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URMC / Clinical & Translational Science Institute / Stories / July 2022 / Juilee Thakar Serves as New Translational Biomedical Science PhD Program Director

Juilee Thakar Serves as New Translational Biomedical Science PhD Program Director

Juilee Thakar, PhD, Director, Translational Biomedical Science PhD ProgramAfter serving as associate program director of the UR CTSI’s Translational Biomedical Science (TBS) PhD Program for the past year, Juilee Thakar, Ph.D., stepped into the role of program director on July 1. Thakar, an associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Biostatistics and Computational Biology, and Biomedical Genetics at URMC, has a passion for mentoring the next generation of translational scientists.

“I truly enjoy working with students, empowering them to create their own career path, and seeing them grow,” said Thakar. “The TBS program will allow me to use my experiences to support students during a very critical time of their research career.”

Thakar has been working alongside interim TBS program director Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., who also serves as strategic director of Research Education at UR CTSI, over the past year. As she steps into the role of program director, van Wijngaarden will stay involved in the TBS program as the associate program director.

“Over the past year, it has become clear that Dr. Thakar is perfectly suited to lead this important program,” said van Wijngaarden, who is also a professor and associate chair of Public Health Sciences, and a professor in the Departments of Dentistry, Environmental Medicine, Pediatrics and in the Center for Community Health and Prevention. “I look forward to working with her to foster the careers of our truly exceptional trainees.”

Together, Thakar and van Wijngaarden recently restructured the TBS program curriculum, and will be adding two concentrations: clinical research methods and bioinformatics. Thakar is excited to implement the new curriculum and to bring new peer-education opportunities to the program.

Thakar has been working in translational and multidisciplinary research for nearly a decade, collaborating with clinicians and basic scientists on projects big and small. These experiences, she feels, have prepared her to teach the next generation about the nuances of translational research and to identify growth opportunities for early-career scientists working in these fields.

“Providing clinical and public health-related instruction to basic scientists is a unique balance that the TBS program tries to achieve,” said Thakar. “I’m excited to help our students prepare for a wide range of careers and opportunities.”


The programs described in this article are supported by the University of Rochester CTSA award number TL1 TR002000 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. Programs supported by the TL1 include the Translational Biomedical Science PhD Program, the Academic Research Track, the Population Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship and support for trainees in the Medical Scientist Training Program.

Michael Hazard | 7/8/2022

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