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Teaching Experiment Helps Basic Scientists Improve Treatments for Patients 

 

November 18, 2009 

The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has received a $700,000 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for an innovative doctoral education program to help basic scientists identify pressing medical problems and develop treatments for human disease. Called the “Med into Grad Initiative,” the program encourages graduate schools to more closely integrate medical knowledge and an understanding of clinical practice into their biomedical PhD curricula.
 
“This funding from Howard Hughes Medical Institute will expand a novel education program to help graduate students focus their research in an area where they can make the greatest possible impact on patient care,” said Mark Kamps, PhD, professor of pathology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “This grant helps provide our students the knowledge necessary to translate their scientific discoveries into medically relevant diagnostics, treatments, and public health practices.”

The UCSD-based program invites graduate students from the biomedical sciences, bioengineering, and neurosciences into clinics where the students interact with physicians and patients. Known as “molecular consultants,” the scientists cross-educate medical students, residents and clinical fellows in molecular models of disease. In return, the scientists learn first-hand about unmet needs in diagnostics and therapeutics and how their research can be focused to benefit patients.

“It is important for PhD biomedical scientists to gain an understanding of the real life medical problems faced by physicians in practice,” says William Galey, director of HHMI’s graduate education and medical research training programs. “We need more biomedical scientists to appreciate how their research can help change the practice of medicine or public health.”

HHMI announced funds totaling $16 million to 23 awardees from among 103 applications submitted by 92 institutions. This is the second 4-year period that the UCSD School of Medicine has received funding.

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Media Contact: Jackie Carr, 619-543-6163, jcarr@ucsd.edu

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