International Master´s Program Molecular Medicine
In addition to teaching medical and dental students, the Charité offers several different medically related international graduate programs. The master’s program in molecular medicine is one of these programs. It operates under the auspices of the Charité’s dean of teaching, Professor Dr. Adelheit Kuhlmey, and in conjunction with the Berlin Institute of Health. The program is overseen by four program directors. The daily running of the program is managed by two staff members and a student assistant.
The master's program in molecular medicine, affiliated with the Charité hospital in Berlin, is a two year, interdisciplinary program. The goal of the program is to provide students with a solid theoretical background in the molecular pathology of disease, as well as hands on training in corresponding techniques practiced both in the research laboratory and the clinic. Furthermore, the program seeks to educate students to recognize basic scientific questions in clinical findings, as well as translate laboratory discoveries into medical treatments. Upon successful completion, students should be able to formulate questions from a clinical perspective, and then suggest, as well as carry out, research strategies to develop answers. Graduates of the program are well prepared to enter highly selective medical schools or Ph.D. programs throughout the world. They also have the option to work in industry or government agencies.
Within the last few years the explosion of novel research strategies available in molecular biology has finally begun to overlap with the clinical experience of medical doctors. The result is nothing less than the generation of a new field, namely molecular medicine. Here scientist's knowledge of the fundamental operations within cells can finally be widely applied, not just to the understanding of disease, but more significantly, to the development of treatments.
While the promise of this new approach is great, it lacks scientists who have been specifically trained in its theory and practice. The shortage stems from the fact that, traditionally, medicine and the biological sciences have developed relatively separate systems of higher education: separate locations, curriculums, professors, and most importantly, separate goals.
As this division is still largely the case, few opportunities currently exist for students to study the two fields in an integrated program. Medical students, for example, who prefer not to practice directly as doctors, but rather wish to conduct medical research with a molecular orientation, have little access to academic programs structured specifically for this purpose. Likewise, students in the sciences with an interest in questions related to biomedicine, rarely have a chance to become familiar with the medical perspectives applied in posing such questions. Consequently, the nascent field of molecular medicine lacks an up and coming generation of researchers qualified to represent both the medical and biological aspects of the field.
The master`s program in molecular medicine now being offered by the Charité has been specifically designed to close this gap. As an international graduate program it offers students the opportunity to study the molecular pathology of disease from a clinical perspective. Unlike other more traditional programs available in medicine, biology, and biochemistry, which, at best, might offer a course or two in another discipline, our approach is interdisciplinary from the start. In creating this innovative program, the Charité, Berlin hopes to train the next generation of physician-scientists, thereby continuing its long tradition of expertise in medicine.