The sixth annual Translational Medicine Symposium was held this week at the Koury Oral Health Sciences Building at UNC. The event features students trained to engage in the clinical side of research.
The event, which featured student presentations and keynote speakers, was sponsored by the Cancer Cell Biology Training Program and the certificate Program in Translational Medicine (PITM), which has helped train more than 80 scientists since 2006.
Unlike the typical basic science approach of mentoring scientists, the PITM student trainees also team with a clinical co-mentor who guides the student through clinical experiences, clinical vocabulary, and the overall culture of clinical research. Along with experiential learning, the training program includes a two-semester human pathophysiology course, a translational medicine seminar series, lunch and learn meetings, and the yearly symposium on topics in translational medicine.
Student trainees organize the symposium in its entirety, including inviting top scientists to deliver keynote speeches. After three years of trying, the symposium planning committee lured Peter Turnbaugh, PhD, a microbiologist at UC-San Francisco renowned for his work on the roles of microbes in human health. The second keynote speaker was Kris Wood, PhD, a Duke pharmacologist who is trying to create methods to match cancer patients with the most effective therapeutic strategies. The local faculty speaker was Ilona Jaspers, PhD, a professor of pediatrics and deputy director of the UNC Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology.