WIRB-Copernicus Group (WCG), a provider of regulatory and ethical review services and software to support clinical research, and Certara, a global biosimulation technology-enabled drug development consultancy, are co-sponsoring the inaugural Lasker Lessons in Leadership, a series of one-day career-oriented workshops for postgraduate medical research students. This program, which has been developed by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation in collaboration with the International Biomedical Research Alliance and the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, began May 19 at the NIH Main Campus in Bethesda, Md.
The NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program was created in 2001, through a collaboration between the NIH and Oxford and Cambridge Universities, to revolutionize the way in which the most talented biomedical Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students in the U.S. and the E.U. are taught. These students receive accelerated training, work on collaborative projects that address critical biomedical research problems and graduate earlier than in traditional programs with a Ph.D. degree from either Oxford or Cambridge University. They spend an equal amount of time with a mentor in a laboratory at either Oxford or Cambridge University and an NIH Intramural Laboratory.
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation was founded in 1942 by Albert and Mary Lasker with the goal of finding cures and new hope to battle disease through biomedical research. Since 1945, the awards program has recognized the contributions of scientists, physicians and public servants who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of human disease. The awards were created with the goal of inspiring the public to invest in the biomedical research that saves lives.
Lasker Awards often presage future recognition by the Nobel committee, so they have become popularly known as America's Nobels. Eighty-six Lasker laureates have received the Nobel Prize, including 44 in the last three decades.
The foundation also promotes scientific education and public policies that enhance biomedical research.
Claire Pomeroy, M.D., MBA, Lasker Foundation president, said, “The next generation of physicians and scientists is key to ensuring that biomedical research flourishes into the future. In addition to scientific knowledge, these young researchers must have the leadership skills necessary to guide innovation and scientific discovery.”
Students also will attend a mentor panel discussion with researchers who are at an earlier stage in their careers. Panelists will include Heidi H. Kong, M.D., MHSc, an investigator from the dermatology branch of the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research; Dr. Todd Macfarlan, Ph.D., an investigator specializing in the genomics of differentiation at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; and Dr. Joshua Milner, M.D., chief of the Genetics and Pathogenesis of Allergy Section at the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“At WCG, our mission is to advance medical research whilst safeguarding the subjects who participate in clinical trials. We also promote a culture of excellence and scientific rigor. Therefore, we felt a kinship with the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, which seeks to inspire and accelerate the academic success of gifted students that are embarking on a career in medical research,” said Donald A. Deieso, Ph.D., WCG chairman and CEO.
“Science is at the core of Certara’s mission. Our biosimulation technology enables data-driven decisions during all stages of drug development increasing the probability of and shortening the timeline for bringing safer, new drugs to market,” said Certara CEO Edmundo Muniz, M.D., Ph.D. “We are delighted to sponsor the Lasker Lessons in Leadership as another avenue through which we can help to accelerate medical research and bring new therapies to the patients who need them.”
Certara and WCG also are providing financial support for this year’s NIH Global Doctoral Partnerships Annual Research Colloquium, which is part of the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. It is being held at the University of Cambridge from June 21-24. This program will include keynote speeches on immunology and cell biology, together with workshops discussing the relationship between genes and phenotype, how to publish science, trends in big data and the art of grant writing.