MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology

The Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), established in 1970, provides a means of collaboration between Harvard and MIT that makes available educational and research opportunities that could not be exploited as effectively by either institution through its own independent efforts. Its MD curriculum produces physicians who have a deep and quantitative understanding of the underlying science of medicine and biomedical research. The PhD programs combine rigorous scientific or engineering graduate training with an in-depth exposure to the biomedical sciences and clinical medicine. Both programs seek to prepare students for leadership roles in medicine and biomedical science.

The HST Division facilitates and administers programs in research which are concerned with important biological and health problems which can be addressed in a multidisciplinary manner through the collaborative efforts of biomedical scientists, physical scientists, engineers, and clinicians from the two participating institutions.


The Division is administered by two Co-directors who report to J. David Litster, Professor of Physics and Vice President and Dean for Research at MIT, and S. James Adelstein, Professor of Medical Biophysics and Executive Dean for Academic Programs at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Roger G. Mark, Grover Hermann Professor of Health Sciences and Technology is the MIT Co-director, and Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, Robert Ebert Professor of Molecular Medicine is the Harvard Co-director. Dr. Joseph Bonventre, Associate Professor of Medicine at HMS, serves as Associate Director of HST and Director of Student Affairs for HST-MD students. Dr. Mark announced his desire to step down as MIT Co-director, and a Search Committee for a replacement was established by Dr. Litster in January. It is chaired by Professors Richard Cohen and George Benedek.


A total of 279 graduate students were registered in HST degree programs during the academic year. There were 178 MD candidates of whom 89 were simultaneously pursuing PhD degrees. HST doctoral programs registered 101 students: 72 in the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) track, 22 in the Speech and Hearing Sciences (SHS) track, and 7 in the Radiological Sciences Joint Program which is sponsored jointly by HST and the Nuclear Engineering Department.

HST offers approximately 70 courses in the biomedical sciences and biomedical engineering, a number of which have been developed jointly with other MIT departments. More than 150 faculty members at MIT and at Harvard Medical School contribute significantly to the academic programs of HST. The Division has a "core" faculty numbering ten individuals (including the directors). HST is spearheading a major upgrade to the Medical School's clinical course in internal medicine, and will place particular emphasis on optimal use of technology in patient care.

The new training program for clinical investigators, launched last year under the direction of Dr. Robert Rubin, is centered in the MIT Clinical Research Center, and is run jointly with a similar module at the Beth Israel Hospital. Under sponsorship from Pfizer, Inc., the training program provides two-year fellowships for physicians who have completed specialty training, and who wish to prepare for careers in clinical investigation. There are now eight such fellows at HST who engage in both didactic instruction and clinical research projects under the mentorship of faculty members from MIT and HMS.

The Clinical Investigator Training Program is the largest of its kind in the country, is meeting a major national need for highly skilled clinical investigators, and is creating new research collaborations between MIT and HMS faculty.

The MD degree was awarded by Harvard Medical School to 26 HST students this year, of whom four received honors. Five students received MEMP doctoral degrees from MIT.


An objective of HST from its inception has been to foster development of interdisciplinary, inter-institutional collaborative research between the faculties of MIT and Harvard. The research of the HST core faculty and research staff covers a wide spectrum of biomedical areas including: auditory physiology (including therapeutics); pathophysiology, epidemiology, and therapy of atherosclerosis (including diagnostic instrumentation); biological response of tissue such as cartilage to mechanical, chemical and electrical factors; fundamental biology of translation-level control of gene expression; structure-function analysis of interleukin I-B; cryobiology; hyperthermia for cancer therapy; biomedical instrumentation; tissue engineering; systems physiology and modeling; physiological signal processing; vascular biology and pathophysiology; and fundamental pathophysiology of bone. Their research links include a number of HMS teaching hospitals (MGH, BWH, BIH, NEDH) and the HMS quadrangle.

We are particularly pleased that Elazer Edelman, MD, PhD, Helmholz Associate Professor of HST won a $750,000 Special Opportunity Award from the Whitaker Foundation. The grant will provide funds to support a modular teaching facility in tissue engineering and microscopy for the new Whitaker College Center for Biomedical Engineering .

HST also administers a number of research programs for affiliated faculty. The total projected fiscal year `94 research volume is $7.5M (including subcontracts). The research activities of the Clinical Research Center, organizationally part of HST, are reported separately.


Robert Rubin was appointed as Associate Professor of HST at HMS, and occupies the Gordon and Marjorie Osborne chair. He is the HST director of the Clinical Investigator Training Program, and of the new Center for Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics centered in the Clinical Research Center. He is responsible for a highly successful HST course in Clinical Pharmacology, and is an active clinician in transplantation and infectious disease at MGH.

Dr. Richard N. Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, was chosen to receive the 1995 Irving M. London Teaching Award, recognizing the excellence of his teaching in HST 030 Human Pathology.


The HST Division endorses the affirmative action plan at MIT, and continues to make every effort for equality in employment, promotion, and education regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or handicap.

Roger G. Mark and Michael Rosenblatt

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95