The Molecular and Cellular Medicine (MCM) training program, a recently developed option for graduate studies in the molecular biology graduate studies programs at the Université de Montréal, accepted its first cohort of students this last summer 2013 session at the IRCM. With this option, graduate students benefit from multidisciplinary training in molecular biology with a focus on translational research.
The goal of translational research is to bring together basic research conducted in laboratories with the needs of the clinical practice. Since the training of new scientists at the university level is highly specialized, it often results in isolating scientific knowledge from medical knowledge. Thus, basic research has developed at a rapid pace, in line with the new technologies, but does not always adequately target medical and patient needs.
The increased understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms, along with the boom in biomarker discoveries, now allow for a personalized approach to prevention and diagnosis and the ability to predict therapeutic response, which offers patients a targeted treatment based on their molecular signature, with enhanced specificity and success along with limited side effects. These new approaches must be supported by both basic and clinical research in order to quickly move toward personalized medicine. The success of transferring laboratory research to the patient’s bedside will depend on the quality of training and the talent of up-and-coming scientists.
In the spirit of training the next generation of scientists who will master the new basic research technologies and understand the current challenges of healthcare, the MCM option offers an innovative academic approach with a fast-tracked Master’s degree integrating sound translational research concepts, and introducing students to different research laboratories and the clinical setting.