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Dr. James “Scott” McClellan, class of 1997Dr. James “Scott” McClellan, class of 1997

A dual role of solving critical problems of health

Inspired by his undergraduate experiences in Dr. Leo Pezzementi's laboratory in the Birmingham-Southern Department of Biology, Scott McClellan followed his heart as well as his mentor's advice and applied for a dual-degree MD/Ph.D. program after graduating from BSC.

McClellan earned the prestigious degree in 2006 from Washington University School of Medicine with a specialty in virology/immunology. Now he is a resident in internal medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Los Palos, Calif., and a hematology/oncology fellow.

“Dr. Pezzementi was the first person to suggest that a dual-degree MD/Ph.D program might be a career option for me,” says McClellan, a native of Anniston. “I am thrilled to be in a position to help patients and to pursue scientific questions that impact human health.”

Prior to becoming a physician/scientist, McClellan graduated Phi Beta Kappa in biology from BSC. As a graduate student at Washington, he earned a fellowship from the Cancer Research Institute of New York City and received a Keystone Symposia Fellowship to conduct biomedical research.

“I was able to publish a ‘first-author' paper as an undergraduate student at BSC,” notes McClellan. “I realize now what a unique opportunity that was—a rarity at most undergraduate institutions, particularly at schools the size of Birmingham-Southern. I absolutely wouldn't have been able to pursue this dual degree without the help of Dr. Pezzementi and the rest of the biology faculty at Birmingham-Southern.”