BALTIMORE, Md.—The Johns Hopkins University and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, at the beginning of March announced a first-of-its-kind Ph.D. training program between a major university and a biopharmaceutical company in the United States. Known as the Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars Program, this new initiative will build on an ongoing collaboration between MedImmune and Johns Hopkins, and reinforces both partners’ commitment to grow the Maryland biotech region.
The program will prepare Johns Hopkins graduate students for careers in the biopharma industry through rigorous training that focuses on the professional skills and knowledge required to be part of the biomedical workforce. As many as 15 students may participate in the first three cohorts.
Students will gain research experience in an industry environment through thesis projects conducted jointly in Johns Hopkins and MedImmune labs. In addition to the standard Johns Hopkins curriculum, students will be introduced to the process and challenges of drug discovery and development through coursework co-taught with scientists from the company, as well as a yearlong internship at MedImmune. This unique approach to training will offer graduate students hands-on experience in the biomedical field and prepare them for careers in the biopharma industry, while still obtaining a traditional Ph.D. from a world-class university.
“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 Ronald J. Daniels, president of The Johns Hopkins University. “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.”
“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, executive vice president at MedImmune. “This program will help plant the seeds of collaboration in order to bring science and innovation to life.”
The program will be jointly funded, designed and implemented by MedImmune and The Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Innovation in Graduate Biomedical Education. Both Johns Hopkins and MedImmune intend to expand this Ph.D. program model with other partners in the future.