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DeSilva Joins Kent State University and Cleveland Clinic Collaborative Doctoral Program


Tara DeSilva, PhD, associate staff in the Department of Neurosciences, has been named the new Lerner Research Institute liaison for the Kent State University (KSU) and Cleveland Clinic Collaborative Doctoral Program. The program is one of four major partnerships with local universities that leverages graduate-level academic excellence and Lerner's demonstrated success in scientific discovery and innovation to cultivate the next generation of biomedical researchers. 

This program, which results in a PhD in biomedical sciences from KSU, offers students interdisciplinary training focused on the elucidation of processes related to the biochemistry and pathobiology of disease. All first-year coursework is taught at KSU by KSU faculty. Students must complete three research rotations during the spring and summer of their first year, with at least one rotation at both KSU and Lerner. In the last phase of the program, students select a thesis advisor—either faculty at KSU or Lerner staff who have a formal graduate faculty appointment at the university—and complete their thesis research. 

Dr. DeSilva's experience in and commitment to translational research makes her well poised to serve as the Lerner liaison for this program. A leading expert in transverse myelitis (TM) research, she created a TM patient clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham—one of only three such clinics in the country—to better understand the disease and build a more effective research model. She currently collaborates with doctors and patients at the Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis to help bridge the gap between cutting-edge research and high quality care, treatment and patient education. 

"It's so important in today's research landscape that young investigators understand the intersection between science and medicine. I'm excited to be part of a program that values this culture and to work closely with our colleagues at Kent State," she said. Dr. DeSilva will spearhead this collaboration with Ernest Freeman, PhD, associate professor and director of the School of Biomedical Sciences at KSU. 

Lerner also offers joint PhD programs through formal partnerships with Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University and University of Akron. As with the KSU and Cleveland Clinic Collaborative Doctoral Program, these other partnerships make it possible to complete thesis research with an advisor at Lerner and graduate with a degree from the respective university. 

For additional information on the KSU and Cleveland Clinic collaborative, contact Dr. DeSilva. Please direct questions about all other graduate programs available through Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute to Christine Moravec, PhD, director of the Lerner Research Institute Research Education and Training Center.

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