About this School

About the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Faculty Awards

Students of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences are taught by the distinguished faculty of the School of Medicine who have joint appointments in the GSBS. The research distinctions of these faculty are evidenced by the following accomplishments:

2015 Breakthrough Prize: Victor Ambros, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, for the discovery of a new world of genetic regulations by microRNAs, a class of tiny RNA molecules that inhibit translation or destabilize complementary mRNA targets. This award was shared with Gary Ruvkun, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital.The Breakthrough Prizes aims to celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.

2008 Lasker Award: Victor Ambros, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, for the discovery of an unanticipated world of tiny RNAs that regulate gene activity in plants and animals. This award was shared with Gary Ruvkin, PhD of Massachusetts General Hospital, and David Baulcombe, PhD, of the University of Cambridge. As noted by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, “Ambros, Baulcombe, and Ruvkun did not set out to unveil small regulatory RNAs. Ambros and Ruvkun were studying how the worm Caenorhabditis elegans develops from a newly hatched larva into an adult. Baulcombe, in a seemingly unrelated line of inquiry, was probing how plants defend themselves against viruses. All three investigators possessed the open mindedness, wisdom and experimental finesse to entertain the possibility—and then verify—that tiny RNAs could perform momentous feats. Their work has led to the realization that these molecules are pivotal regulators of normal physiology as well as disease.”

2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Craig Mello, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, for the discovery of RNA Interference. This award was shared with Andrew Fire, PhD, of Stanford University School of Medicine. As noted by the Nobel Committee, “After a series of simple but elegant experiments, Fire and Mello deduced that double-stranded RNA can silence genes, that this RNA interference is specific for the gene whose code matches that of the injected RNA molecule, and that RNA interference can spread between cells and even be inherited.” It was further noted that “RNA interference opens up exciting possibilities for use in gene technology.”

Beyond the above, the faculty includes five Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators, six National Academy Members, three Keck Award winners and three Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists/Engineers Winners.

Additional Recent Awards:
Michael Green, MD, PhD, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Green is an accomplished scientists and highly cited author who has discovered fundamental insights into the fields of transcriptional regulation and splicing. He is changing the understanding of higher orders of gene regulation, beyond the linear sequence of bases on the DNA strand.

Job Dekker, PhD, was named an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Dekker is the developer of the chromosome conformation technologies used to map the topography of the genome.

Kate Fitzgerald, PhD, received The Science Foundation of Ireland St. Patrick’s Day Medal for her contributions to the research ecosystem of Ireland. Dr. Fitzgerald and her group are studying how the immune system discriminates between dangerous microbes. The group has been studying receptors they found that can recognize the DNA or microbes and turn on inflammatory responses to ward off infection.

Neil Aronin, MD, was awarded the 2015 Research Award by the Huntington’s Disease Society for America. Dr. Aronin has extensively researched Huntington’s Disease, most recently investigating the pathogenesis in the disease, such as mutant huntingtin mRNA kinetics, vesicle recycling and roles of proteins that interact with the expanded huntingtin protein.

C. Robert Matthews, PhD, was honored with the Carl Branden Award recognizing him as an outstanding protein scientist who has made exceptional contributions in the areas of education and/or service to the field.

UMass Medical School has additional notable achievements, including:

  • The 2nd percentile (of 2450 organizations) for receiving NIH research funding;
  • 3rd among nine New England medical schools receiving NIH funding;
  • 3rd percentile of 175 Massachusetts organizations receiving NIH funding;
  • 24th percentile of 139 medical schools receiving NIH research funding;
  • Three faculty in the top 2% of 35,265 NIH investigators; and
  • Three Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists/Engineers Winners.

Student Prizes and Awards

Seven Weintraub Awards
Six Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellows

Accreditation Status

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is one of three schools that comprise the UMass Medical School, part of the not-for-profit University of Massachusetts.

UMass Medical School is accredited by CIHE NEASC.

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by CIHE NEASC indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one that has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by CIHE NEASC isn't partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by CIHE NEASC should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

Commission of Institutions of Higher Education
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
3 Burlington Woods Drive
Suite 100, Burlington, MA 01803-4514
Phone:  781-425-7785
Email: cihe@neasc.org 

Administrative Officers

Cynthia Fuhrmann, PhD
Assistant Dean 
Career & Professional Development

Anthony Imbalzano, PhD
Associate Dean
Office for Postdoctoral Scholars

Kendall Knight, PhD
Associate Dean
Basic Biomedical Sciences Division
Director of Recruitment & Admissions

Mary Ellen Lane, PhD
Associate Dean
GSBS Curriculum and Academic Affairs 
Senior Director of Administration

Kate Lapane, PhD
Associate Dean
Director, Clinical & Population Health Research

 

Brian Lewis, PhD
Associate Dean
Diversity
 

Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD
Associate Dean
Clinical & Translational Sciences Division

List of Educational Affiliates

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences does not have any agreements with outside institutions.

