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Translational Medicine Symposium Connects Engineering and Science Undergraduates

May 29, 2015

Nancy Tang

Jill Dumbauld Nery, Coordinator for CTRI Education, Training and Career Development, and Neil Jethani, UC San Diego bioengineering student and symposium organizer, greet attendees at the Translational Medicine Symposium at the MET Building on June 21.

Spurring dialogue among students interested in medicine, research, and engineering, the May 21 Translational Medicine Symposium: Engineering the Future of Medicine drew more than 100 UC San Diego engineering and science undergraduates, post-doctoral researchers, faculty and others. The Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) co-sponsored the day-long event at the Medical Education and Telemedicine Building, part of UC San Diego School of Medicine.

"We really got people thinking and conversing about this new field. Next year we hope to expand on that dialogue," said Neil Jethani, a UC San Diego bioengineering student who was one of the lead event organizers.

The free symposium was designed to educate students about opportunities available within translational medicine. It featured talks, workshops and panels, including the opening keynote presentation by Gary S. Firestein, MD, director of CTRI. Firestein emphasized the team approach to research, noting that the research world is moving from a single investigator in a lab to a multi-disciplinary team. "Team science is critical to our success," he said.

Other topics included translational efforts within cardiovascular research, stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus, and brain machine interfaces. There was also a tour of da Vinci surgical devices used in robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery. The symposium closed with a talk about human longevity by Brad Perkins, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Human Longevity, Inc., who discussed using machine learning to approach translating sequencing data to healthcare.

Attendees Yajur Maker and Taylor Martin, both bioengineering students, lauded the event.

"The Translational Medicine Symposium was an eye opening experience that allowed me to understand the importance of application-based research and devices. As an undergraduate bioengineering student, this event has driven me to pursue a MD/PhD degree, as I focus on improving health care through scientific discovery throughout my medical career,” Maker said.

Added Martin, "Hearing speakers describe their connection with patients and the gratification of using their research to help these patients improve has inspired me to seek a position in my field that will allow me to more directly impact the lives of patients.”

In addition to CTRI, the event was co-sponsored by the Biomedical Engineering Society, Department of Bioengineering, and Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego.

About UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute:

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium, led by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,500 members.