Building on the University of Arizona tradition of research excellence and the commitment of Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, and the Arizona Health Sciences Center senior leadership team to nurture and expand the pipeline of clinician-scientists, Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD, will serve as the new MD-PhD program director at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
The MD-PhD Program at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson was established in 1990 to provide dual training in medicine and research to students interested in careers as research-intensive physicians working in the public and private sectors.
Graduates often pursue residency training before joining medical schools or research institutions as academic scholars. Dr. Ramos, associate vice-president of precision health sciences and professor of medicine, will work closely with members of the MD-PhD Committee, the UA Graduate College, UA Admissions Committee, the Office of Diversity and the College of Medicine – Phoenix to increase recruitment and retention of outstanding scholars into the program.
Combined MD-PhD training affords graduates the opportunity to advance medical knowledge and insight into the mechanisms of disease, as well as to develop new treatment modalities for common and rare diseases affecting their patients. The training program is challenging and rewarding and conventionally structured in three distinct phases that include two years of basic and clinical training, a minimum of three years of doctoral-level research in a graduate or interdisciplinary program of the student’s choice, and two additional years of clinical training.
“The UA is committed to building the pipeline of future physician-scientists,” says Dr. Ramos, who with support from the AHSC Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, will invest additional resources to ensure the growth and sustainability of the program with unparalleled education along with tools to establish a rewarding career in medicine by combining the discovery of new knowledge with the practice of clinical medicine.
Dr. Ramos is an internationally recognized expert in genomics and predictive biology, environmental and molecular medicine and toxicology. He has received more than $50 million in research funding, including R01, P01 and P30 grants, and has made seminal contributions in the areas of molecular toxicology, environmental health sciences, toxicogenomics and molecular medicine. As a senior scientist, he has been responsible for leading diverse research teams, conducting independent and collaborative research in these and other areas, including biochemistry; bioinformatics; cell, computational, developmental, in vitro, molecular and theoretical biology; chemistry; environmental health; epigenetics; experimental therapeutics; genomics; nephrology; neurobiology; nutrition; oncology; pathology; pharmacology; physiology; public health and teratology. He has provided senior leadership in scientific and strategic research planning at the local, regional, national and international levels.
A leading expert in the study of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and genomic medicine, his research program integrates diverse approaches, ranging from molecular genetics to population-based public health studies to understand the genetic and genomic basis of human disease and to advance the goals of precision medicine. Ongoing basic science studies in his laboratory focus on repetitive genetic elements in the mammalian genome and their role in genome plasticity and disease, while his clinical work focuses on the characterization of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for chronic disease and cancer.
He also has mentored 100 doctoral, medical, veterinary medicine, undergraduate and high school students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in academia, medicine, government and industry. He is committed to initiatives that attract and retain minorities in science and medicine.