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News Release

For immediate use 

Feb. 21, 2006 -- No. 89

UNCís School of Medicine receives
$800,000 graduate training grant

CHAPEL HILL -- The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillís School of Medicine a graduate student training grant aimed at introducing doctoral students in the basic sciences to clinical medicine.

The grant, totaling $800,000 over four years, will provide students with a broad knowledge of human disease and a clinical perspective. Students at UNC will receive a certificate in translational medicine for completing medically relevant course work and basic clinical training. This certificate will complement a thesis granted from any of their existing degree programs.

"The purpose of this grant is to train our Ph.D. students in the skills to bring research from bench to bedside, to work as partners with clinicians in translational research," said Dr. James Anderson, professor and chairman of cell and molecular physiology. Anderson co-directs the HHMI training grant at UNC with Dr. William Coleman, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine.

The HHMI chose UNC as one of 13 innovative graduate programs nationally to receive a training grant. A panel of graduate educators, biomedical researchers and physician-scientists helped select the recipients; HHMI said it received applications from 82 institutions.

"We, like many others, are concerned by how difficult it is becoming for scientists to harness the explosion of new biomedical research information and translate it into medical practice," said Dr. Thomas R. Cech, HHMI president. "At a time when science and medicine must work hand in hand to solve problems of human health and disease, we want to help change graduate education to increase the pool of scientists who are doing medically oriented research."

The other 12 graduate programs receiving a grant were Baylor College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rice University, Stanford University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of California at Davis, the University of California at San Diegoís School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington and Yale University.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md., is a nonprofit medical research organization and one of the worldís largest philanthropies. The HHMI was founded by aviation pioneer Howard R. Hughes.

More information is available at www.hhmi.org/news/20060215.html.

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School of Medicine contact: Les Lang, (919) 843-9687 or llang@med.unc.edu