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Johns Hopkins and MedImmune Announce Joint Program to Train Ph.D. Students for Careers in Biopharma - 03/02/2016

Johns Hopkins and MedImmune Announce Joint Program to Train Ph.D. Students for Careers in Biopharma

First-of-its-kind industry-academic Ph.D. program in the U.S. aims to broaden graduate students’ experience in and out of the classroom setting
Release Date: March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016 – The Johns Hopkins University and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, today announced a first-of-its-kind Ph.D. training program between a major university and a biopharmaceutical company in the United States. Known as the Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars Program, this new initiative will build on an ongoing collaboration between MedImmune and Johns Hopkins, and reinforces both partners’ commitment to grow the Maryland biotech region.  

The program will prepare Johns Hopkins graduate students for careers in the biopharma industry through rigorous training that focuses on the professional skills and knowledge required to be part of the biomedical workforce. Beginning this year, students from the Ph.D. programs in the school of medicine and Whiting School of Engineering may apply to become Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars in the spring of 2017. As many as 15 students may participate in the first three cohorts. The partners have the option of expanding the program.

Students will gain research experience in an industry environment through thesis projects conducted jointly in Johns Hopkins and MedImmune labs. In addition to the standard Johns Hopkins curriculum, students will be introduced to the process and challenges of drug discovery and development through coursework co-taught with scientists from the company, as well as a yearlong internship at MedImmune. This unique approach to training will offer graduate students hands-on experience in the biomedical field and prepare them for careers in the biopharma industry, while still obtaining a traditional Ph.D. from a world-class university.

“One of the major challenges for the future of the biomedical workforce is how to prepare the next generation of scientists for diverse careers inside and outside of academia,” says Ronald J. Daniels, president of The Johns Hopkins University. “As the nation’s first research university, it is fitting that Johns Hopkins is at the forefront of creating innovative training opportunities for our students. Johns Hopkins and MedImmune will offer our Ph.D. students a unique opportunity, one that unites exceptional academic rigor with the comprehensive training that will prepare them to lead in wide-ranging fields.”

“Creating new avenues for the exchange of innovative ideas and groundbreaking research among scientists, engineers and clinicians is a critical part of drug discovery and development, and a key component of our culture at MedImmune,” says Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune. “This program will help plant the seeds of collaboration in order to bring science and innovation to life.”

The program will be jointly funded, designed and implemented by MedImmune and The Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Innovation in Graduate Biomedical Education.

“As the career ambitions of our graduate students grow more varied, it is important to offer them a variety of hands-on experiences to ensure they have the best opportunities available to them when they finish their studies,” says Paul B. Rothman, M.D., dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “This collaboration enables Johns Hopkins and MedImmune to apply our organizations’ complementary strengths to cross-train our students and expand their professional horizons.”

Both Johns Hopkins and MedImmune intend to expand this Ph.D. program model with other partners in the future.   

Details on the 2013 collaboration between MedImmune and Johns Hopkins can be found here.


About the Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars Program

The Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars Program will offer graduate students hands-on experience in the biomedical field and prepare them for careers in the biopharma industry, while still obtaining a traditional Ph.D. from a world-class university. All scholars will have dissertation committees with prominent scientists from both The Johns Hopkins University and MedImmune. After defending their dissertations, the participants may go on to traditional academic or industrial postdoctoral research positions, or they may complete a yearlong internship at MedImmune to develop on-the-job training for nonlaboratory careers, such as science writing, project management or clinical operations. Students who graduate from the program will receive a traditional Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University.

About Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University is a global leader in discovery, education and professional practice, dedicated since 1876 to putting knowledge to work for humanity. Johns Hopkins was established on what was then a revolutionary idea, that universities must do more than teach the collected wisdom of the past. Founding President Daniel Coit Gilman argued that they must also advance human knowledge and apply that knowledge for the common good. Gilman's philosophy guides today's Johns Hopkins, where faculty and students are partners in learning and discovery. Together, they explore what makes us human – culture and society, art and literature, life science, health and medicine. Together, they study what drives the universe where we live. Together, they use their knowledge to make tomorrow better. For more information, please visit

About Johns Hopkins Medicine

Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $7.7 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading academic health care systems in the United States. JHM unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. JHM’s vision, “Together, we will deliver the promise of medicine,” is supported by its mission to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. JHM operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and more than 39 primary and specialty care outpatient sites under the umbrella of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians. JHM extends health care into the community and globally through Johns Hopkins Home Care Group, Johns Hopkins Medicine International and Johns Hopkins HealthCare. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, opened in 1889, has been ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 22 years of the survey’s 26-year history. For more information about Johns Hopkins Medicine, its research, education and clinical programs, and for the latest health, science and research news, visit

About MedImmune

MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across key therapeutic areas, including respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; neuroscience; and infection and vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, MD, and is one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centers, with additional sites in Cambridge, UK and Mountain View, CA. For more information, please visit