Wu Tsai Human Performance Clinician-Scientist Fellowship

Applications are no longer being accepted for 2023.
We will be offering this program again in the future. To be notified of future calls for applications, fill out this form.



The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Clinician-Scientist Program supports clinician-scientists who will advance our understanding of human performance through the design of novel, clinically relevant research studies which can then lead to high-impact innovations in clinical practice. This program has the unique focus of advancing human performance research and offers physicians:

  • 2-year fellowship with an interdisciplinary mentor team 
  • Financial and training support for clinical trainees to have dedicated research experience (75% of overall full time equivalent)
  • Opportunity to apply for additional travel funds and open-access publication funds

Through this experience, fellows gain the skills and confidence to conduct independent research alongside a clinical practice. It is a unique opportunity that allows fellows to devote significant time to independent research, expand their clinical and research networks, and build connections across human performance communities.

The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance supports research that aims to uncover biological principles governing peak performance and translate these findings to improve health for all. We focus on peak performance and note this distinction from many other institutes that focus on disease mechanisms (e.g., the National Institutes of Health). Our definition of performance is broad, including both physical and cognitive performance. 

Important dates for 2024 Wu Tsai Human Performance Clinician-Scientist Fellowships

Call for Applications July 1, 2023
Application Deadline October 16, 2023
Interviews and Finalist Selection November-December, 2023
Award Notifications January, 2024
Program Start Date July 1, 2024


[updated on 08.03.23] Open to individuals at Stanford with an MD and/or PhD who are actively engaged in patient care. Individuals cannot have a faculty position at the time of application or during the fellowship. Clinical instructors are eligible to apply. We strongly encourage candidates who bring a diversity of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, including those from groups who are underrepresented in STEM, to apply.


Step 1: Applicants select a mentor. A list of potential mentors is provided, though applicants may apply with faculty not on the list.

Step 2: Applicants should work with their mentor to identify a co-mentor. The applicant’s mentor team must include a physician and a scientist. Mentor teams will be expected to provide a lab space and desk and support for the fellow’s research project.

Step 3: Start application in SlideRoom and request letters of support from at least one member of your mentor team and your clinical director.

Step 4: Applicant and their mentors develop a description of a research project that will advance human performance. Submit this and full application through SlideRoom. See below for more information.


We seek interdisciplinary, collaborative mentors with research foci that will advance human performance. 

  • A mentor team consists of a physician and a scientist who will provide a supportive community for fellows in their independent research experience.
  • Mentors will be expected to provide a lab space and desk and support for the fellow’s research project.
  • At least one member of the mentor team must be a member of the Academic Senate (tenure line and research line faculty) or a university medical line (UML) faculty member.
  • Both faculty mentors must be Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Faculty Affiliates. Any faculty member can become a Faculty Affiliate.
  • Members of the mentors’ clinical and research communities (e.g., clinical fellows, trainees, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students) are also encouraged to support the clinical research fellow. 

See a full list of faculty mentors.

Volunteer to be listed as a potential mentor


To apply, submit the following via Slideroom. Enter contact information for your reference through SlideRoom to get the process started early. You should do this before you submit your full application. Please be sure to click “submit” when your application is complete. You should receive a confirmation email with a confirmation number after submitting.

