Translational research draws undergrads during winter break

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Rather than hitting the ski slopes or simply basking in the lull between semesters, close to 50 Harvard undergraduates spent a week of their winter break attending a new course titled “Introduction to Clinical/Translational Research,”  offered by Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical & Translational Science Center.

Designed to introduce students to the growing field of translational research, course sessions illuminated the process by which laboratory discoveries become patient treatments. Topics included the history of clinical and translational research, trial design methods, ethics, and drug and device development, with case studies and discussion woven throughout.

Elliott Antman, HMS associate dean for clinical and translational research and Jim Ware, HSPH associate dean for clinical and translational science at Harvard School of Public Health, designed the course to inspire the next generation of translational researchers. “It’s important for us to encourage budding researchers to pursue this critical field,” said Antman. “There’s clearly a desire among undergraduate students to learn more about clinical and translational research opportunities.” According to Ware, “It was extremely rewarding to teach these talented and enthusiastic undergraduates.”

The four-day survey course also provided students the opportunity to interact with Harvard faculty and industry leaders. Students sought career advice and listened to stories from HMS leaders such as Jeffrey Flier, dean of the faculty of medicine at HMS, Lee Nadler, director of Harvard Catalyst and dean for clinical and translational science, and William Chin, executive dean for research at HMS.