Research Mentorship for MBBS/MD Students in India: The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Program

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There are very limited opportunities for Indian medical students and even residency trainees, to engage in high quality mentorship program focusing on development of research skills. The newly launched DIPS program is one such. I am reproducing the content from the India Alliance website below. You can check their site out here.

Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance
Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance

Rapid developments in biomedicine and information technology are ushering in a new age of medicine. Artificial intelligence, genome editing, tissue engineering, are just a few of the frontier fields that are changing the practice of medicine.

About the DIPS Workshop

These 4-day DIPS workshops are a unique opportunity for senior MBBS and MD students (and equivalent) to get exposed to the frontiers of biomedicine and related fields, and receive training in quantitative methods and research methodology. The workshops will also provide a platform for discussion and learning aimed at skill and perspective building for the most aspiring young physician researchers by bringing them together with senior mentors. Eminent physician scientists will make up the workshop faculty.

The DIPS workshop will include discussions on the need for physician-scientists, their making, and the experiences of physicians who are now full-time researchers. There would be emphasis on the fundamentals of a biomedicine research career, such as asking a good research question and thinking quantitatively. Didactic lectures on frontier topics would be coupled with lab/facility visits and opportunities to meet cutting-edge practitioners. These workshops will also provide an opportunity to young participants to discuss the relevance of biomedical research and career options with the best physician researchers in India.

The workshop will include the following:

“Mentor Talks” by senior and highly accomplished physician researchers, who will convey the excitement of clinical and translational research through the example of their own career trajectory. These will illuminate the path towards becoming a physician-scientist.

“Frontier Talks” will introduce a key biomedical research area and discuss it fully to convey the value and enthusiasm of research. Examples include how to ask the right question, quantitative sciences, data analysis, basic biology to therapy, etc.

“Technology Talks” will introduce participants to new technologies that are changing the face of medicine. Examples include next-generation sequencing, genome editing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, model systems, etc.

“Methodology Talks” will introduce participants to quantitative thinking and logic essential for research.

DIPS Workshop Programme:

The workshop will consist of a 3-day core program followed by a 1-day program focused on a specific topic, such as e.g. immunology, cardiorespiratory medicine, regenerative medicine, etc. with focus on model systems and disease biology. This fourth day’s program will also be open to the attendees of previous workshops as a single-day meeting.

Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance
Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance

The core, which will essentially remain unchanged between workshops, would be on the following lines:

Day 1

Introductions and Agenda
The Making of Physician-Scientists
Break and interaction
Where it all starts: Asking a good scientific question
Genomics and Medicine
Lunch
Technology talk: Basics and Applications of Next-Generation Sequencing
Hands on in a Genomics facility
Break
Life of PI (Principal Investigator)

 

Day 2

Quantitative thinking and data analysis of experiments
Break
When data analysis is the experiment
Lunch
Hands on in a high performance computing facility
Break
Technology Talk: Machine Learning
Beyond statistics for mechanistic understanding of disease: Animal models

 

Day 3

Translating a trillion data-points into therapies and new insights
Genomics and Cancer: The end of a beginning
Break
From precision diagnostics to precision therapeutics: The new world of genome editing
Lunch
The need for physician-scientists: A scientist’s perspective
Discussions and formation of mentored groups for continued interactions along with tea

 

Day 4

Yeast to Primates: The need for model systems and practical aspects of making choices
Transgenics, Knock-outs and Knock-ins: The essential toolbox
Zebrafish models for genetic discovery
Break
Visit to mouse and zebrafish facilities
Lunch
Yeast, Worms and Flies: Going deep into fundamentals of biology
Mouse models of cardiorespiratory disease
Break
Modeling complex diseases: Limitations
Using human cells and tissue explants as models

 

Upcoming DIPS workshops

During 2017-18, two DIPS workshops will be organised in Delhi NCR (23-26 November 2017) and Hyderabad (2-5 March 2018).

Eligibility: To apply for participation in the Workshop, applicant must be

–          an MBBS (final professional) and/or MD student training in an Indian medical college.

–          prepared to pay refundable advance of INR 2500 (MBBS) or INR 5000 (MD) which will be refunded after the workshop to those who have attended the complete workshop.

–          prepared to make their own travel arrangements. Accommodation (double occupancy) and meals will be provided by the organisers at no charge.

 

Application deadline

For Delhi NCR workshop                   September 23, 2017 (Call for applications currently active)

For Hyderabad workshop                  January 2, 2018 (Call for applications will be announced end of September 2017/ early- October)

Application Form for the Delhi NCR Workshop can be found here

 

Organizers

Prof. Rakesh Aggarwal, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow. Dr.Aggarwal is a Professor of Gastroenterology. Besides being an active clinician, he has been involved in training clinical fellows in the areas of gastroenterology and hepatology, and epidemiologic, clinical and laboratory research in liver disease, in particular viral hepatitis. He is a member of several national and international policy-making groups.

Dr. Anurag Agrawal, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi. Dr Agrawal employs experimental and computational approaches to understand biological and clinical aspects of respiratory diseases and metabolic dysfunction. His group has also developed computational tools for analysis of complex medical datasets and integrated solutions for healthcare delivery and digital data collection to aid community health efforts. Dr. Agrawal is also a Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Senior Fellow.

Supported and facilitated by

Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance is an initiative funded equally by the Wellcome Trust, UK and Department of Biotechnology, India, aimed at promoting basic biomedical, clinical and public health research in India through funding and engagement.

In case of queries, please write to workshops@wellcomedbt.org; it may take up to 3 working days for a response.

Skeptic Oslerphile, Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

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