Helping Students Go Global
Faculty at The Warren Alpert Medical School like to boast about the superlative caliber of the student body. Their commitment to supporting these students is equal to their enthusiasm for working with them, which is why most faculty cite student research funding on their departmental wish lists. The desire to go beyond the standard curriculum is widespread among medical students. Research is a must for those enrolled in the Scholarly Concentration Program, but scientific exploration is something many want to pursue at Brown, nationwide, and around the world.
Raising student research funds has been an important component of the BrownTogether campaign, and the Brown medical community has stepped up. Our most recent gift, the Rana Family Global Health Research Travel Fund, was given by Meenakshi M. Rana ’00 MD’04 and Vishaal V. Rana. When available, this fund will support international exchange programs for students in the Program in Liberal Medical Education and medical students to pursue global health research, course work, and clinical electives that require travel. “Working in global public health education as an undergraduate at Brown inspired me to not only go on and have a medical career in infectious disease,” says Meenakashi Rana, “it allowed for shared experiences, provided me with some of my closest friends and cherished memories, and reminded me of the importance of community.
By giving back to Brown through the Rana Family Global Health Research Travel Fund, we hope to inspire future leaders in public health and medicine.”
Brown Biomedical Innovations to Impact (BBII) is an accelerator fund that supports academic
biomedical technologies at the University. Now in its third round of competitive awards, BBII is hitting its stride.
Originally funded with $8 million in philanthropic gifts to the BrownTogether campaign, BBII awards are intended to develop and add value to biomedical technologies in order to increase the probability for licensing and commercialization.
“The goal is to support and advance biomedical technologies that show great promise to dramatically
improve medical care,” says Karen Bulock, PhD, managing director of BBII. “We look for technology
that has commercial potential and a proposal that is focused on ‘moving the needle’ on the
The four projects detailed below have been awarded up to $100,000 each to advance the translation of their scientific discoveries.
- With their second round of BBII funding, researchers Jeffrey Morgan, PhD, the Donna Weiss ’89 and Jason Weiss Director of Predictive Biology; Blanche Ip, PhD, assistant professor (research) of medical science; and Frank Sellke, MD, the Karl E. Karlson, MD, and Gloria A. Karlson Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, are advancing their method of producing lab-grown, human-derived tissue to fabricate biomaterials for less invasive cardiac repair after a heart attack.
- Francois Luks, MD, professor of surgery, is improving the videography system used with minimally invasive surgery. He is developing driver-assisted videoscopic surgery (DAVID), which uses input from a single endoscopic camera and splices it into multiple, independently manipulated images.
- Eric Morrow, MD, PhD, the Mencoff Family Associate Professor of Biology and director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience, will use the award to identify and test potential treatment strategies and prevent disease progression in GPT-2 disease, a rare genetic disorder that causes intellectual and developmental disability.
- Nikos Tapinos, MD, PhD, the Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual Science, and Neuroscience, hopes to discover and develop drugs to stop the growth of glioma stem cells and change the treatment course for glioblastoma, the most revalent and aggressive type of brain tumor.
BBII inspired a handful of donors early in the campaign, and it remains a priority for Brown’s
Division of Biology and Medicine so that promising discoveries can reach their full potential.