News Release: Research , School of Medicine

Nov. 19,  2009

Howard Hughes Grant Connects PhD Students to Medical Applications

Biomedical Graduate Students at Emory, Georgia Tech, and Morehouse School of Medicine Will Benefit from HHMI "Med into Grad" Initiative

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has selected Emory University and its partner institutions, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse School of Medicine, to receive a four-year, $700,000 "Med into Grad" grant to bring clinical medicine into the graduate school curriculum.

As one of 12 new institutions selected for the HHMI program, which includes a total of 23 schools, Emory and its partners will provide PhD graduate student researchers training that can help them identify pressing medical problems and develop treatments for human disease.

"Until recently, many PhD students in the biomedical sciences have had limited opportunities for training in translational or more clinically focused research," says Henry Blumberg, MD, who will lead the Emory program. "In a recent survey of our science graduate students, 85 percent reported they wanted more of this kind of training."

The three institutions already are partners in the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute, part of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) consortium sponsored by the National Institute of Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health.

Through the Med into Grad program, Emory, Georgia Tech and Morehouse School of Medicine will provide translational research training to biomedical science and engineering graduate students. The program will focus on ways in which the basic sciences can contribute to better medical treatments or diagnostics and will help develop a group of PhD prepared scientists who can translate fundamental discoveries to benefit human health.

"Dr. Blumberg and his colleagues at the CTSA are doing extraordinarily valuable work bringing together basic science and clinical research as well as engaging communities in health research," says Lisa A. Tedesco, dean of the Laney Graduate School at Emory University. "We are proud of this recognition and opportunity, excited to deepen our ties with our partners, and very pleased that the opportunity to work with CTSA will be extended to a broader group of graduate students."

The HHMI-sponsored program will provide outstanding opportunities for clinical and translational research training, including an Advanced Certificate Program in Translational Research, multidisciplinary mentoring teams for PhD graduate students, and an introduction and immersion in clinical medicine and sites of clinical and translational research throughout Atlanta.

The Med into Grad program will be available to all PhD students, including those in the eight programs of Emory's Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS), Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, the Georgia Tech Bioengineering Program, and Morehouse School of Medicine's Graduate Education in Biomedical Sciences Program. The first students will be enrolled in Fall 2010.

HHMI began the Med into Grad Initiative in 2005 as an experiment to increase the number of scientists able to conduct translational research, turning basic science discoveries into improved treatments for patients. Med into Grad students collaborate with physician-scientists, choose medically relevant thesis topics and publish work in medical journals.

For more information about the Med into Grad Initiative and a list of participating institutions, see


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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