Mechanisms of Disease and Translational Science 

The Mechanisms of Disease and Translational Science (MoDTS) Graduate Track was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-sponsored Med into Grad Initiative. After the Med into Grad Initiative ended, MoDTS was awarded a 5-year NIH Molecular Medicine Predoctoral Research T32 Training Grant.

MoDTS is designed to train Ph.D. students to become leaders of the next generation of translational scientists. Translational research refers to the “process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes.”

Translational Science Spectrum
Translational Science Spectrum
Click image to enlarge

MoDTS students will focus on laboratory research that has the potential for translation. They will have new opportunities to study human diseases at the interface between basic and clinical sciences. They will be empowered to work with other members of scientific teams such as clinical researchers to spearhead the bidirectional translation of discoveries between the “bench” and “bedside” to improve human health.

The MoDTS track is overlaid on the Basic Science Graduate Programs, and its curriculum is superimposed on those of the existing Basic Science Ph.D. Graduate Programs. The MoDTS curriculum is designed to provide cross-disciplinary training that includes basic, translational and clinical sciences, and mentored clinical experiences. MoDTS kicks off at the fall semester of graduate year one (G1) and ramps up in the summer before year two (G2). Many of the MoDTS required courses will fulfill the graduate program’s elective course requirements. Students will be able to work on their dissertation research while taking MoDTS courses and its unique practicum experiences.

A Message from the Program Co-Chairs

Helen Yin
Professor, Department of Physiology
Associate Dean, Office of Women's Careers
Graduate School: Ph.D., Harvard University, 1976
Postdoctoral Training: Rockefeller University and Massachusetts General Hospital
Thomas Carroll, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, and Molecular Biology
Graduate School: Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin, 1992
Postdoctoral Training: Harvard University

The Mechanisms of Disease and Translational Science (MoDTS) Track’s specialized curriculum provides students with new opportunities to study human diseases at the interface between basic and clinical translational sciences. The primary goal of this curriculum is to create a new breed of Ph.D. translational scientists capable of targeting their research programs to address unmet therapeutic and diagnostic needs of the future.

We created a rigorous curriculum that includes basic science and clinical translational science didactic coursework, co-mentoring by basic and clinical scientists during students’ dissertation research, structured experiences in patient care and clinical research, and exposure to the opportunities and challenges of bridging basic and clinical sciences.