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Johns Hopkins, United Therapeutics launch postdoctoral fellowship in computational medicine

August 13, 2019

JHU campus

Johns Hopkins University and biotech company United Therapeutics Corporation have teamed up to create a new postdoctoral fellowship in the emerging field of computational medicine.

The Industry Fellowship in Computational Medicine will provide full funding and an annual salary to recent PhD graduates who will receive training in computational medicine and learn mathematical and engineering approaches used to model lung disease. Fellows also will gain experience in leading interdisciplinary, team-based scientific research and receive mentorship from Johns Hopkins faculty and United Therapeutics researchers.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 1.

Computational medicine uses mathematical modeling of biological systems to develop quantitative approaches for understanding human disease and improving patient care. The Institute for Computational Medicine, founded in 2005 within the Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering, is considered the birthplace of the field.

“This fellowship provides a unique opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary, leading-edge translational research in computational medicine with mentorship by investigators at both The Johns Hopkins University Institute for Computational Medicine and United Therapeutics,” says Raimond L. Winslow, ICM’s director. “These fellows will benefit from experience in both academic and industry environments, including great people and extensive resources in both, and will be superbly placed for their future careers.”

Silver Spring-based United Therapeutics is focused on developing and commercializing innovative products to address the unmet medical needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions. The UT Computational Lab for in silico molecular biology, for example, uses computational methods to model the possible effects of drugs at the organ, tissue, cell, and molecular levels.

“What we want for the fellows and the program overall is to expand the application of computational medicine in lung diseases,” says Joe Bender, UT’s computational lab director and Johns Hopkins alum.

Applicants for the fellowship must have received a PhD in biomedical engineering, computational biology, or a related discipline and must possess knowledge of techniques used in mathematical modeling. The hybrid of academic and industry research mentorship and experience is ideal for students who wish to pursue careers on either path, says Bender, who will help mentor the fellows.

“If you’re not sure what direction you want to go, this will give you a chance to decide,” he says.

A finalized and detailed application process will be posted on the ICM website.

“The fellowship in computational medicine with United Therapeutics is a great example of how industry can work together with the Whiting School of Engineering in a way that advances the research mission of both parties,” says Seth Zonies, director of business development for JHU’s Whiting School of Engineering. “We hope to see an increasing number of these relationships.”

– Danny Jacobs