Facts and Faces

  • U-M medical students interview their first patient during their first month of medical school.

  • In 2007 5,787 individuals applied to the U-M Medical School for the 170 available spots.

  • The University of Michigan has more than 17,000 living medical alumni
  • Underrepresented minorities comprise 21 percent of the current medical student body, while women represent 55 percent.
  • Every year there are about 670 medical Studentsstudents, more than 1,000 interns and residents and roughly 1,000 graduate students and post-doc fellows studying medicine at Michigan.
  • The Admissions Committee consists of more than 100 faculty, students, and alumni who interview Medical School candidates.

  • The Galens Medical Society was founded by U-M medical students in 1914.

    Originally, the Galens Medical Society was an honorary society. By 1927, its focus had shifted to charitable work to benefit children. In that year, the Galens first used a Christmas Tag Day as a fundraising event. Funds from that first drive paid for a December party for the children in University Hospital, and a portion was saved to found the Galens Workshop the next spring. While early Galens Tag Days raised about $1,000 each, today’s Tag Days raise at least $55 thousand annually for donation to children’s charities such as the Child Life program at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The society takes its name from Galen (129-199?) who, next to Hippocrates, was the most outstanding physician of antiquity.

  • Members of the Ann Arbor and surrounding communities assist in educating U-M medical students through the Standardized Patient Program.

  • Families in the Ann Arbor community assist in educating U-M medical students through the Family Centered Experience.

  • When the Medical School first opened in 1850, students paid only a $10 registration or matriculation fee.

    By 1891, the matriculation fee was $10 for Michigan residents and $25 for students from out of state. Over the next 50 years, tuition rose slowly until it was $250 in 1940. In the early part of the twentieth century, students were required to pay laboratory and demonstration fees totaling $136 over the four years. None of this takes into account room and board. The average cost of room and board in 1893 was $3-$5 a week; 1931: $12-15 a week. In 2007, tuition and fees for Michigan residents were $24,755 (out of state, $39,117).

  • The University of Michigan Medical School employs 2,492 faculty, including those in instructional, research and clinical tracks, plus lecturers, volunteer, adjunct and visiting faculty.
  • James Van Gundia Neel, M.D., Ph.D., established at U-M one of the first clinics to evaluate and counsel people with hereditary diseases.


  • In 1896, Mary Stone, along with Ida Kahn, became the first Asian woman to earn a U-M medical degree.

    Mary Stone, was born Meiyii Shei at Kiukiang, Kiangsi, in 1873. When she first returned to China with Dr. Kahn, they were the only physicians serving five million people. They will later set up hospitals in Nanchang and Shanghai. Dr. Stone was instrumental in founding the Chinese Red Cross and a network of Women ’s Clubs in China.

    Dr. Stone came from a family of ancient lineage, and her family’s history was kept in 12 large volumes. She was the first woman in her family to be listed on the family tree by name; previously, the women were listed as a number. Dr. Stone was the first female in central China to practice medicine.

    Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Dr. Stone returned to the United States. She died on December 29, 1954, age 81, in Pasadena, CA.

  • In 1871, Amanda Sanford was the first woman to receive a medical degree from the U-M. Learn about more U-M Medical School history.



  • In 1872, William Henry Fitzbutler became the first African-American to graduate from the School.

    Fitzbutler moved to Louisville, Kentucky, after graduating from the U-M, and lobbied the Kentucky legislature to allow the establishment of a medical school that could not exclude applicants because of color. He became dean of the resulting Louisville National Medical College and hospital for more than two decades. The school closed in 1912. Fitzbutler also published a weekly newspaper in Louisville for African Americans, the Ohio Falls Express, from 1878 to approximately 1904.

  • Biochemist Stanley Cohen, Ph.D., won the Nobel Prize in 1986

    Stanley Cohan, Ph.D.Stanley Cohen, who received his doctorate in Biological Chemistry from U-M in 1948, shares the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with Rita Levi-Montalcini, in recognition of their discovery of nerve growth factor and epidermal growth factor. These are substances produced by the body that influence the development of nerve and skin tissues. The pattern of cellular growth had long been known, but the pair’s discovery demonstrated how the growth and differentiation of a cell is regulated. NGF and EGF were the first of many growth-regulating signal substances to be discovered and characterized. Cohen’s research on cellular growth factors has proven fundamental to understanding the development of cancer and designing anti-cancer drugs.

