The Future of Biology and Medicine at Brown
The Dean's strategic plan for the Division of Biology and Medicine fills out key areas of President Christina Paxson's Building on Distinction: A New Plan for Brown. The plan calls for investments in physician-scientists, new research initiatives, expanded medical education programs, and, possibly, a new research facility - all with an eye toward maximizing Brown's capacity to conduct groundbreaking translational research.
Practical Applications for Scientific Discovery
The cornerstone of the strategic plan is the Brown Institute for Translational Science (BITS). BITS builds on Brown’s existing strengths in areas of societal importance, embraces the University’s culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, and harnesses the potential of clinical partnerships and the state of Rhode Island’s unique demography to accelerate discovery and application to human health.
BITS is composed of horizontally integrated research teams that will allow scientists and clinicians to work together along a common continuum. The integrating factor can be a disease, biologic pathway, investigative approach, or problem in society. In these teams basic scientists make lab- or data-based discoveries and then work with master clinicians and physician scientists to evaluate the importance of their findings in well characterized patient populations. Other investigators then look at the policy consequences of these findings, and focus on ways this knowledge can be used to generate companies and commercial products for patients.
Collaborative Research Teams
Horizontally integrated programs are being configured in these areas:
- Respiratory Disease (Brown Investigators of Respiratory Disease, or BIRDs)
- Musculoskeletal and Motion Sciences
- Health Care Delivery
- Developmental and Regenerative Medicine
- Obesity and the Microbiome
A Launchpad for Ideas
The endpoint on the continuum is the translation of discoveries into real, marketable therapies or diagnostic tools that help patients. Brown Biomedical Innovations Inc. (BBII) bridges the gap between the lab bench and the commercialization of a product, helping investigators bring their discovery further in its development to where a startup could be launched or to attract an outside investor.
Connecting to the Medical School
Three new sections have been established within Alpert Medical School:
All medical education activities will be consolidated into one cohesive academic unit. The section will launch new master’s programs, and will restore and grow Brown’s MD/PhD program.
Human Genetics, Genomics, and Personalized Medicine
Human genetics has become a fundamental aspect of modern biomedical research. The section will build expertise in diseases, applied approaches, and algorithms, statistics, and quantitative methodologies for genetic analysis.
This section brings together physicians and scientists who are focused on pursuing new lines of translational research to increase our understanding of disease and create new therapies.
Connecting to Brown and Beyond
Paxson’s Building on Distinction was formulated with the express intent to unite expertise from across the University and its professional schools in solving problems that plague our society. The horizontally integrated research teams within BITS will do the same, and provide opportunities to connect the Division with experts in the: