Yale Receives HHMI Grant for Combined Science and Medicine Program

Yale’s Combined Program in the Biological & Biomedical Sciences (BBS) is recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant designed to train young scientists in translating basic science discoveries into new medical treatments.

HHMI awarded $10 million to 13 innovative graduate programs under its “Med Into Grad Initiative: Integrating Medical Knowledge into Graduate Education.”

Yale received $800,000 to fund four years of the new program, which will be called the Medical Research Scholars Program.

“At a time when science and medicine must work hand in hand to solve problems of human health and disease, we want to change graduate education to increase the pool of scientists who are doing medically oriented research,” said Thomas Cech, president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “We, like many others, are concerned by how difficult it is becoming for scientists to harness the explosion of new biomedical research information and translate it into medical practice.”

The BBS program at Yale will use the funding to initiate a program in medicine and pathobiology for first- and second-year Ph.D. students. The curriculum includes coursework and clinical tutorials, and will be superimposed on pre-existing requirements for existing Ph.D. programs.

“The BBS program has a long tradition of fostering new graduate education in emerging disciplines in biomedical science,” said Lynn Cooley, director of BBS and professor of genetics, cell biology and molecular cellular and developmental biology. “The HHMI Med into Grad Initiative provides the perfect catalyst for incorporating medical education into the BBS program, and promises to prepare our students for successful careers in translational research.”

HHMI’s new graduate education initiative supports and encourages graduate schools to integrate medical knowledge into their Ph.D. training. The goal is to produce researchers who have the knowledge and skills to address clinically important biological problems from the perspective of basic science.

A panel of graduate educators, biomedical researchers, and physician scientists helped in selecting the awardees. HHMI received applications from 82 institutions.

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