Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Case Studies in Translational Research

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Welcome to CSTR

Fall, 2014

Course Directors:

Skip Brass, MD PhD


Emma Meagher, MD


Gregory Podsakoff, MD


Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD

Description: An introduction to translational research open to MD-PhD, VMD-PhD and Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) PhD students. All second year combined degree students are expected to take this course unless excused by Dr. Brass. Enrollment in the course is limited to 24 students. Interested VMD-PhD and pre-thesis BGS PhD students are welcome as space permits.

Students taking the course: Please look at the remainder of this website before the course begins, particularly the sections entitled “Schedule” and “Student Guidelines”. Please note the September 3rd start date.  Also note that the meeting rooms vary in week October and December.

Goals: The goals are to 1) analyze actual examples of translational research including some that are ongoing at Penn/CHOP and at regional pharmaceutical companies and 2) familiarize students with issues that specifically pertain to translational research and compare these issues to those pertaining to basic research.

Course structure: CSTR is a seminar-type course that will meet once weekly during the Fall semester.  As in Topics in Molecular Medicine (TiMM), a course offered for first year MD/PhD students, teams of students will work with selected Penn faculty or other preceptors from local biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies to prepare a discussion and literature review on a different topic each week.  In contrast to TiMM, which emphasizes basic science, the focus for CSTR will be translational research.  Topics will include gene therapy for hemophilia, retinal disease and wound healing, cytokine therapies for immune disorders, genetic sleep disturbances and drug and vaccine development.  We will consider issues that differentiate translational from basic research, including the unique challenges of doing meaningful studies in humans, ethical considerations, patent issues, intellectual property and various issues encountered in biotech/pharmaceutical industries.  Much of the course will focus on the analysis of successful translational research projects that are taking place here at Penn, although some outside preceptors will also participate.  We will try to answer questions like: When is the right time to take a basic science discovery into the clinic? How do you go from “laboratory-scale” to “human-studies-scale”?  How do you protect your subjects?  How do you define and protect your intellectual property?  How do you find funding for your ideas?  How do you know when they are viable?


The course schedule is accessible from this website.  The first meeting will be a course orientation with class organizers.  The remainder of the course will be student presentations with faculty mentors.

Learning objectives:

Time:   Please check Schedule

Dates:  Wednesday, September 3rd- Wednesday, December 10th

Location: Please check Schedule.

• Last updated: 09/05/2014