Director’s Message

Sona Vasudevan

Sona Vasudevan, PhD

Program Director, System Medicine
Biomedical Graduate Education

Why Systems Medicine?

We are in the midst of “BIG-DATA” era of biology. It all started in the 50’s with the discovery of the double stranded structure of DNA by Watson and Crick followed by the sequencing of the Human genome in 2003. With the sequencing of the human genome and availability of high power computational methods and various high through-put technologies, biomedical sciences and medicine is undergoing a revolutionary change. The new field of systems medicine is the application of systems biology approaches and tools to biomedical problems. In medicine, complex computational tools will become essential for deriving personalized assessments of disease risk and management including individualized diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options.

This change, involving the use and analysis of enormous quantities and variety of data, will require a new type of physician and a biomedical scientist with a grasp of modern computational sciences, “-omic” technologies (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transciptomics etc.), and a systems approach to medicine. The new tools that clinicians will use continue to arise from the intersection of research across a variety of disciplines and are difficult to capture in traditional curricula. As a leader in medical science and education, Georgetown University Medical Center has taken a leadership role in developing graduate and medical curricula and expanding research in this area.

A dual degree program MD/MS in Systems Medicine was successfully launched in the Fall of 2011. Based on the success of the Dual degree program in the Fall of 2016 we launched, for the first time, a free-standing MS in Systems Medicine and have graduated 12 students. We have developed new courses geared towards training the next-generation of biomedical scientists and physicians.