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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital receives approval for Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Memphis, Tennessee, December 22, 2015

Jared Hammill conducting research in the lab

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has received a unanimous vote of approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for the opening of a new graduate school of biomedical sciences.

The St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will train the next generation of academic researchers in a one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary environment — one that brings together diverse scientific disciplines to work at the interface between basic and clinical research. St. Jude is home to more than 200 basic scientists and clinicians working across 21 academic departments.

“The graduate school will play an important role in our research efforts to advance cures for pediatric catastrophic diseases,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “Talented graduate students are a creative and energetic force that will contribute to the kind of innovation required for progress against cancer and other life-threatening diseases. These students will ask the unexpected questions, challenge fundamental assumptions and will help tackle the most difficult scientific problems.”

St. Jude was the first pediatric cancer research institution to unite doctors, scientists and patients under one roof, creating a worldwide model for the bench-to-bedside approach in the research and treatment of childhood cancers and other life-threatening diseases. Keeping with the St. Jude culture, collaborative, translational research will be a major emphasis, and students will interact extensively with clinical faculty and patients. The hospital’s goal is to create scientific leaders of distinction who will discover the next generation of cures.

Interactions with the neighboring University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital will provide students with invaluable clinical and research experience. State-of-the-art resources at St. Jude and its partner institutions will offer many opportunities for students interested not only in traditional biomedical disciplines but also chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science.

Stephen White, D.Phil., a faculty member in the St. Jude Department of Structural Biology, will serve as dean of the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. “We want to attract the most ambitious and adventurous students who are willing to take on the challenges of learning in a multidisciplinary environment,” White said. “Our faculty will provide a unique mentoring experience that will fully support the development of independent-minded postdoctoral fellows who will become leaders in their chosen fields and have a major impact on translational research.”

The graduate school is located in a custom-designed space within The Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration. St. Jude will welcome the inaugural class in fall 2017.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. To learn more, visit or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.