Introduction

As a newly established department in SNUMC, the department of Biomedical Sciences has been accepting students (40 students for each of masterate and doctorate programs) since March, 2008. The foundation purpose is to promote graduate school studies in medical science, which consequently enables SNUMC to produce numerous outstanding biomedical scientists who will lead the world's BT. The foundation of our department has long been sought and is finally achieved, of which the background is as following.

First, it was necessary to reflect on the existing education system of medical
graduate schools. Many medical colleges including SNUMC had required students to carry out their academic programs and clinical training at the same time, consequently not fulfilling their original purpose of academic training. As a result, such medical colleges could produce elite doctors but encountered limits in educating excellent biomedical scientists. This impediment did not allow our university to compete efficiently nor effectively with other non-medical BT universities' research capabilities and achievements. and therefore, the leadership in BT research was transferred from medical to non-medical circles. As the leading university in medical education and research, SNU felt the need for transition, thereby resulting in the creation of the dept. of BMSc which does not require its students to carry out both of their academic program and clinical training at the same time, but rather to concentrate on the academic courses focusing on BT and strictly governed by the committee.

Second, it was necessary to provide the talented students converging in medical fields with the opportunity to be educated not only as clinicians but also as elite medical scientists. If these numerous talented students all became just clinicians, it would be a tremendous loss in national human resources for scientific technology. Korea, still importing medical resources from overseas, needs to train such students to be influential medical scientists who are able to produce the latest medical knowledge and technologies. The premise of such a goal is to build novel education systems for medical scientists, and hence the foundation of dept. of BMSc.

Third, it was necessary to draw non-medical BT students to the medical field. Every institution requires excellent students for its advancement. However, the majority of top-class, non-medical students are currently not applying to graduate studies in medical schools even though they are willing to have human-centered, disease-focused medical education. The Dept. of BMSc enables such students to experience the best medical education capable of satisfying their academic aspirations.

Fourth, it was necessary to locate SNUMC at the centre of Korean BT research, thereby leading practical applications of BT research. Since 1990, government funding for scientific research has been increasing steadily, resulting huge advances in every field of Korean science in last 15 years. Among such fields, the most advanced ones are IT and BT. Research in IT has effectively and excellently promoted Korea to the world's best nation of IT by producing academic advances and their practical applications. On the other hand, although research in BT has produced great achievements via publications in globally-renowned journals such as Nature and Science, it has not yet given birth to outstanding results in its application. Academic achievements are undoubtedly valuable, but the more important goal of BT is to develop medical treatment technologies for the advancement of human health. For this purpose, research in BT should be human-centered and disease-focused, having its center at medical campuses. However, until today, human and financial resources in BT has been concentrated in engineering institutions instead. To rectify this situation, it is essential to execute human-centered, disease-focused BT education in medical campuses, attracting outstanding BT human resources to generate practically-applicable results in BT research.

Fifth, it was necessary to create a department responsible for PhD education of an MD-PhD joint program. The Korean Ministry of Education, which had been seeking for effective use of medical talent, has finally adopted America's MD-PhD joint program since 2009 to produce more physician scientists rather than only clinicians. The MD-PhD program allows students to complete both MD and PhD degrees throughout their course of graduate school studies in medicine; it is composed of first 2 years of basic medicine, 3~4 years of PhD program, and next 3~4 years of clinical medicine courses followed by graduation with both MD and PhD degrees. Differing from students in the college of medicine who take 4 years of undergraduate education, graduates of the MD-PhD joint program possess research experience in their PhD course, being of greater advantage in becoming world's leading biomedical scientists. For the successful execution of this MD-PhD joint program, a novel education system in medicne such as that of the department of BMSc is essential.

Today, 55 professors are present in our department, all of which are top-class scientists having great passion in renewing and transforming the existing graduate school system in medicine. Securing every possible academic and financial support for their students, our professors are doing their very best in educating scholars who are committed to promote human health, to acquire universal perspective and insight, and to lead the world's biomedical sciences. Their research interests include major research fields in biomedical sciences, such as physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, oncology, and neuroscience, which collectively allow students access to the entire spectrum of BT research.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Seoul National University Graduate School, Biomedical Science Building 117,
103 Daehakro, Jongro-gu, Seoul 110-799, Korea.

Phone Number : +82-02-740-8093, 740-8095 FAX : 02-3673-2167 E-MAIL : biomed@snu.ac.kr

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