  • Applicant information (name, email, phone number, year in program (PGY-X), name of program/department, faculty affairs contact person, mentor names)
  • Short answer questions (maximum of 1500 characters or approximately 250 words for each response)
    • What scientific question are you interested in pursuing? Describe the research project that you and your mentor team have developed and how it will advance the science of human performance. 
    • Why are you interested in participating in this program? Include reason(s) you selected your mentor team and project, and how participation in this program would affect your future career or clinical practice.
    • Cite specific examples from scientific literature that have inspired your interest in human performance or the topic area of interest.
    • We wish to welcome a cohort of fellows who have a diversity of experiences and skills. Share something about yourself or your experiences that you feel allows you to bring a unique perspective to the program.
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of support from at least one member of your mentoring team.
    • Both faculty mentors must be Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Faculty Affiliates. Any faculty member can become a Faculty Affiliate
    • The purpose of the letter is for your mentor(s) to convey their ability and enthusiasm to support and mentor you through this training experience.
    • The letter should include details about the resources (personnel, financial, equipment, etc.) that would be available to you during the fellowship.
  • Letter of support from fellowship director of the clinical department. This letter should confirm that the fellowship director 1) supports you having this dedicated research experience of at least 75% effort for a two-year period and 2) has discussed with you the implications of this fellowship on your clinical training progress.
  • Letter of recommendation (optional)
  • Personal references – names and contact information (email) of 2 references


A committee of principal investigators will review all completed applications based on the following criteria:

  • applicant’s curiosity and passion for human performance research
  • enthusiasm for an investigative career (within human performance)
  • relevance to and potential impact of research area on human performance
  • capacity of program to enhance career growth of the applicant
  • fit of applicant and mentor team 

Wu Tsai Performance Faculty will then conduct in-person interviews with applicants. The program directors will notify the selected finalists based on the interviews and application package.


The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance Clinician-Scientist Fellowship provides a unique opportunity:

  • Focused on performance vs. disease 
  • Well-supported research training in 2 years 
  • Independent hypothesis-driven research focus
    • Flexibility – basic science or translational research
    • Research addresses human performance-related questions
    • Opportunity to support diverse populations including female athletes, elite athletes, Paralympians, underrepresented minorities
  • Support from a well-developed mentorship team, which is embedded into the experience from the outset 
  • Join a community of like-minded early career investigators 


The Wu Tsai Human Performance Clinician-Scientist Fellows will be paid commensurate with the postgraduate level of training.



  • Do I have to hold an appointment at Stanford?
    • Yes, you must have a current appointment at Stanford before applying to this program and also during the full 2-year tenure of the fellowship.
  • I have a Ph.D. as well as an M.D. Am I eligible to apply?
    • Yes
  • I am a Stanford clinical instructor with an M.D. Am I eligible to apply?
    • Yes.
  • I work on disease focused research. How does that fit in to human performance?
    • The Alliance examines health from a standpoint of peak performance rather than disease. Below is an example of how you might reframe a project that focuses on restoring function in a patient population to one that focuses on understanding the “peak performers” for whom the functional improvement is greatest.
      • Original framing: Exercise as a modulator of motor and cognitive symptoms by restoring synaptic plasticity in individuals with Parkinson’s disease
      • Updated performance framing: Understanding the neurobiology of individuals with Parkinson’s disease whose cognitive function improves most with exercise
  • Do I have to commit to 2 years? 
    • Yes, you must commit to 2 full years of the program.
  • Can I apply with a mentor not listed above? 
    • Yes, you may apply with a mentor not listed above.
  • Can I apply with more than one mentor team? 
    • No, applicants may only apply with one mentor team, though mentors may apply with more than one applicant.
  • If I have to commit to 75% research time, do I have to commit to 25% clinical time? Is this time breakdown per work week or spread over the 24 month commitment? 
    • The exact timing of clinical versus research commitment will depend on the clinical program.
  • “Mentor teams will be expected to provide a lab space and desk and support for the fellow’s research project.” How is “support” defined?
    • Support can either be financial or training related. Support could mean purchasing equipment for the fellow’s research project, providing access to different buildings, helping the fellow to get necessary approvals to conduct their research, etc.
  • Do people use this as an adjunct time to what they’re already working on or do they propose a totally new project?
    • You may do either, as long as it’s related to human performance.
  • Would a lab technician be eligible?
    • No, we are looking for people with MDs and/or PhDs who are actively engaged in patient care who can engage in research.


Contact Johanna O’Day at human-performance@stanford.edu


Get Engaged

We invite faculty, students, staff, alumni, friends, and external organizations to participate in the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance at Stanford.