In November the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Gerstner Sloan Kettering (GSK) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is one of 23 research institutions to receive a grant as part of HHMI’s Med into Grad Initiative. GSK was awarded $700,000 to be used over four years.
HHMI’s Med into Grad Initiative, which was launched in 2005, was created to address the gap between training programs in basic biology and medicine. The program awards four-year grants to institutions that offer PhD degrees in the biomedical sciences. The funds may be used to enhance existing graduate training programs or initiate new programs to provide students with a better understanding of medicine and pathobiology and to prepare them to conduct research at the interface of biomedical science and clinical medicine.
“This training grant will be used to support our existing cancer biology graduate program,” said Kenneth J. Marians, Dean of GSK and Chair of the Molecular Biology Program in the Sloan Kettering Institute. “It is significant that the mission of GSK already was so well matched with the goals of the Med into Grad Initiative. It’s what we’ve been doing here since the first class at GSK was admitted nearly four years ago. This new grant from HHMI will help GSK to continue its efforts to educate gifted and creative students interested in applying laboratory science to the development of better treatments for human disease.”“Perhaps the most unique aspect of the GSK curriculum is the spring unit where we ask physician-scientists to expose our students to real-life clinical issues in cancer therapy,” said Charles L. Sawyers, Chair of MSKCC’s Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, who has been heavily involved in the GSK program and its curriculum from its inception. “The learning goes both ways. Students appreciate the practical challenges of translational medicine, and faculty get to hear new ideas from bright, creative young scientists in training. It is terrific that HHMI has made this kind of ’cross-training’ a priority.”