How Inquiries Can Be Addressed

Contact the GSBS Office of Admissions with questions about admission.
Room S1-824
Phone: 508-856-4135
Fax: 508-856-3659
Email: gsbs@umassmed.edu

Contact the Financial Aid Office at 508-856-2265 with questions about financial aid.

Contact the Bursars Office at 508-856-6641 with questions about tuition.

All other inquiries may be addressed to the Office of Communications at umms.communication@umassmed.edu or to the appropriate office at:

University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA
01655-0002

Related pages:
Leadership of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Office Staff of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 

About UMMS

As the commonwealth's only public medical school, we take seriously our mission to serve the people of Massachusetts. We welcome the responsibilities we face in caring for their needs. We meet these challenges by providing clinical staff for public and private institutions, emphasizing training in the primary care specialties and encouraging graduates to practice in the state's underserved areas.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School's (UMMS) educational mission stems from its founding in 1962 to provide affordable, high-quality medical education to qualified residents of the commonwealth. With that goal as its cornerstone, UMMS' educational mission has expanded to include residency and fellowship training, graduate education in nursing and the biomedical sciences, training in allied health professions, and continuing education for health care practitioners.

Our students are highly motivated, intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate. They volunteer to work with community organizations and are fully imbued with the school's commitment to public service. Our faculty have developed a curriculum designed to stimulate and support students in the acquisition of advanced knowledge and skills, while instilling compassionate attitudes and values so that they may best serve their patients.

In the area of research, UMMS has achieved world-class status. Research is conducted in the laboratory, ambulatory clinic and at the bedside, contributing significantly to medical science and to the state's economy, as well as enhancing our ability to attract outstanding faculty members for all three schools. Extramural research funding totals more than $240 million. As our researchers continue to make discoveries and explore new avenues of inquiry, we continue to grow with exceptional principal investigators conducting clinical and basic research in such areas as cancer, molecular genetics, neurobiology, chemical biology and immunology.

In all that we do, we place the highest priority on respect for the dignity and diversity of the members of the Medical School community - patients, students, faculty, employees and volunteers. We are committed to supporting their professional, intellectual and emotional growth so they may have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and achieve their goals.

In the spirit of serving the public, we dedicate these pages to those who want to learn more about our innovative School of Medicine Graduate School of Biomedical SciencesGraduate School of Nursing, and our centers, institutes and programs of national distinction. 

Mission

It is the mission of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) to advance the health and well-being of the people in the Commonwealth and the world through pioneering advances in education, research and health care delivery.  This mission indeed defines the distinctive character of UMMS addressing state-of-the-art education for students while addressing societal needs for breakthrough discoveries and their delivery throughout the healthcare system.

Highlights

An Introduction to UMass Medical School 

Welcome to the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), the commonwealth’s first and only public academic health sciences center

Our mission is to advance the health and well-being of the people of the commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research and health care delivery with clinical partner UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts.

  • UMMS was founded in 1962 to provide affordable, high-quality medical education to state residents and to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in underserved areas of the state.
  • Consistently ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the leading medical schools in the nation for primary care education.
  • Federal and private research grants and contracts exceeding $244 million in fiscal year 2014.
  • Enhancing health and science education, ensuring community health, building a diverse workforce and enriching lives through extensive community outreach.
  • Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, one of five University of Massachusetts campuses.

The three UMMS graduate schools are the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing.

  • The School of Medicine is committed to training in the full range of medical disciplines, with an emphasis on practice in the primary care specialties, in the public sector and in underserved areas of Massachusetts.
  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences students receive a broad background in the basic medical sciences and are trained in their selected specialty area in preparation for research with direct relevance to human disease.
  • The Graduate School of Nursing offers master’s, post-master’s and doctoral degrees, providing high quality education to prepare registered professional and advanced practice nurses within nurse practitioner and nurse educator specialties and for faculty, research and other nursing leadership positions.

UMMS is a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.

  • In 2006 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to UMMS professor Craig C. Mello, PhD, and his colleague Andrew Fire, PhD, of Stanford University, for their discoveries related to RNA interference (RNAi), a cellular process that offers astounding potential for understanding and, ultimately treating, human disease.
  • Our research programs are central to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, with major funding from the $1 billion Massachusetts Life Sciences Bill signed into law in 2008.
  • Our researchers have made pivotal advances in HIV, cancer, diabetes, infectious disease, and in understanding the molecular basis of disease.
  • Programs and centers include the RNA Therapeutics Institute, the Gene Therapy Center, Program in Gene Function and Expression, Systems Biology and Neurotherapeutics.

We invite you to learn more about why UMass Medical School is a great place to work and study.