    After collaborating with Levi-Montalcini at Washington University in the early 1950s, Cohen moved to Vanderbilt University in 1959, becoming professor of biochemistry there in 1967. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Cohen also received the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Levi-Montalcini in 1983 and the National Medal of Science in 1986.

    Read more about Dr. Cohen.

  • Microbiologist Hamilton Smith, M.D., awarded 1978 Nobel Prize

    Hamilton Smith, M.D.Hamilton Smith, M.D., was one of three recipients of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to problems of molecular genetics. The enzymes have become valuable tools in the study of DNA structure and in recombinant DNA technology, enabled researchers to decipher the construction and function of genes.

    After completing his residency training at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Smith came to U-M’s Department of Human Genetics in 1962 as a postdoctoral fellow studying Salmonella Phage P22 lysogeny in the laboratory of Myron Levin. In 1967, he went to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he is a professor of molecular biology and genetics.

    Smith was a leading figure in the early field of genomics and sequenced the first bacterial genome Haemophilus influenza. He subsequently played a key role in the sequencing of many of the early genomes at The Institute for Genomic Research, and in the sequencing of the human genome at Celera Genomics, which he co-founded in 1998. Since 2002, he has been at the forefront of a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that seeks to create a genetically-engineered single-cell organism with the fewest genes necessary to sustain life, capable of feeding and reproducing itself.

    Read more about Dr. Smith.

  • Geneticist Marshall Nirenberg, Ph.D., awarded the 1968 Nobel Prize

    Marshall NirenbergMarshall Nirenberg, Ph.D., was one of three scientists who won the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in recognition of their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. It was their work that revealed how DNA replicated, how DNA directed the expression of proteins, and what role RNA had in these processes.

    Nirenberg, who earned his doctorate at the U-M in biological chemistry in 1957, then went to the National Institutes of Health, becoming head of the Section of Biochemical Genetics in 1962.

    It was there that he first began to study the steps that relate DNA, RNA and protein. These investigations led to the demonstration with H. Matthaei that messenger RNA is required for protein synthesis and that synthetic messenger RNA preparations can be used to decipher various aspects of the genetic code. Nirenberg's later research focused on neuroscience, neural development, and the homeobox genes.

    In addition to the Nobel Prize, Nirenberg received the National Medal of Science in 1965 and shared the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University and the Lasker Award with H. G. Khorana in 1968.

    Read more about Dr. Nirenberg.

  • Detlev Bronk, Ph.D., who is credited with formulating the modern theory of the science of Detlev Bronk, Ph.D.biophysics, received his MS from the University of Michigan in 1922 and his doctorate in Molecular and Integrative Physiology in 1926. He was a cellular physiologist and distinguished academic administrator who went on to found the Johnson Foundation for Medical Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, and thereafter to be president of the National Academy of Sciences, president of Johns Hopkins University and, in 1953, president of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, now Rockefeller University.

    An extensive personal memoir by Frank Brink, Jr., published by the National Academy of Sciences, is at http://books.nap.edu/html/biomems/dbronk.pdf.

  • John Brookhart, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Molecular and Integrative Physiology in 1939. John Brookhart, Ph.D.A neurophysiologist, he served for many years as chair of Physiology at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. This was followed by four years as its acting vice president for academic affairs. He went on to serve as president of the American Physiological Society and for 10 years as chief editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. It was under Brookhart that the journal’s eminence among scientific journals was firmly established.

    Read more about Dr. Brookhart.

  • Robert Gussin, Ph.D.Robert Z. Gussin, Ph.D., who earned his doctorate in Pharmacology in 1965, is a retired corporate vice president for science and technology and chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson. He also has worked with NASA on the Space Flight Advisory Committee and has chaired the board of the Academy Industry Program at the National Academy of Sciences. He maintains close ties with our Department of Pharmacology to this day.

    Read more about Dr. Gussin.

