Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology

Co-Directors: Emery N. Brown, Wolfram Goessling | Email | Website

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The Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology’s (HST) Educational Programs are distinguished by four key elements:

  • Academic excellence in traditional disciplines and interdisciplinary fields
  • Strong scientific, technical and quantitative orientation
  • Structured educational experiences in clinical settings
  • A focused interdisciplinary research project

HST's unique environment allows students to pursue their interests while at the same time providing them with rigorous foundations in science, engineering, clinical medicine and scholarly research. HST students have access to research opportunities in labs at MIT, Harvard, and affiliated teaching hospitals as well as immersion in a community of peers with career paths in medicine, science, and engineering.  At MIT, the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) provides a robust home for HST.


Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP)

The Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) program is a five to seven year program that leads to a PhD awarded by MIT or by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The program trains students as engineers or physical scientists who also have extensive knowledge of the medical sciences. By understanding engineering and physical science applications, as well as their clinical implications, graduates of this program are well positioned to define new questions and formulate novel approaches in biomedical research. 

The MEMP curriculum includes multiple components that prepare students to be medical innovators who will advance human health:

  • Students receive a thorough graduate education in a classical discipline of engineering or physical science. Each student selects a concentration area and completes a series of courses where they learn the fundamentals of their chosen discipline.
  • Students become conversant in the biomedical sciences through preclinical coursework and clinical experiences. Courses such as pathology and pathophysiology are taken together with HST MD students. Then students engage in immersive clinical experiences where they acquire a hands-on understanding of clinical care, medical decision-making, and the role of technology in medical practice. Through these experiences, students become fluent in the language and culture of medicine and gain a first-hand understanding of the opportunities for, and constraints on, applying scientific and technological innovations in health care.
  • Two seminar classes help students integrate science and engineering with medicine and develop professional skills.
  • A two-stage qualifying examination ensures that each student is proficient in his or her chosen concentration area, can integrate information from diverse sources into a coherent research proposal, and able to defend that research proposal in an oral presentation.
  • Students investigate important problems at the interfaces of science, technology, and clinical medicine through individualized thesis research projects mentored by faculty in laboratories at MIT, Harvard, and affiliated teaching hospitals.

Neuroimaging and Bioastronautics are two areas of specialization within MEMP for which HST offers specially designed training programs. 

For more information: http://hst.mit.edu/academics/memp

Medical Sciences (MD)

The HST MD program is particularly appropriate for students who are planning multidisciplinary research careers in academic medicine. The curriculum, research, and clinical experience prepare students receiving the MD to excel as physician-scientists highly qualified to care for patients and participate in biomedical research careers where they will assume leadership positions. 

The programs of study are designed to develop superbly trained, clinically and socially responsible physicians with a deep understanding of the underlying science of medicine. The approach is rigorous and quantitative and presents human biology in a fashion that incorporates fundamental features of molecular biology, biotechnology, engineering and physical sciences.  The courses in human pathophysiology, specially developed for this curriculum, represent the joint efforts of life scientists, physicians, physical scientists and engineers selected from the faculties of both Harvard and MIT.  

HST MD students are required to become actively involved in independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Students are encouraged to slow the rate of progress through the formal curriculum in order to devote more time to research.

HST has an established record of fulfilling its educational mission: a vast majority of MD graduates hold academic positions or leadership positions at federal research agencies or in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Most remain actively engaged in research. Most continue to care for patients and carry out research that has direct impact on patient care.

For more information: http://hst.mit.edu/academics/md


Graduate Education in Medical Sciences Certificate Program (GEMS)

This part-time certificate program exposes students to the biomedical and clinical sciences, including translational medicine, and addresses the growing gap between advances in basic biology and the translation of those advances into medically relevant therapies and tools. The program trains select PhD students to bridge the chasm between concept and functional execution with a supplementary curriculum that entails a human pathology course, a medical pathophysiology course, an individualized clinical experience, a seminar showcasing examples of translation, and a graduate seminar focusing on the professional skills needed to succeed in interdisciplinary research.

For more information: http://hst.mit.edu/academics/gems