NHGRI logo

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) offers a three-year residency program in medical genetics that trains physicians to diagnose, manage and counsel patients with genetic disorders.


The Medical Genetics Residency Program exposes students to rare genetic disorders that might not be seen in a more typical medical genetics program; emphasizes clinical research, one of the few programs to do so; and grants access to the vast resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and at other highly ranked medical institutions in the nation's capital. Participants gain broad experience in clinical and molecular genetics, metabolic diseases and cytogenetics.

M.D. candidates must have completed training in a primary US ACGME accredited residency and be board eligible or board certified in that speciality. Training is usually in pediatrics, internal medicine or obstetrics and gynecology, but M.D. candidates with other training may be accepted as well. M.D.'s must have a valid United States medical license from any state.


During the first 18 months of training, residents spend most of their time seeing patients at various NIH centers and in hospitals and outpatient clinics throughout metropolitan Washington, D.C. Clinical training highlights the role of genetics in general medicine, pediatrics, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology and perinatal medicine. During the second year, residents continue their patient responsibilities while performing laboratory research in any one of the nearly 4,000 participating facilities in the Washington, D.C. area. They begin to devise their own basic or clinical research projects. Third-year residents spend most of their time conducting research and have minimal clinical responsibilities.

View the list of residency faculty and mentors.

Throughout the program, trainees attend a number of lecture courses, including: Introduction to Medical Genetics; Developmental Biology and Human Malformations; Inborn Errors of Metabolism; and Current Concepts in Clinical Molecular Genetics and Molecular Diagnostics. Attendance is also required at the weekly Clinical Genetics Case Conference and at the bi-weekly Cytogenetics/Molecular Genetics Sign-Out Conference. Many students choose to attend the Short Course in Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine during the month of July.

Upon completion of the program trainees will qualify for board certification by the American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG) in one or more areas of expertise: Clinical Genetics, Clinical Biochemical Genetics, Clinical Cytogenetics, Clinical Molecular Genetics, and Clinical Molecular Genetics.

The program involves the following training sites:

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
Children's National Medical Center and Research Institute
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Washington Hospital Center

Childcare and Loan Repayment

NIH will reimburse the expenses of a tax preparer to complete the Loan Repayment Program (LRP) tax documents. NIH will also reimburse the cost of one state license renewal per year. Learn more about childcare at the Office of Research Services Division of Employee Services website. Learn more about the loan repayments at the NIH Loan Repayment Programs website.


The combined NIH - Children's National Medical Center 5 year residency program in pediatrics and medical genetics is highly competitive and accepts only one candidate per year. Applications to the combined training program are accepted electronically through the categorical pediatrics/genetics track at CNMC or the separate NIH - CNMC Pediatrics/Medical Genetics selection in ERAS.

An online application form is available at: http://www.cc.nih.gov/training/gme/programs/pediatrics_medical_genetics.html.


Maximilian Muenke, M.D.
Maximilian Muenke, M.D.
  • Chief & Senior Investigator
  • Medical Genetics Branch

Last updated: June 14, 2013