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New Pathways To Educate Future Translational Researchers In Medicine

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

BME Curriculum Development

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.956.1 - 11.956.7



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Paper Authors


Ann Saterbak Rice University

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Ann Saterbak is Director of Laboratory Instruction and Lecturer in the Bioengineering Department at Rice University. She received her B.A. in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from Rice University in 1990 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1995. She conducted research and provided technical support within Shell Development Company from 1995 to 1999.

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Michele Follen M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

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Dr. Michele Follen received her B.A. degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1975, her M.D. degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1980, her M.S. degree in clinical research design from the University of Michigan in 1989, and her Ph.D. degree in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan in 2000. She is a professor of Gynecologic Oncology and the director of the Biomedical Engineering Center at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. She is also a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Follen has devoted her research career to the prevention of gynecologic cancer.

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Rebecca Richards-Kortum Rice University

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Dr. Richards-Kortum is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering and Department Chair of Bioengineering at Rice University. Dr. Richards-Kortum received her B.S. degree in Physics and Mathematics from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1985 and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics and Medical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987 and 1990, respectively. Her research interests include: high-resolution in vivo optical imaging for enhanced detection of cancer; fluorescence imaging for cancer detection, electromagnetic modeling of light scattering by cells, and tissues and fiber optic sensors for in vivo detection of cancer.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

New Pathways to Educate Future Translational Researchers in Medicine


We have developed a novel summer clinical medical and research internship targeted at undergraduate biomedical engineering majors in their junior year to train and encourage them to pursue careers in translational medical research. The goal of translational research is to accelerate the transfer of findings from the laboratory to clinical application for the detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of diseases leading to the prolongation and enhancement of life. The course is designed to prepare students for careers in translational research by way of MD, PhD, or combined MD/PhD programs. Goals of the program included exposure to clinical medicine and the relevant vocabulary, research experiences that emphasize the creation and application of new scientific knowledge, and entrepreneurial experience and its attendant vocabulary. The ten-week summer course also emphasizes development of skills in leadership, communication, ethics, and team building.

The typical day for the internship students begins with ninety minutes of lectures and exercises about ethics, communication skills, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Students attend a full-day human cadaver-based anatomy course for the first two weeks of the course. Lectures, dissection, and special projects comprise this course of instruction in the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of the major organ systems. The students spend four days learning physical examination procedure through lectures and clinical sessions. During the second eight-week period of the internship, students attend morning rotations in internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, intensive care, and the emergency room. Students are assigned to a clinical mentor, and observe their mentor interacting with patients, performing clinical procedures, analyzing test results, and developing treatment plans. Students keep a weekly journal in which they describe their experiences in the clinical rotations. Afternoons in the latter eight weeks of the internship are spent working on independent research supervised by a faculty mentor. Students write a short proposal at the beginning of this period and present a poster of their project at the end of the summer.

Faculty from the University of Texas at Austin, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, and Rice University have participated in this program. Students from the University of Texas (summers of 2004, 2005) and Rice University (summer of 2005) have participated in the program. The program evaluations showed an increase in student interest in translational research careers. We believe programs of this kind will create an undergraduate experience that is well suited to develop a new generation of translational researchers in medicine and biomedical engineering.


The NIH Roadmap Initiative identified opportunities in biomedical research and education that would make the biggest impact on future progress of medical research. A major outcome of the Roadmap was a call for programs that prepare biomedical scientists and engineers to work in

Saterbak, A., & Follen, M., & Richards-Kortum, R. (2006, June), New Pathways To Educate Future Translational Researchers In Medicine Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--678

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