ATHENS, Ohio (June 24, 2014)—Ohio University has launched a new
doctoral program in translational biomedical sciences that will give
students a broad base of knowledge to tackle complex health issues.
Students and faculty affiliated with the program will be eligible
for five new research fellowships and awards funded in part by a $2
million gift from Ohio University faculty and staff donors John and
Char Kopchick and $1.9 million in match support from five university
colleges and offices.
The translational biomedical sciences program, approved by the
Ohio Board of Regents this month, is the first of its kind in the
state of Ohio. Graduate students in this interdisciplinary program
will work with faculty mentors from two disciplines to craft a
unique curriculum that aims to improve the health of individuals and
the community by turning research discoveries into diagnostic tools,
medicines, procedures, policies and education.
“The program is very focused on the understanding that in order
to bring health care to the largest number of people, we need much
more ‘outside of the box’ approaches,” said Sonsoles de Lacalle, an
associate professor of biomedical sciences in the Ohio University
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and director of the new
Ohio University developed the doctoral program in response to a
major push by the National Institutes of Health to fund
translational medicine efforts that draw on collaborations between
researchers and clinicians and leverage new technologies and data
analysis tools to increase the speed at which new treatments reach
Ohio University’s Graduate College will serve as the academic
home of the translational biomedical sciences doctoral program,
which will be led by an interdisciplinary steering committee
composed of Brian Clark and Jay Shubrook, Heritage College of
Osteopathic Medicine; Lonnie Welch, Russ College of Engineering and
Technology; Stephen Bergmeier, College of Arts and Sciences; and
Darlene Berryman, College of Health Sciences and
Professions/Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The steering committee, de Lacalle and Michael Boyle, a senior
scientist with the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity
division, were instrumental in developing the program, said Joseph
Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean
of the Graduate College.
The translational biomedical sciences initiative draws on the
university’s existing strengths in public policy, health, medicine
and psychology, as well as engineering and the basic sciences,
Shields said. More than 50 faculty members in eight academic
colleges have expressed interest in participating in the program.
The program will benefit from the $2 million donation made by the
Kopchicks earlier this spring. The couple has earmarked funding for
a research fellowship award, faculty support fund, undergraduate
student support fund, research awards program and discretionary
support fund for students and faculty affiliated with translational
biomedical sciences or the university’s current molecular and
cellular biology program. Five university colleges and
offices—Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Russ College of
Engineering and Technology, College of Arts and Sciences, College of
Health Sciences and Professions and the Vice President for Research
and Creative Activity—will provide $1.9 million total in match
“The generous gift from the Kopchicks and matching funds from the
colleges will have a large impact in enabling the successful launch
of this forward-looking program,” Shields said.
Graduates of the translational biomedical sciences program will
be well equipped to work with government agencies, health care
systems, research laboratories and other entities seeking to make a
difference in public health and wellness.
“This is the type of program that will allow students to be
entrepreneurial and innovative in their efforts to make a powerful
difference in the well-being of a large number of people,” Shields
Students will be able to join the program beginning in August
2014. The translational biomedical sciences program is developing a
memorandum of understanding with the Heritage College of Osteopathic
Medicine’s combined D.O./Ph.D. program, which de Lacalle also
directs. The new doctoral program will serve as the primary option
for the Ph.D. portion of that dual degree, she explained.
Media contact: Director of Research Communications Andrea