Division of Biology and Medicine

Strategic Plan

The strategic plan aims to strengthen the Division through key investments in its academic and research programs.

The strategic plan for the Division of Biology and Medicine fills out key areas of President Christina Paxson's Building on Distinction: A New Plan for Brown. The plan calls for investments in physician-scientists, new research initiatives, and expanded medical education programs, all to increase Brown's capacity to train the next generation of physicians and scientists and to conduct groundbreaking translational research.

Practical Applications for Scientific Discovery

The cornerstone of the strategic plan is the Brown Institute for Translational Science (BITS). BITS builds on Brown’s existing strengths in areas of societal importance, embraces the University’s culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, and harnesses the potential of clinical partnerships and the state of Rhode Island’s unique demography to accelerate discovery and application to human health.

BITS is composed of horizontally integrated research teams that will allow scientists and clinicians to work together along a common continuum. The integrating factor can be a disease, biologic pathway, investigative approach, or problem in society. In these teams basic scientists make lab- or data-based discoveries and then work with master clinicians and physician-scientists to evaluate the importance of their findings in well-characterized patient populations. Other investigators then look at the policy consequences of these findings, and focus on ways this knowledge can be used to generate companies and commercial products for patients.

Collaborative Research Teams

Since BITS was established in 2015, the following horizontally integrated research centers have been established:

A Launchpad for Ideas

The endpoint on the continuum is the translation of discoveries into real, marketable therapies or diagnostic tools that help patients. Brown Biomedical Innovations to Impact helps bridge the gap between the lab bench and the commercialization of a product, helping investigators bring their discovery further in its development to where a startup could be launched or to attract an outside investor.

Funded through the generosity of donors, BBII makes annual awards to help accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into commercial products. Previously funded projects have included a tool for enabling better collaboration in minimally invasive surgery, new treatments for glioblastoma, a new drug for pulmonary fibrosis, and lab-grown tissues for post-heart attack cardiac repair.

Reestablishing an MD/PhD Program

One of the hallmarks of a research university and medical school is a robust MD/PhD program. Physician-scientists are uniquely positioned to take insights gleaned from their clinical work with patients into the lab, where they can pursue research directions that will have the greatest impact on human health.

With the generous support of The Warren Alpert Foundation, the Division established The Warren Alpert Physician-Scientist MD/PhD and Advanced Training Program. PhD candidates are able to choose from eight graduate programs within the Division of Biology and Medicine. Three candidates are selected every year from more than 250 applicants. 

Connecting to Brown and Beyond

Paxson’s Building on Distinction was formulated with the express intent to unite expertise from across the University and its professional schools in solving problems that plague our society. The horizontally integrated research teams within BITS will do the same, and provide opportunities to connect the Division with experts in the: