A Letter from the Chair
I really enjoy the opportunities I’ve had to interact with scientific colleagues in other countries who share my passion for discovery and education. I have had the pleasure of working with trainees from India, Korea, Japan, Russia, China, Lebanon, Brazil, France, Argentina, Hungary, Persia and the UK, and enjoyed learning about their customs and culture. That knowledge has given me a new perspective on American style. I have continued to collaborate with some former trainees after they established independent careers, and these long-term relationships have been mutually beneficial and fulfilling. Despite the financial pressures academic researchers are experiencing in the US, we are in a privileged position when it comes to research infrastructure and resources. I am inspired by the effort and creativity that scientists in many other countries devote to setting up technologies that we take for granted. It is rewarding to establish collaborations that transfer technologies and education, and make discovery science a global enterprise.
Graduate Student Fellowships
The University of Michigan established a global REACH program several years ago in order to promote international collaborations for our faculty and students in research, education and health care (http://globalreach.med.umich.edu/about). To be successful, the collaborations established through this mechanism must be mutually beneficial. Several faculty members in the Department of Human Genetics have been engaged in the global REACH program as scientific collaborators and as educators. Read more about our faculty engagement in many different countries around the world in this newsletter’s spotlight on global activities.
The University of Michigan recently launched a $4 billion dollar fundraising campaign aimed at three priority areas: student support, engaged learning, and bold ideas. Through action and words, our leaders, faculty members, alumni and friends have emphasized their commitment to guaranteeing that a diverse group of the world’s brightest students are able to study at the University of Michigan, by making an investment in the discovery of new knowledge. Former University President, Mary Sue Coleman, announced the goal of raising $1 billion for student support, and committed $25 million in University funds as a matching opportunity to encourage donations. I am delighted to share the news that Professor Emeritus of Human Genetics and Internal Medicine, Dr. George Brewer and Mrs. Lucia Brewer have donated $100,000 to endow a scholarship for physician-scientist trainees pursuing research in human genetics. This was matched by $25,000 in funds from the President’s office. We are eager to inaugurate and expand this scholarship because of the importance of training individuals who understand the pressing clinical questions and have the scientific training to address them.
Our new University President, Mark Schlissel, MD, PhD, emphasized his personal commitment to fundraising for graduate education during his recent inauguration as the 14th President of our nearly 200-yearold institution. He pledged to embrace the University’s mission to seek out, encourage and value all voices, and to create an open and accessible, diverse and democratic community. I attended the inauguration festivities with HG PhD student from Estonia, Kärt Tomberg. The event was truly inspiring.
Ora Pescovitz, MD, our most recent Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, was a leader and driver for supporting basic science in the fundraising campaign. She personally gave generously and recruited others to donate to the EBS’s Endowment for the Development of Graduate Education (EDGE) fund (http://ebs.med.umich.edu/ edge),which supports students who are in the final stages of completing their dissertation research. in Human Genetics; Matt Avenarius, Jake Higgins, and Bill Law have all been supported by this fund for their research in hearing, prostate cancer, and congenital birth defects, respectively.
We are grateful to all who have given generously to support graduate education and research.
With best regards,