Johns Hopkins, MedImmune launch joint training program for PhD students

Program participants will prepare for careers in biomedical workforce

Johns Hopkins University and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, have announced a first-of-its-kind PhD training program between a major university and a biopharmaceutical company in the United States.

The Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars Program, part of an ongoing collaboration between the university and biopharmaceutical company, will prepare JHU graduate students for careers in the biomedical workforce. Program participants will gain research experience in an industry environment, be introduced to the drug discovery and development process, and complete a yearlong internship at MedImmune.

"One of the major challenges for the future of biomedical workforce is how to prepare the next generation of scientists for diverse careers inside and outside of academia," says Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. "As the nation's first research university, it is fitting that Johns Hopkins is at the forefront of creating innovative training opportunities for our students. Johns Hopkins and MedImmune will offer our PhD students a unique opportunity, one that unites exceptional academic rigor with the comprehensive training that will prepare them to lead in wide-ranging fields."

Beginning this year, students from the PhD programs in JHU's schools of Medicine and Engineering can apply to become Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars in the spring of 2017. As many as five students may be selected for each of the thee cohorts, with up to 15 students for the entire pilot.

"Creating new avenues for the exchange of innovative ideas and groundbreaking research among scientists, engineers, and clinicians is a critical part of drug discovery and development, and a key component of our culture at MedImmune," says Bahija Jallal, MedImmune's executive vice president. "This program will help plant the seeds of collaboration in order to bring science and innovation to life."

MedImmune, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, makes up nearly half of AstraZeneca's research and development portfolio. The company focuses on three core therapeutic areas: oncology; respiratory, inflammation, and autoimmune; and cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

The training program will be jointly funded, designed, and implemented by MedImmune and JHU's Center for Innovation in Graduate Biomedical Education. Both Johns Hopkins and MedImmune intend to expand this PhD program model with other partners in the future.

"As the career ambitions of our graduate students grow more varied, it is important to offer them a variety of hands-on experiences to ensure they have the best opportunities available to them when they finish their studies," says Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. "This collaboration enables Johns Hopkins and MedImmune to apply our organizations' complementary strengths to cross-train our students and expand their professional horizons."