at the FDA.

Anan Said, MD

Anan Said, MD

BS: Neurobiology & Physiology, University of Maryland, College Park, 2006
MD: Howard University School of Medicine, 2011
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland, 2011-2013
Fellowship, Gastroenterology and Hepatology: University of Maryland, 2013-2017

Anan completed his two years of internal medicine in our residency program in 2013 and fellowship in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2017. His research interests included determining the molecular pathogenesis of gastrointestinal cancers, with particular attention to different signaling pathways in colorectal cancer. He studied how acetylcholine-induced activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) plays a role in colon cancer cell progression and metastasis. He continued his training in advanced endoscopy.

University of Maryland Medical Center's Fariha Ramay

Fariha Ramay, MD

BS: Biology and Economics (Summa cum laude), Union College, 2009
MBA in Healthcare Management: Union Graduate College, 2010
MD: Albany Medical College, 2013
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland, 2013-2015
Fellowship, Gastroenterology and Hepatology: University of Maryland, 2015-2019

Fariha earned her MD a Distinction in Bioethics at Albany Medical College. She completed her residency in July 2015 and her fellowship in GI and hepatology in 2019. Her prior research examined procedural cost-effectiveness of minimally invasive endovascular versus surgical bypass revascularization. She also studied the diagnostic sufficiency of fine needle aspiration for Endoscopic Ultrasound guided sampling of solid pancreatic masses and abnormal lymph nodes. Her interests included clinical research and healthcare resource utilization in GI, and outcomes research in Advanced Endoscopy. She continues to practice clinical gastroenterology.

Ameer Abutaleb, MD

Ameer Abutaleb, MD

BS: University of Maryland College Park, Electrical Engineering, 2009
MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Internal Medicine Residency, University of Maryland, 2014-2016
Fellowship, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Maryland, 2016-2021
M.S. in Clinical Research, Epidemiology & Human Genetics; Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Fellowship, Transplant Hepatology, University of Maryland, 2021-2022

Ameer received his Medical Degree from the University of Maryland and completed his fellowship in GI and Transplant Hepatology in 2022. He engaged in research for several years receiving the American Gastroenterological Association Student Research Fellow award and was a fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He studied the role of acetylcholine induced activation of p38 mitogen activated protein kinase in human colon cancer cells, accumulating over 30 peer-reviewed articles. His also studied viral hepatitis and HIV-related liver disease. Ameer was instrumental in creating a mentoring program for students and residents interested in careers in GI. He is currently on faculty at GW University School of Medicine.

Meagan E. Deming, MD, PhD

Meagan E. Deming, MD, PhD

BA: Swarthmore College, 2006
PhD: Microbiology and Immunology: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, 2013
MD: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, 2015
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland, 2015-2017
Fellowship, Infectious Diseases: University of Maryland, 2017-2021
Assistant Professor, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland, 2021-present

Meagan earned her MD-PhD from the University of North Carolina on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV). She has authored several peer-reviewed papers in major journals (Vaccine, Journal of Virology, Current Opinion in Virology) and presented at national and international meetings. Coming to the University of Maryland was an ideal move for her career development. Meagan completed her IM residency in 2017 and her ID fellowship in 2021. Her research is focused on respiratory viruses with the goal of building her lab as a physician scientist studying vaccine development for influenza and coronaviruses. She has published in the NEJM on Accelerating Development of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines - The Role for Controlled Human Infection Models, and is the PI for an IDCRC New Investigator Pilot Award on "Seasonal Coronavirus Immunity and Effects on SARS-CoV-2 Immune Response." She is a co-investigator on the NIH "Mix and Match" COVID-19 vaccine trial, and an influenza challenge study and Phase 1 trials of novel influenza vaccines. She is currently an Assistant Professor in ID at the University of Maryland.

Aaron Kaplan, MD | UMMC internal medicine resident

Aaron D. Kaplan, MD, PhD

BS: Chemical Engineering, Columbia University
MS: Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University
PhD: Physiology and Biophysics, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, 2017
MD: Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, 2017
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland, 2017-2019
Fellowship, Cardiovascular Medicine: University of Maryland, 2019-present

Aaron received his medical degree and PhD at the University of Buffalo after completing his MS at Columbia. Aaron has already published extensively with 20 peer-reviewed publications, three published abstracts, 4 poster presentations and three oral presentations. He completed his internal medicine training in 2019 and started the research component of the pathway in 2019. Aaron is currently employing advanced cellular biophysical techniques to better understand heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), which represents nearly half of all cases of heart failure and yet has no proven efficacious treatments. He started his clinical cardiology training in 2022.

