PHD IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES: NEW BREAKTHROUGH FOR THE UNIVERSITY
THE TRANSIT TOWARDS COMPLEXITY, INCLUDED IN THE 2020 STRATEGIC PLAN, INVOLVES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, INCREASED ISI PUBLICATIONS AND HAVING AT LEAST 10 PHD PROGRAMS.
August 26, 2016
Ambitioning to become a reference in medical research in Chile and internationally, the new PhD in Biomedical Sciences program was launched, being the ninth graduate program of this type offered by our University, supporting the growing body of research work of our Academic Institution.
The inauguration act for this PhD, under the Department of Health Sciences, was held in the Auditorium of the School of Medicine, with academic authorities, researchers and students. A special guest was Philip Hinds, Professor from the School of Medicine of Tufts University of Massachusetts, United States.
The Dean of this Department, Carlos Padilla, said that this is a special moment for the University, approaching its 35 anniversary, with a trajectory that, despite its youth, has developed all areas of knowledge. "We have advanced, we have nine PhDs, 26 masters’ degrees and five dental specialties, and a highly relevant undergraduate activity ", he said.
Advancing Towards Complexity
Padilla stressed that the transit towards complexity included in the 2020 Strategic Plan implies, among others aspects, the increase of ISI publications and to have at least 10 PhD programs. "We already have nine PhDs and more than 300 ISI publications," he said in order to point out that the institution is on the route to achieve that goal.
The Dean also talked about the role of the University as providing qualified human resources for the country to develop and improve the quality of life of its population. In his opinion, there is a great debt in terms of the amount of resources available for scientific research, which remains in just 0.34 % of the GDP. "This obstructs the development and, despite the claims of scientists, the political world does not give the required importance to this affair", he lamented.
Likewise, he expressed his recognition to all those researchers that were the promoters of the idea of imparting a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and he especially mentioned Jaime Rodriguez, who isn’t here anymore. He also highlighted the work of research groups involved in the initiative.
The director of new PhD program, Rodrigo Moore, highlighted the challenge of "guiding this program to a prominent place in national and international biomedical research".
"We were born in a difficult year, but we will work tirelessly to take this project forward. We are a new program and we need an additional impulse, like the one our older brothers when being born", he said.
About these needs, Moore said the requirements for four scholarships, either for equality as for the high interest that this alternative of higher education has awakened, since there are already more than 15 interested persons from various countries. "Our commitment with the authority and the society is to train researchers that are competent, ethical and with leadership abilities", he said.
The academic also agreed with the opinions of the Dean, in terms of the fact that Chile needs advanced human capital, "but with real opportunities for inclusion".
Lines of Research
Concerning the lines of research of the program, he said that one of them is focused on microbiology, led by Carlos Padilla and his group, and another by Professor Rodrigo Giacaman, who directs the laboratory of oral microbiology. In Heart Physiology Professor Daniel Gonzalez is working and another line is Immunology and Hematology by the research groups of Professor Ivan Palomo and Rodrigo Moore vascular biology. Among the other researchers who are part of the program, he mentioned Eduardo Fuentes - member of the Millennium post docs group - and Nelson Brown, who works in cancer research, and Leandro Zúñiga, in ion channels structure.
"We are designing the opening of a new line of research, in neuroscience, which will be supported mainly by the works of Valeska Gatica, from the School of Kinesiology, Monica Carrasco and Juan Carlos Tapia, form the Department of Basic and Biomedical Sciences, and by doctors Maria de la Luz Aylwin and Leandro Zuniga, from the School of Medicine ", he said.
During the ceremony, Professor Hinds spoke about the challenges and opportunities for the graduates of a biomedicine education program in the era of the macro data and limited resources.
He also said that a good PhD program in Biomedical Sciences must open opportunities so that graduates can assume functions that sometimes are not directly concerned with research in their area, but that give them the possibility to transmit their knowledge to society. This entails the development of skills beyond lab work, he concluded.