  • Gail Pairitz Jarvik, M.D., Ph.D.Gail Pairitz Jarvik, M.D., Ph.D., received both a master’s degree (1983) and doctorate (1986) from the University of Michigan in Human Genetics, doing her research for both degrees in the Charlie Sing research laboratory. She joined the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Washington as senior fellow in medical genetics in 1991 and today is the Arno G. Motulsky Professor of Medicine, head of Medical Genetics and a joint professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences at UWash. A major focus of her research is the study of gene-by-gene interactions in the inheritance of familial combined hyperlipidemia and elevated levels of apolipoprotein B. That study is also directed at mapping genes for heart disease.

    Read more about Dr. Jarvik.

  • Scientists at the U-M’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute are studying how the brain perceives sound and the effect of drugs on the inner ear — research that could lead to a new generation of bionic devices for people with hearing loss.
  • In FY2006, Medical School scientists were awarded $329,072,000 in total research funding.
  • Today, scientists in the Medical School are testing the world’s first bionic lung in research animals.
  • In 1992, U-M scientists conducted the first human gene therapy ever performed outside the National Institutes of Health.




  • The U-M Medical School is home to some of the world's oldest research mice.

    When the oldest mouse in Richard Miller’s U-M laboratory died recently, it was 1,423-days-old – the equivalent of 133 in human-years. Miller, a professor of pathology in the U-M Medical School, is an expert on the genetics and cell biology of aging. To study the aging process, he has developed strains of laboratory mice that live longer, stay smaller and age more slowly than ordinary mice. Most mice used in biomedical research have genes that promote early maturation and rapid growth. So Miller started his mouse colony with wild-trapped mice that were unusually small. His research project has produced mice with half the normal body weight and some of the longest life spans ever recorded in a captive mouse population. Miller’s geriatric mice are providing important clues about how genes and hormones affect the rate of aging and risks of diseases late in life.

  • U-M is one of 27 schools in the country to offer a Genetic Counseling Program.

  • Stem CellU-M Medical School researchers were the first to discover stem cells in breast cancer, the first time these master cancer cells were identified in a solid tumor. U-M researchers were also first to find stem cells in pancreatic and head and neck cancers.

  • The U-M Medical School was the first in the United States to establish an academic Department of Human Genetics.



  • The Department of Otolaryngology is over a 100 years old.

    Photograph courtesy of the University of Michigan 's Center for the History of Medicine Historical Collection.
    The Medical School’s Department of Otolaryngology was founded in 1904 when the U-M Regents split ophthalmology and otolaryngology and appointed R. Bishop Canfield as clinical professor of the diseases of the ear, nose and throat, effectively creating the new Department of Otolaryngology. The department still adheres to the ideals of excellence in patient care, graduate and postgraduate education, as well as basic and applied research. Its three-fold mission is to conduct educational programs that provide excellent training in research and clinical care and to encourage the pursuit of academic careers and lifelong scholarship; to enhance knowledge through relevant, effective research of the highest quality and integrity, and to provide superior and compassionate state-of-the-art patient care in an efficient and supportive environment.

  • The U-M Medical School's Department of Pharmacology was the first department of pharmacology in the United States. It was founded in 1891 by John Jacob Abel, who then went on to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to found the second U. S. Department of Pharmacology. He also was the founding editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, and the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. In addition, he was a founding member of the American Society for Biological Chemists and The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

  • Together, the Medical School and the three University Hospitals constitute the Medical Center campus located on 84 acres of land in more than 30 buildings
  • The Medical School occupies more than 2 million gross square feet of research and education space
  • The Biomedical Science Research Building:
    • Located at 109 Zina Pitcher Place, Ann Arbor, Mich.
    • 415 feet long x 200 feet wide x 100 feet tall
    • Six levels (two partial) of research laboratories and faculty offices
    • Two levels of vivarium space (including an imaging core, surgery, behavioral testing suite, aquatics suite, cage/rack washing facilities)
    • 300-seat auditorium
    • 1,600 square feet of divisible seminar room and break-out area
    • 144 total faculty offices
    • 16,000 square feet of linear equipment space throughout the building
    • There are 48 lab modules per typical floor, grouped into six "neighborhoods" – 240 lab modules total.
    • There are a similar number of alcoves used for tissue culture, fume hoods, general bench space and lab entries.
    • There are 19 procedure rooms per typical floor.