- Medical Education
- Vanderbilt Hall
- Financial Aid
- Office of the Registrar
- Student Services
- Registering for Courses
- Exchange Clerk Program for Visiting Medical Students
- Curriculum Requirements
- Student Handbook
- Being a Student at Harvard Medical School
- History of Harvard Medicine
- 1. The MD Programs at Harvard Medical School
- 1.00 The Learning Environment at Harvard Medical School
- 1.01 Plan of Instruction for Cannon, Castle, Holmes, and Peabody Societies (New Pathway Program)
- 1.02 Plan of Instruction for the London Society of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
- 1.03 Course and Examination Requirements for the MD Degree (New Pathway and HST)
- 1.04 Student Assessment in the MD Program – New Pathway
- 1.05 Five-Year MD Program – New Pathway
- 1.06 Five-Year MD Program – HST
- 1.07 MD Degree with Honors in a Special Field
- 2. Academic Information and Policies
- 3. Academic Resources
- 4. Student Conduct and Responsibility
- 5. Combined degree programs
- 6. Financial Obligations
- 7. General Policies
- 8. Housing and Dining Services
- 9. Student Health
- 10. Services and Programs
- Alumni Services
- Campus Planning and Facilities
- Ombuds Office
- Committee on Microbiological Safety
- Human Resources
- HMS Foundation Funds
- Office for Academic and Clinical Affairs
- Joint Committee on the Status of Women
- The Academy
- Global Health Research Core
- Global Clinical Scholars Research Training Program
- HMA Standing Committee on Animals
- Office of Research Compliance
- Global & Community Health
- Harvard Medical School Event Calendar
- Contact @HMS
- Office of Diversity RIA Program
- Q&A Archive
- The Dean's Perspective
- Department of Pathology
- HMS NEXT
- Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute
- OHRA Home
- Office of Research Subject Protection
- Tools and Technology
- Welcome Alumni
- HMS Information Technology
- HMS TransMed Program
- Human Resources
- Contact us
- Dental Medicine
- Harvard University
Soma Weiss Day Extends from Research to Conflicts of Interest
February 6, 2009
Last summer, between his first and second year in medical school, Jordan Strom traveled to the Philippines to analyze anti-hypertension medication costs and prescription patterns in hospitals. He was working with an HMS research team that is helping the government develop policies to provide greater access to essential medications.
David Stark spent all last year at the New York University child study center to learn more about a new way of measuring brain function. His paper on how the two halves of the brain coordinate sensory information, movement, and higher cognitive functions was published in the December 2008 Journal of Neuroscience.
Sarah Henrickson earned her doctorate in the five years she studied the different factors that control the speed of T cell activation in the HMS lab of Ulrich von Andrian. T cells respond in part to the quantity of antigen presented to them, but they have thresholds of activation, reported Henrickson, who will finish her clinical training in the next two years.
The research projects by these Harvard medical students were among more than 100 student research and international projects presented at the Jan. 15 Soma Weiss Student Research Day. Held annually since 1940, the event is named for Weiss, an inspiring teacher and physician and ardent supporter of student research, who died in 1942. To hear more about how research fits into a doctor’s training, as well as a discussion of medical education with Dean for Education Thomas Michel, listen to HMS Medical Labcast Episode 9, How to make a doctor.
The day began with a panel of five faculty members who spoke about how they combined successful academic and research careers with industry interactions. Four students, including Stark and Henrickson, gave 15-minute presentations. The day wrapped up with a poster session in the TMEC atrium.
Introducing the panel, HMS dean Jeffrey Flier announced he was convening and chairing a committee to review the HMS faculty conflict of interest policy. The committee will include senior and junior faculty and students, he said (see Focus, Jan. 23).
The HMS conflict-of-interest rules have worked well to protect academic integrity while furthering the mission of enhancing health and human welfare, the panelists said.
George Church, HMS genetics professor, said his open involvement with a dozen technology companies has helped break a virtual monopoly on DNA sequencing and bring down the costs almost 10,000-fold so far.
Elliott Antman, HMS professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, credited clinical trials “conducted on a high moral plain” with major improvements in the standard of coronary care. A collaboration between Merck and the lab of Laurie Glimcher, the Irene Heinz Given professor of immunology at HSPH and an HMS professor of medicine at BWH, has clear demarcation. “Our job is to discover new genes in bone formation and resorption,” she said. “Merck’s job is small-molecule screens to target those pathways.” Glimcher also serves as a corporate director for Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Company.
Jerry Avorn, HMS professor of medicine at BWH, said the tensions and potential conflicts of interest are more likely to occur in clinical trials. “Sometimes we need to pay more attention than we do to the pitfalls on safety and cost, where there is the greater potential for non–win–win.”
“There is a really strong commitment to research at HMS,” said Terry Maratos-Flier, HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She chaired the student research committee that planned the day. Research experience makes doctors who are better able to understand growing and changing scientific knowledge, and doctors do research that matters for patients.