Andrew Leopold, MD

BA, Biochemistry: Hamilton College
MD: Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, 2020
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland 2020-2022
Fellowship, Gastroenterology and Hepatology: University of Maryland 2022-present

Andrew completed his MD at Temple University School of Medicine where he engaged in GI research studying esophageal motility and impedance. Because of his continued research interests in this area during his internal medicine training at Maryland, he was accepted into the Research Pathway at the end of his intern year. Andrew has published 5 peer reviewed publications and presented 12 abstracts at national meetings. He has successfully completed his 2 years of internal medicine training and is now in his post-doctoral fellowship years of training, where he is completing a Masters in Clinical Research and Epidemiology. He continues to do research disorders of esophageal motility with a focus on improving parameters for diagnosis and recommendations for management. He will start his clinical GI training in July 2024.

Desmond Harrell-Steward, MD, PhD

Desmond Harrell Stewart, MD, PhD

MD, PhD: Pharmacology and Toxicology University of Louisville School of Medicine, 2022
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland 2022-2024
Fellowship, Cardiovascular Disease: University of Maryland, Planned 2024

Desmond earned his PhD and MD from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. There, he studied the role of the tumor suppressor RASSF1A in regulating mutant and wild type K-Ras activity in lung cancer. He began residency training at Maryland in 2022 and plans to start cardiology fellowship in July 2024. His current research interests are centered on cardio-oncology, particularly the molecular basis of cancer therapy-related cardiac dysfunction.

Nazary Nebeluk, MD, PhD

Nazary Nebeluk, MD, PhD

BS, Biochemistry: Pace University, 2013
MD, PhD, Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, 2022
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland 2022-2024
Fellowship, Infectious Diseases: University of Maryland, Planned 2024

Naz earned his MD-PhD from LSUHSC-New Orleans where he studied viral pathogens and their reliance on host cell metabolic pathways. He is interested in all things viral and hopes to continue working on the development of antiviral chemotherapeutics, targeting either host or viral processes, and the development of diagnostic assays to aid in clinical decision making. He is also interested in the identification of new viral pathogens to clarify the role viruses play in the development of human diseases through direct infection of host tissue, oncogenic changes to host cells or the development of autoimmune processes. He began his IM residency at Maryland in 2022 and will start his ID fellowship in July 2024.

Nazary Nebeluk, MD, PhD

Rebecca Goldblum, MD, PhD

BS: Physics, Biological Physics, Chemistry, Brandeis University, 2012
MD, PhD: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biophysics, University of Minnesota, 2021
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland 2022-2024
Fellowship, Cardiovascular Disease: University of Maryland, Planned 2025

Rebecca earned her MD and PhD from the University of Minnesota Medical School. There, she studied the mechanism through which microtubule filaments undergo reorganization under oxidative stress and how this pathological dysregulation contributes to impaired cardiac contractility. Rebecca is interested in studying the biophysical properties of the cardiac cytoskeleton and how they are dysregulated in disease states. She began her Internal Medicine residency at University of Maryland in 2023 and will start her Cardiology Fellowship in 2025.

Nazary Nebeluk, MD, PhD

Alyssa Schledwitz, MD

BS, Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, 2018
MD: University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2023
Internal Medicine Residency: University of Maryland 2023-2025
Fellowship, Gastroenterology: University of Maryland, Planned 2025

Alyssa earned her MD from the University of Maryland, where her research focused on the divergent roles of the M1 and M3 muscarinic receptors in the development of colon cancer. She continues to study the colon cancer tumor microenvironment with the aim of identifying potential biomarkers and treatment targets for advanced disease. She is also interested in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and hopes to extend her work to explore cholinergic signaling in colitis-associated cancer. She began her internal medicine residency in 2023. In 2025, she will start post-doctoral research training followed by her clinical GI fellowship.

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