Hughes Institute backs MS program

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded $750,000 over four years for a new master's degree program at Stanford that aims to expose basic scientists to the world of clinical medicine.

The program, which was approved in December by the university's Academic Senate, will train a new generation of translational scientists: researchers who can turn basic discoveries into treatments. It will require PhD students in basic science to do pre-clinical course work in human biology, followed by clinical rotations. Five or six students will start next fall.

"It was definitely a strongly competitive grant, and they picked the ones they felt would have an impact on translational training," said Ben Barres, MD, PhD, a professor of neurobiology and of developmental biology who initiated the program. The grant is part of a new $10 million HHMI initiative to encourage translational medicine by changing the way graduate students are trained.