Generation M2M

new phd program

Emory wants to breed a new kind of scientist.

The university has started a new PhD program, "Human Health: Molecules to Mankind," or M2M, designed to educate graduate students in both lab and population sciences. Students will enroll in one of four tracks: predictive health, population processes and dynamics of infectious diseases, biomarkers and development of acute and chronic diseases, and genetic environmental determinants of health. They will work with mentors in Emory’s medical school and its Rollins School of Public Health.

"Traditionally, graduate education has been along disciplinary lines," says Kenneth Brigham, director of the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute, who will co-direct the M2M program with Emory epidemiologist Michele Marcus. "People who get a PhD in biochemistry, for example, tend to have their education and efforts focused on that subject without the broader view, without the implications in populations. On the other hand, public health students learn epidemiology and population behavior often without an in-depth understanding of the basic science behind them. 

"We want to create this new generation of scientists that move comfortably across the gulf," Brigham says. "We want to create the bridge and then populate the bridge with people who can move comfortably across it."

The doctorate is funded by a five-year $2.5 million grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. —Kay Torrance

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