Innovating Academic Training to Develop Scientific Professionals

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Wilson A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Eva Guinan, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
Clinical and translational science receives a lot of attention, but it is often unclear exactly what is being discussed. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is little clarity about a model for professional training and career expectations in this field. Effective curricula must respond to the shared needs of all translational experts for a highly multidisciplinary knowledge base. That training ranges broadly, from reasonable comprehension of basic science and human physiology to advanced understanding of regulatory science, and it encompasses knowledge of best practices in working with both industry and patient communities. However, there are multiple translational subdisciplines that require quite divergent expertise. The educational requisites for performing bench to bedside research are not identical to those required when trying to change the behavior of at-risk populations or those for applying bench observations to patients. Development of effective and innovative curricula utilizing material, methods and instructors from the industrial, regulatory, legislative, investment, patient advocacy and academic spheres will allow new investigators to gain realistic perspectives on the multi-facetted demands and constraints of this discipline. Introduction to innovation approaches used by non-academic sectors, diversifying the composition of trainee groups and aligning incentives within academia with realistic goals for success in translational endeavors should all be explored as ways to help promote a viable career path performing effective translational research with potential impact on human health.