Barbara Iglewski, Ph.D., has been named director of International Programs for the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The appointment is designed to strengthen current efforts with students and institutions abroad, including developing research partnerships and educational opportunities, increasing exchanges of students and faculty, conducting clinical trials, and exploring and creating new opportunities for the Medical Center. Much of the effort is focused on China, India, and other areas of Asia, and will supplement efforts already underway through the dean’s office of the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
“This is a real opportunity for the medical center,” said Iglewski, who visited several Chinese universities with CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., and other faculty members two years ago. “There are areas where we have strong existing programs, and there are new areas where we hope to capitalize. We need to continue developing collaborations to encourage an exchange of top talent.”
Nearly 100 faculty members in the School of Medicine and Dentistry already have established research programs with international collaborators. The school currently has an educational partnership with two medical schools in China, Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou and Shanghai. Through that program, graduate students enrolled in Ph.D. programs at those institutions can be nominated to come to Rochester to do research for two or three years as part of their thesis, then return to China to receive their degree. The first student in the program joined Berk’s laboratory in the fall.
In addition to such collaborations, Iglewski notes that half of the University’s medical students gain some international experience as part of their medical education. Dozens of first-year medical students go abroad between their first and second years of medical school, going to nations in Central America, Asia and Africa to explore such topics as HIV prevention, palliative care, birth control, and water quality. In addition, the School of Medicine and Dentistry each year hosts dozens of international students, from nations such as Poland, Germany, Spain, China and Taiwan, to observe Rochester’s clinical medical education.
Overall, the University has approximately 1700 students who come from 80 nations beyond the United States. At the School of Medicine and Dentistry, there are more than 400 international scholars, including graduate students, post-doctoral associates, and others.
“Dr. Iglewski has held a series of important posts at the Medical Center, often serving at particularly crucial points in time,” said Berk. “With the explosive growth of biomedical research internationally, it’s the right time to have her lead our effort to create new partnerships and opportunities around the world.”
Iglewski, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology, has served the University in a variety of leadership posts. For 23 years until last year, she was chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She was a key participant in the strategic planning process 15 years ago that rejuvenated basic science research at the Medical Center. She has also served as vice provost for research and dean of graduate education.
An expert on opportunistic infections, particularly pseudomonas, she is a past president of the American Society for Microbiology and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Last year she received a Lifetime Mentoring Award from the School of Medicine and Dentistry.