Expand Medical Knowledge

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The value of discovery

BUSM is home to one of the largest and most rapidly growing research enterprises among all U.S. medical schools. That overall research effort comprises more than 600 funded research programs that total more than $180 million in support from the National Institutes of Health.

These research programs provide an exceptional environment for basic science, clinical investigation, and health-services oriented research.

In his 2008 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, BUSM researcher Osamu Shimomura celebrated the value of discovery for its own sake—as well as a path to unintended ramifications and applications. His attitude is shared by many of our researchers, who tend to be intensely curious, creative, and opportunistic. Basic research is conducted in some two dozen centers and institutes based at the School of Medicine. BUSM scientists pursue knowledge at the cellular and genetic level, and look for ways to bring new technologies to bear on medical discovery.

Our clinical research spans the entire spectrum of field-based studies, including translational (pathogenesis-based) studies, clinical trials, cohort studies, clinical epidemiology, outcomes research, and cost-effectiveness analysis. The Framingham Heart Study—which has been administered by BUSM faculty in cooperation with National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute since 1971—was initiated in 1948 to identify factors contributing to cardiovascular disease, principally heart attack and stroke. For the past 60 years, the study participants have returned every two years to undergo a detailed medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests, providing BUSM and other researchers a wealth of information on cardiovascular disease and a host of factors that affect physical and cognitive health. Two additional generations—children and grandchildren of the original group—have been added to the study.

And of course, our basic and clinical research agendas often converge. For example: our newest research facility—the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories—represents a major step forward at BUSM in advancing both public health and biomedical research.  Its mission is to develop diagnostic drugs, vaccines and treatments to prevent and cure life- threatening infectious diseases.  The new laboratory has been developed in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Donors can help BUSM expand medical knowledge in several key ways. One is to support a particular center’s research directly by contributing to its research fund—or, for longer-term support, by creating an endowment that will provide research funding in perpetuity. Another is to support the faculty members whose creativity and diligence make medical advancements possible, by sponsoring professorships and fellowships that BUSM can use to reward their potential and achievements. These high-status awards help BUSM recruit and retain the medical field’s most promising researchers and teachers—and provide the resources they need to succeed.

Opportunities to support research at BUSM

  • Endow a research fund: $10 million
  • Create and name an endowed professorship for the director or faculty of the program: $1.5 to 2.5 million each
  • Create junior faculty and postdoctoral fellowships: $50,000 to 250,000 per year for three to five years
  • Sponsor seminars and symposia: $50,000