Georgia CTSA's Certificate Program in Translational Research Leads Morehouse School of Medicine Trainee to Become a Physician Scientist

Patrick Carriere, PhD, completed the Georgia CTSA’s Certificate Program in Translational Research (CPTR) in spring 2016 when he was a PhD student at the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). He attributes the training through the CPTR to his continuing interest in a career that encompasses clinical and translational research. He is a 2018 graduate of the PhD in Biomedical Sciences program at MSM. He entered the PhD program with an interest in cancer. He began his research under the direction of MSM’s Shailesh Singh, PhD, examining the role of natural products in cancer treatment regimens that might help reduce the toxicity of standard approaches to chemotherapy. He soon developed an interest in the clinical and translational aspects of cancer research leading him to enter the CPTR program.

The CPTR provided Carriere with an opportunity to better understand how to translate findings of his research from the laboratory to the bedside and spurred his interest in pursuing a career in medicine after completing his PhD. Doug Paulsen, PhD, associate dean for graduate studies at MSM and member of the Georgia CTSA Research Education Executive Committee said, “Patrick has been one of our strongest students and the CPTR program had a significant impact on his career choice.”

Carriere spoke in-depth about his experience with CPTR:

“I completed the Georgia CTSA Certificate Program in Translational Research to learn more about translating novel therapeutics from the bench to patients. One pivotal course involved a clinical preceptorship, during which I shadowed Dr. Wayne Harris, a medical oncologist. As I observed patient interactions and attended tumor boards, I was intrigued by the complex factors considered when making decisions for treatment and the interdisciplinary nature of medicine. During clinic one day, Dr. Harris extensively described the objectives and possible risks of a clinical trial as he tried to enroll one of his older [African-American] patients. His patient appeared highly skeptical and asked many questions, yet Dr. Harris was transparent and personable, earning both his patient’s consent and respect.

This encounter brought to life the lack of trust that minorities have for clinical research largely due to a history of ethical misconduct, and the importance of a diverse pool of health care providers in changing these perceptions. As I processed the very human side of medicine, and better understood the critical role clinical research played in improving health care outcomes, I relished the idea of using my gifts to bridge research and medicine as a physician scientist. Clinical training would enhance my perspective as a researcher, yielding more nuanced, patient-centered research questions aimed at achieving health equity.”

The Certificate Program in Translational Research is ideal for an investigator looking to gain the skills to translate their findings from the laboratory to the bedside and into the community.  The CPTR is a multidisciplinary program for PhD students, postdocs, residents, fellows, and faculty who seek to conduct research at the interface between basic science and clinical medicine.

The Georgia CTSA is an inter-institutional magnet that concentrates basic, translational, and clinical research investigators, community clinicians, professional societies, and industry collaborators in dynamic clinical and translational research projects. Georgia CTSA represents a collaboration between Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia. Georgia CTSA is one of about 60 Clinical and Translational Science Awards that are funded through the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), that are striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country and facilitating translation of discoveries to improve the health of the community. A goal of these award recipients is to facilitate translation of biomedical discoveries into treatments for patients and improve health in the community, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical and translational research investigators.