Oxford University Professors to lecture on new course in 'Translational Science' at three Brazilian institutions

1 February 2024

The Department of Paediatrics at the University of Oxford, has entered into an agreement with three Brazilian Universities, to contribute to the delivery of an undergraduate course in ‘Translational Science’, starting in 2024.

The course, which will enrol only 30 students initially, will teach the full journey of a product ‘from bench to bedside’ as part of any science degree, so that the next generation of researchers are prepared for the translation of their laboratory discoveries into patient care and prevention.

The new course will be taught by professors at three São Paulo universities (Unesp, USP, and Unicamp), as well as professors from University of Oxford. Professor Sue Ann Costa Clemens CBE, Chair of Global Health and Clinical Development at the University of Oxford, was instrumental to the establishment of the course which will also include lectures from Professor Teresa Lambe OBE, Professor of Vaccinology and Immunology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, and Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, hosted by the Nuffield Department of Medicine. It will be offered to existing undergraduate students reading for degrees in the fields of Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agriculture and Engineering, amongst others.

Professor Costa Clemens CBE, who is also an infectious disease specialist with over 25 years’ experience, said: "I am thrilled to launch this course in Translational Science which I have been working to establish for the last 10 years. It is vital that we educate the next generation of researchers on the full journey of a drug from in-lab to in-patient, highlighting the ethical, operational and regulatory challenges required for a licensable product.”

She added: “This course will ensure innovation and better preparedness to respond to the next epidemics, pandemics, and endemic diseases, which cause harm to so many."

This course is the first of its kind and will enrol 10 students from each of the Brazilian universities. The classes will be taught remotely but will include on-site visits to each of the Brazilian universities, as well as to a pharmaceutical manufacturing site, and potential travel to the clinics, laboratories and manufacturing facilities of Oxford University.

Professor Benedito Barraviera, founder of the Centre for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP) based at Unesp, and one of the course coordinators, said: “We want to assess the general interest in this course and so initially, it will be offered as part of an undergraduate degree. We envisage this will evolve into a 'Translational Science Certificate,' which would be an additional qualification and take a year to complete."

Professor Rui Seabra, Director of the new course and of CEVAP said: “This initiative is unique because it offers undergraduate students a broad experience in collaboration with professionals from different areas. It will promote scientific thinking for impactful translational science, and use new facilities for the training as the first CDMO (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization) in Latin America based at UNESP.”

Professor Teresa Lambe OBE, Professor of Vaccinology and Immunology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “Our understanding of human biology of infectious disease has increased tremendously over the last few decades, yet the pace at which these discoveries have translated into new therapies for patients has been too slow. This course will train the next generation of investigators to transition these early discoveries into therapeutics that will positively impact human health.”

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, hosted by the Nuffield Department of Medicine, said: “Translational science facilitates the development and implementation of improvements and new discoveries in medical research, whilst applying scientific rigor. Ensuring the next generation of researchers understand the obstacles they may face and that they are equipped to deal with the trials along the journey from bench to beside, will ensure we are better prepared for global health challenges in the future.”

Notes to editors:

Professor Sue Ann Costa Clemens - Professor at the University of Oxford Professor Pasqual Barretti - Rector of São Paulo State University (UNESP)
Professor Pasqual Barretti - Rector of São Paulo State University (UNESP) Professor Sue Ann Costa Clemens - Professor at the University of Oxford Mario Pardini - Mayor of Botucatu

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About the Department of Paediatrics
The Department of Paediatrics is a world leader in child health research and hosts internationally renowned programmes in drug development, gastroenterology, haematology, HIV, immunology, neuroimaging, neuromuscular diseases and vaccinology. Its work spans from early proof-of-concept and fundamental science all the way up to its application in clinical settings.
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