A brief history of UMass Medical School:

A state-supported public medical school for Massachusetts was established by the commonwealth in July of 1962; the founding dean, Lamar Soutter, was appointed in December of 1963 and began the execution of a vision for an extraordinary medical school. “I think that if you're starting a medical school from scratch,” he said at the time, “you can say alright, let's get this science of medicine very firmly rooted in the students' minds—but then let's take them back to the bedside and make them much better practitioners and much more interested in taking care of human beings even though they are making full use of laboratory procedures and scientific advances.” 

Although the location in Worcester as a campus of the University of Massachusetts wasn’t selected until 1965, preliminary accreditation and the recruitment of core faculty during the construction process meant that the first class of 16 students entered in the fall of 1970, beginning their studies in a former warehouse at the corner of Lake Avenue and Belmont Street (a building still used today by UMMS). By the time the first class graduated in 1974, the new medical science building was in use, followed by the teaching hospital, which opened in 1976. The growth of the school and its clinical system coincided neatly with support for basic science research and while the school remained true to its mission of training primary care physicians, by 1979 it had established a PhD program in the biomedical sciences, which became a school in its own right, followed by the Graduate School of Nursing, which opened in 1986. 

A period of expansion began in 1990 with the appointment of Aaron Lazare as dean and, subsequently, chancellor, who would go on to become one of the longest-serving leaders of a medical school in the US by the time he stepped down in 2007. With the acquisition of the former Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research and the Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories and the spinoff of hospital operations into a new clinical system, the campus entered a period of unprecedented growth. A new research building opened in 2001 and the original medical school and hospital buildings were extensively renovated and expanded to include new meeting, educational, emergency and surgical spaces. Research funding grew for a time at a rate faster than any other academic health sciences center in the country, fueled by recruitment of basic science faculty drawn to UMMS’ prominence in several fields, including gene function and expression; gene development; biochemistry; and molecular medicine. In 2006, UMMS professor Craig C. Mello, PhD, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, shared with Stanford researcher Andrew Fire, PhD, for their discovery of the mechanism of gene silencing by double-stranded RNA, which they termed ‘RNA interference.’ 

The Nobel Prize drew attention and support to UMMS throughout the commonwealth; the University of Massachusetts created a Life Sciences Task Force that proposed a series of strategic investments in biomedical sciences education, research and infrastructure across the five campuses; many of these recommendations were mirrored in the Commonwealth’s own Life Sciences Initiative, a ten-year, billion-dollar plan for investment. The Life Sciences Task Force was chaired by Michael F. Collins, MD, at the time interim chancellor at UMMS and senior vice president for the health sciences at the University. Along with Terence R. Flotte, MD, a prominent figure in the field of gene therapy, who became UMMS’ eighth dean in 2007, Collins has overseen the latest phase in campus development and investment, including the expansion of the medical school class size to its current cohort of 125; investment in educational technology and infrastructure, and expansion in clinical and translational science, which began with the establishment of a PhD program in Clinical and Population Health in 2005; the creation of the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences in 2009; and the receipt of an NIH Clinical and Translational Award in 2010. Two major facilities investments on the UMMS campus have laid the groundwork for the next generation of life sciences education and research: the 278,000 square-foot Ambulatory Care Center, home to Centers of Excellence in Diabetes, Cardiovascular Medicine, Orthopedics and Cancer, which opened in 2010; and the 500,000 square foot Albert Sherman Center,  which opened in 2013 and houses state of the art facilities for medical education, including homes for the learning communities; the standardized patient program; dedicated seminar and conference space; in addition to six floors of wet and dry laboratory space for new research initiatives in population health, RNA biology, gene therapy and neurodegenerative disease.

UMass Medical School milestones

1962: Legislation establishes University of Massachusetts Medical School
1970: First medical students begin classes in Shaw Building
1974: First class graduates 16 MDs
1979: PhD program begins
1986: Graduate School of Nursing opens
1986: PhD program becomes Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
1994: Graduate School of Nursing initiates PhD program
1998: UMass Clinical System and Memorial Health Care merge to form UMass Memorial Health Care
2001: Lazare Research Building opens
2002: Campus Modernization begins on the University Campus
2004: Graduate Entry Pathway Program established at the Graduate School of Nursing
2005: PhD Program in Clinical & Population Health Research established at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
2005: Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories opens new manufacturing and filling facility in Mattapan
2006: Craig Mello, PhD, Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is awarded the Medical School's first Nobel Prize. Dr. Mello shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Andrew Fire, PhD, of Stanford University, for their discoveries related to RNA interference.
2007: Michael F. Collins, MD, is named chancellor and Terence R. Flotte, MD, is named dean of the School of Medicine. 
Fall 2009: Groundbreaking for the Albert Sherman Center, a 500,000-square-foot research and education facility
2010: Ambulatory Care Center opens
2013: Albert Sherman Center opens

Names and Affiliations of Governing Board Members

Information about the University of Massachusetts Trustees may be obtained at the following link:

https://www.umassp.edu/bot/members

Most Recent Audited Financial Statement

Financial information pertaining to the University of Massachusetts is available at:

https://www.umassp.edu/controller/reports

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