Program Director's Message
The Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences program provides a broad foundation in biomedical sciences and advanced training in specific sub-disciplines including cancer, cardiovascular, infectious disease, and neuroscience research. The goal is for our graduates to become scientists conversant in many aspects of human biology and disease. This approach prepares them to contribute to, and lead, collaborative teams of biomedical scientists. NIH has acknowledged a particular need for collaborative research emphasizing health disparities. Our graduates are well equipped to meet that need.
Ward Kirlin, Ph.D.
Program Director, Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences
Veena Rao, Ph.D.
Unraveling the mysteries of the BRCA1 gene and its role in breast and ovarian cancer in diverse populations has guided the research of Dr. Veena N. Rao for 20 years. Her other passion is training diverse scholars in cancer health disparities research. She has been especially interested in the inner workings of this gene in triple negative breast cancers (TNBC), which are more aggressive and more prevalent in African American women. Her team was the first to show that BRCA1a induces cell death in breast cancer cells and the first to block tumors in mice by introducing BRCA1a into triple negative breast cancer by gene therapy. Dr. Rao has been awarded five U.S. patents for her research including a recent patent for BRCA1 function based assays to develop targeted therapy for TNBC.