In this new era, we are faced with serious challenges and exciting possibilities in medicine. These include chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and dementia, emerging infections that spread rapidly through global mixing, and cancers that are for the first time within the reach of treatments. Expectations for modern biomedical science to yield new preventions and cures are great and expanding as social networking raises consciousness of the research and development process.
Fortuitously, basic research in molecular biology and molecular disease pathogenesis has been explosive--rich with new tools and multidisciplinary approaches to understand the molecular basis of even complex problems that were previously put to the side. The combination of rapid scientific advances and demand for bench-to-bedside translation makes this an exciting time to re-tool the educational process to: 1) foster a new generation of investigators who are rigorously trained in basic science while acutely aware of the unmet clinical needs in medicine and 2) to develop investigators who embrace clinicians as partners in accelerating innovation such as developing new preventatives, diagnostics, and therapeutics. These investigators will be better poised to identify and focus on the new challenges in modern molecular medicine. We envision training biomedical scientists at the Duke School of Medicine (SOM) who are uniquely poised and motivated to partner with clinicians to find solutions to contemporary clinical problems in the US and around the globe.
To address these challenges and opportunities, the Duke School of Medicine is pioneering a new approach to developing the next generation of translationally-minded innovator-scientists. We will take promising, creative young basic scientists and expose them to contemporary long-standing and emerging problems in a range of priority areas of medicine. We will help them re-think basic science in a continuum with unmet clinical needs. Our new program called the Duke Scholars in Molecular Medicine is based on the highly successful Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases Program and is designed specifically to meet these aims. Though an annual competitive process, approximately 24-28 predoctoral students and 10-12 postdoctoral associates will be selected to participate in 1 of 5 focus tracks:
• The Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases (DSID)
• The Duke Scholars in Cardiovascular Medicine (DSCM)
• The Duke Scholars in Neurosciences (DSNS)
• The Duke Scholars in Endocrinology and Metabolism (DSEM)
• The Duke Scholars in Oncology and Regenerative Medicine (DSOR)
From the bedside to case conferences to clinically-oriented journal clubs to intimate conversations with translational researchers and physician scientists, the young investigator participants will garner insights into clinical medicine that uniquely position them to collaborate with clinical partners, focus their science and careers on the most relevant and high impact areas within a field and develop multidisciplinary relationships that maximize their competitiveness in their future research careers.