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Guest Lecture at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Mar 22 2019

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20/20 Blog

Roanoke, VA – Dr. Vinit Mahajan M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in Stanford University’s Department of Ophthalmology, highlighted his work in translational medicine in a Timothy A. Johnson Medical Scholar Lecture given to Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine students.

The Timothy A. Johnson Medical Scholar Lecture Series hosts clinician scientists across the country who are using groundbreaking research technologies to find new and better treatments for human disease. Dr. Mahajan’s visit was hosted by Leslie Le Conte, Ph.D., assistant dean for research, and Michael Friedlander, Ph.D., founding executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, and included meetings with research faculty and a mentoring lunch with medical and graduate students. Visiting faculty are an important part of the rigorous four-year medical school research training that students receive.

Dr. Mahajan’s lecture, Personalized Proteomics for Eye Disease, detailed how he treated a family with a rare blinding eye disease using liquid surgical biopsies and proteomic analysis in his lab. He also presented examples of proteomic analysis of non-inherited eye diseases that improved patient diagnosis and therapy. He also described the Byers Eye Institute's biorepository methods for collecting human samples from the operating rooms. He and his team are now using protein crystallography and structure-based drug design that could lead to the discovery of new cures. Bridging the divide between the clinic, the operating room, and the laboratory has been a major focus of Dr. Mahajan’s lab.

Dr. Mahajan said, “When I was in training, it was not as common for medical students to be interested in both medicine and basic science research. Now young people across the country see that collaborations between scientists and physicians is valuable and necessary. This kind of thinking will take precision medicine to the next level, and the program at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is well-designed to meet this challenge.”

Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic is a collaboration between public and private institutions that draw from the unique strengths of both. Virginia Tech’s strong basic sciences, bioinformatics, and engineering programs combined with Carilion Clinic’s highly experienced medical staff make the medical school a breeding ground for future physician thought leaders who are creative, caring, and ready for the changing landscape of medicine. Dr. Carla Shatz Ph.D., professor of biology and neurobiology at Stanford and Director of Bio X, was among a list of recent distinguished speakers at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.