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What is translational medicine?

Translational medicine or “bench to bedside” research has been defined as:

  1. Non-human or non-clinical studies conducted with the intent to advance therapies to the clinic or to develop principles for application of therapeutics to human disease.
  2. Basic science studies which define the biological effects of therapeutics in humans.
  3. Investigations in humans which define the biology of disease and provide the scientific foundation for development of new or improved therapies for human disease.
  4. Any clinical trial of a therapy that was initiated based on #1–3 with any endpoint including toxicity and/or efficacy.

How many trainees will be accepted?

There is no limit to the number of students who can earn the certificate in a given year.  There are currently 4 funded slots on the T32 that helps to support the Certificate.

What are the certificate requirements?

Please see:

I am doing a fourth rotation during the summer of my first year. Can I still apply?

If you are doing a fourth rotation and wish to apply to the program please contact Patrick Brandt ( to discuss your options.

I’m currently a second year student. May I apply for the program?

Yes, students entering their second or third year may apply to the program.

Will this program increase my time to graduation?

The program is not designed to increase the time to degree, although there are additional time commitments for scholars. When current scholars were asked if they felt the certificate requirements would increase their time to degree, they unanimously said no. The 28 graduates of the Program so far have graduated on average at 4 years and 11 months.

Does my entire thesis proposal have to be translational in nature to enter this program?

No, but at least one aim of your proposal must be translational in nature.

What kinds of clinical experiences will I have?

This is up to you and your mentoring team to decide. Current scholars have shadowed clinicians and residents in the clinic, witnessed patient interviews and enrollment, attended grand rounds (clinical seminars usually involving case studies), wrote portions of an IRB, and viewed procedures such as colonoscopy, blood collection, surgeries, or bronchoscopies.

How often will I meet with my clinical co-mentor?

This depends on the nature of your collaboration, but it is recommended that you meet with your clinical co-mentor at least once a month.

Are there translational medicine courses available in addition to the human pathophysiology course?

There are other courses offered through the Office of Clinical Trials, the UNC TraCS (Translational and Clinical Sciences) program, and other departments that are available to interested students. Please talk with the program leadership about course substitution options.

How can I get help connecting with a clinical co-mentor?

Contact Patrick Brandt ( if you need help contacting a clinician in your field.