Much of the recent explosion in new knowledge about normal biological functions and disease is rooted in laboratory discoveries. Contributions to our understanding of human diseases, including cancer, have come from many disciplines — genetics, cell biology, structural biology, immunology, and developmental biology, among others.
There are enormous prospects for designing new medical interventions using the tools of modern cell and molecular biology. Regardless of the disease being studied, the scientific steps are the same: understand the disease process at the cellular level; identify the genes involved and their protein products; and focus on targeting these molecules to prevent or reverse the disease with new drugs, vaccines, or other approaches.
We are only at the beginning of this journey of harnessing our new knowledge and translating it from the laboratory into clinical practice. We need to train the next generation of scientists who are passionate about tackling problems in human disease through basic research.
Training the Next Generation of Leaders
The Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, offers a unique curriculum that integrates Memorial Sloan-Kettering's basic science and clinical arms to maximize the potential of future basic scientists to improve human health.
The core of our curriculum is a single, integrated course that takes students from genes and proteins to human pathophysiology. Additional aspects of our curriculum include:
- laboratory rotations
- observation in Memorial Sloan-Kettering clinics
- partnering with a clinical mentor
- exposure to cutting-edge science through interactions with Memorial Sloan-Kettering faculty and visiting investigators
- dissertation research
Special emphasis is placed on the:
- development of a self-reliant approach to assimilating scientific knowledge
- advancement of skills in critical analysis and logic as applied to scientific reasoning
- integration of basic science knowledge with human disease physiology information
Students are also immersed in the flow of modern research by meeting each week with speakers from the President's Research Seminar Series, which brings distinguished scientists to Memorial Sloan-Kettering to discuss their work and their thoughts on the challenges for the future.
After completing the didactic portion of their education in the first year, our students focus full time on thesis research at the beginning of the second year.