Harvard Medical School will expand and reorganize its immunology program with a new multifaceted initiative, according to a letter released by Dean of Faculty Jeffrey S. Flier to the Medical School community.
The effort aims to further implement the objectives of Flier’s Strategic Plan, which intends to focus cross-departmental research on modern science’s most pressing questions.
Flier said that the reorganization and expansion seeks to “augment interactions and collaboration among investigators with the ultimate goal of preventing and treating human illness.”
Flier’s letter details a new three-part program that will be based around the Harvard Committee on Immunology.
The Committee comprises about 100 faculty members who oversee Harvard’s graduate immunology department.
This committee will be accompanied by the newly-created Division of Immunology within the restructured Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology.
The final tier of the initiative is the Harvard Institute of Translational Immunology (HITI), which will take a multidisciplinary approach to the field of immunology and “train the next generation of translational and clinical immunologists.”
Additionally, the Helmsley Trust has funded a new pilot grant program—based out of HITI—that will devote its initial research to type 1 diabetes and Crohn’s disease.
In his letter, Flier wrote that the new initiatives will “enhance our understanding of fundamental immunologic mechanisms and help us translate basic science discoveries into clinical therapies, spurring progress in our mission to ease human suffering and eradicate disease.”
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