Georgia State’s new Institute for Biomedical Sciences has opened with a mission of advancing research that improves human health, as well as educating and training future generations of leading biomedical scientists and health professionals.
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In this Q&A with Georgia State research writer LaTina Emerson, founding director Jian-Dong Li talks about the institute and its goals.
Q: Why did Georgia State start the Institute for Biomedical Sciences (IBMS)?
A: Despite tremendous advances in biological and medical research, significant gaps still exist between basic laboratory research and its clinical applications. Now more than ever there is an urgent need for bridging basic research to clinical management strategies. To meet this significant challenge and promote translational research from bench to bedside, the interface between the biomedical science disciplines has emerged as one of the most exciting interdisciplinary research fields in science. To significantly and rapidly accelerate Georgia State University as a recognized leader in this area, the Institute for Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) has been established to expand its contribution and efforts to research and education in these areas.
Q: What is the goal for the Institute for Biomedical Sciences?
A: IBMS will be a leading multidisciplinary research and education (degree-granting) institute dedicated to advancing fundamental and innovative biomedical research that improves human health as well as educating and training future generations of leading biomedical scientists and health (non-M.D.) professionals related to biomedical sciences.
Q: What degree and certificate programs will this institute offer?
A: IBMS plans to offer interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs in biomedical sciences leading to the Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees (and certificate programs for health professionals related to biomedical sciences). The program will provide graduate and undergraduate students with world-class educational and research opportunities to prepare for a wide variety of biomedical careers in industry, research, education and medicine.
Q: How will the Institute for Biomedical Sciences affect Atlanta and the state of Georgia?
A: IBMS will leverage the university’s technology licensing and commercialization infrastructure to translate its innovation and discoveries into market. Outcomes will include direct licensing to existing industry as well as the launch of new companies having the potential to develop into platform industries. Given its broader role in a public university, IBMS will also leverage its core strengths to impact public benefit. This may, for example, include the discovery of new compounds or therapeutic strategies that will have a profound impact on infectious diseases or disorders endemic to developing countries without the potential for substantial economic return.
Q: Will the Institute for Biomedical Sciences partner with any Atlanta area, Georgia or national organizations in its research and education efforts?
A: IBMS will not only build a strong research presence in biomedical sciences, but will also foster a unique environment to promote synergistic and interdisciplinary collaboration with units internal to the university, other Georgia and non-Georgia research institutions, major medical centers, private sector (for example, biopharmaceutical, biotech) companies and organizations/foundations, including the Georgia Research Alliance and Georgia Bio, to develop world-class multidisciplinary research and education programs.
Q: What are your responsibilities as founding director of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences?
A: My major responsibilities are to lead a joint effort to establish a leading multidisciplinary research and education (degree-granting) institute dedicated to advancing fundamental and innovative biomedical research that improves human health as well as educating and training future generations of leading biomedical scientists and health professionals related to biomedical sciences.
Q: What research areas will this institute focus on?
A: IBMS will promote interdisciplinary research that drives advances in biomedical sciences through synergistic collaboration, ultimately leading to better patient care. The focus will be on understanding the mechanistic basis for a variety of important human diseases, such as inflammatory, immunologic and infectious diseases, and developing innovative approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Q: What university-level research centers will be part of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences? What is the focus of each center?
A: IBMS will initially build on existing strengths in inflammation, immunity and infection, microbial pathogenesis, translational medicine including translational immunology, oncology, and therapeutics and diagnostics related to biomedical sciences.
Q: Are there opportunities for commercial products to be created from research at the institute?
A: There will be ample opportunities for commercial products to be developed from research at IBMS. Examples include development of universal vaccines for flu, novel anti-viral drugs, and new anti-inflammatory agents with fewer side effects.
Q: What types of biomedical careers will the Institute for Biomedical Sciences prepare students for?
A: Previous efforts have mainly focused on providing training in either basic laboratory research or clinical studies and there is a lack of sufficient workers skilled in the translational biomedical sciences field. One of the major goals of IBMS is to provide a world-class interdisciplinary training environment for preparation of technically skilled students who are capable of filling the diverse workforce needs in the biomedical sciences.