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University of Maryland School of Medicine Holds First "Festival of Science" to Launch New Program for Accelerating Innovation and Discovery in Medicine

BALTIMORE, Nov. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) is today launching a major initiative, Accelerating Innovation and Discovery in Medicine (ACCEL-Med), to increase the pace and scope of clinical and basic sciences research that will dramatically impact and improve human health and wellbeing. The initiative will be kicked off with a  full-day symposium, the SOM Festival of Science, at the UM campus in Baltimore. Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institutes of Health, will give the inaugural keynote address. Additional speakers, representing the School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences, Department of Pharmacology and Department of Surgery, will reflect a sampling of SOM's robust basic, translational and clinical research portfolio.

Dr. Collins will specifically address the current environment for biomedical research, including the need for advancing discovery through technology and translational sciences, the importance of continuous innovation and the economic benefits of medical research.

A cornerstone of the ACCEL-Med Initiative is an external Scientific Advisory Council (SAC), which consists of five internationally acclaimed biomedical researchers and physician-scientists, who will provide critical advice on SOM's research, programs and plans, as well as guidance and support for junior faculty presenters. Members of the first Council include Rita Colwell, PhD, former Director of the National Science Foundation; Carol Greider, PhD, co-recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine; Philip Needleman, PhD, former President of Searle R&D and an SOM alum; Ralph Snyderman, MD, Chancellor Emeritus at Duke University, who will serve as this year's SAC Chair; and Elias Zerhouni, MD, President of Global R&D at Sanofi and former NIH Director.

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Collins to our campus and that a dais of preeminent scientists has agreed to be a part of the Scientific Advisory Council for the ACCEL-Med Initiative," said Dean E. Albert E. Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "When I invited these distinguished scientists to join us for this important project, not only were they eager to help, several of them mentioned how impressed they were with the dynamic progress the School of Medicine has made over the past several years. The School of Medicine has persevered in the face of many socio-political obstacles, and taken a bold, strategic and selective approach to building its research mission."

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Established in 1807, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was the first public medical school in the United States, and the first to institute a residency-training program. The School of Medicine was the founding school of the University of Maryland and today is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. On the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine serves as the anchor for a large academic health center which aims to provide the best medical education, conduct the most innovative biomedical research and provide the best patient care and community service to Maryland and beyond.

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SOURCE University of Maryland School of Medicine
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