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Home > Press > CNSE and SUNY Downstate Medical Center Partner to Launch First-Ever MD/PhD Program

Pioneering curricula will uniquely prepare a new generation of world-class clinical scientists and enable nanotechnology-driven applications to improve health care.

CNSE and SUNY Downstate Medical Center Partner to Launch First-Ever MD/PhD Program

Albany, NY | Posted on March 1st, 2011

In a pioneering initiative that will prepare a new generation of research physicians to be leaders in 21st century health care, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany and SUNY Downstate Medical Center (Downstate) today announced the establishment of a first-of-its-kind, dual degree program to provide world-class education and training in both medicine and nanoscale science and engineering, which will enable nanomedicine innovations designed to transform and enhance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

The combined M.D./Ph.D. program will serve as the premier global resource for training in nanoscale medical applications and produce a new hybrid generation of research physicians capable of driving nanotechnology applications in medicine and redefining the standards of health care. Students will participate in an integrated course of study alternating between CNSE and Downstate, which is designed for completion within seven years and will result in the award of an M.D. degree and a Ph.D. in either Nanoscale Science or Nanoscale Engineering.

The emerging science of nanotechnology is ushering in the most radical transformation in the history of medicine, with the impact being felt across the medical field, from biomedical research to oncology. Several nanocarrier-based drugs are already on the market and many more nano-based therapeutics are in clinical trials; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has made significant investments in nanomedicine by establishing a national network of eight Nanomedicine Development Centers; and the National Cancer Institute has created the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer that targets nanomedicine for breakthroughs in detecting, diagnosing and treating various forms of cancer.

At the same time, the economic impact of nanotechnology-enabled medical products and the careers associated with their development will be significant. The U.S. market for nanotechnology medical products is projected to increase to $53 billion by the end of this year - and double over the next five years - according to The Freedonia Group, a leading international business research company.

Dr. John C. LaRosa, President of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, said, "This innovative M.D./Ph.D. program is a true partnership that brings together two exciting and important missions: the world-renowned physician education and training offered by SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and the globally recognized nanotechnology leadership of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Together, we have an unparalleled opportunity to develop a new breed of research physicians who will possess the ability to integrate and accelerate nanotechnology applications in medicine, giving them a vital role in improving overall health and in setting a new standard of care that will serve to guide the worldwide health care industry."

Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of CNSE, said, "The UAlbany NanoCollege is delighted to join with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, under the leadership of President John LaRosa, to launch this groundbreaking partnership that will position New York as a nexus for the development of world-class research physicians and a launch pad for critical innovations enabled by nanotechnology to enhance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. This first-of-its-kind program will have significant implications for addressing one of the nation's most critical 21st century challenges by catalyzing the development of game-changing medical technologies at a reduced cost, while concurrently building the highly-skilled workforce and robust technological capabilities necessary for New York to capitalize on the fast-growing nanomedicine sector."

The M.D./Ph.D. program will be jointly administered by CNSE and Downstate. Dr. Sara Brenner, CNSE Assistant Vice President for NanoHealth Initiatives, and Dr. Mark Stewart, Dean of Downstate's School of Graduate Studies, will advance the initiative as program directors, in concert with a joint nanomedicine executive committee comprised of faculty members from CNSE and Downstate.

The initiative will leverage the unique assets and unparalleled resources of CNSE, the world's first college dedicated to the emerging field of nanotechnology and home to the $7 billion Albany NanoTech Complex, which has attracted over 250 global corporate partners and is the most advanced research complex at any university in the world, and Downstate, which is one of SUNY's four academic health science centers and has unique research strengths in neuroscience, cardiovascular medicine, and live tissue imaging that are ideal platforms for developing medically relevant nanotechnology in the areas of biosensors, drug delivery and diagnostics.


About CNSE
The UAlbany CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development, and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, and nanoeconomics. CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex is the most advanced research enterprise of its kind at any university in the world. With over $7 billion in high-tech investments, the 800,000-square-foot complex attracts corporate partners from around the world and offers students a one-of-a-kind academic experience. The UAlbany NanoCollege houses the only fully-integrated, 300mm wafer, computer chip pilot prototyping and demonstration line within 80,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms. More than 2,500 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, and faculty work on site at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech, from companies including IBM, AMD, GlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Toshiba, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML, Novellus Systems, Vistec Lithography and Atotech. An expansion currently in the planning stages is projected to increase the size of CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex to over 1,250,000 square feet of next-generation infrastructure housing over 105,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms and more than 3,750 scientists, researchers and engineers from CNSE and global corporations. For more information, visit

About SUNY Downstate Medical Center. SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in education, research, and clinical service delivery,SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and University Hospital of Brooklyn. To foster the development of the biotechnology industry in New York, SUNY Downstate has developed a Biotech Incubator and a commercial synthetic chemistry facility as part of a biotech park adjacent to the school. The Biotech Incubator, which is designed for early stage companies, is doubling in size to 50,000 sq. ft. Working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Downstate has developed BioBAT, a biotechnology facility at the Brooklyn Army Terminal for more mature companies that need space to expand and begin manufacturing. The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) became the anchor tenant in November 2008. BioBAT, which is currently developing an additional 85,000 sq. ft. of commercial biotechnology space, will provide biotechnology companies with 524,000 sq. ft. when complete.

For more information, please click here

Steve Janack
Vice President
Marketing and Communications

Ellen Watson
Assistant VP
Institutional Advancement
Downstate Medical Center
(phone) 718-270-1176

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