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Eliminating barriers for advancing biomedical science

The Integrated Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame is a cross-departmental PhD program for research and training in a range of fields in the biomedical sciences. Scientists across the campus, representing 55 different research groups, are organized into thematic Research and Training Clusters that offer students the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge biomedical research that transcends traditional departmental and disciplinary boundaries. Explore our program here, or download a brochure that describes the key aspects.

Recent News

Why Don’t Patients Listen to their Doctors?

Author: Arnie Phifer

A new Notre Dame research program looks for solutions to the problem of medical nonadherence

As part of the launch of a new research program in Health-Related Behavioral Sciences, the University of Notre Dame’s Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative has made its first award to support an investigation of why patients with Type 2 diabetes don’t always follow their prescribed medical regimens.

Doctor Patient

The study, led by Guangjian Zhang, Associate Professor of Psychology, will collect pilot data on adherence to recommendations from physicians—regarding medication, diet, physical activities, sleep, and self-administered blood tests—in forty Type 2 diabetes patients and develop statistical methods to analyze the intensive longitudinal data that are produced.

“Our long term goal is to contribute to the understanding, prevention, and treatment of lifestyle-related chronic diseases,” said Zhang, “and diabetes is an important place to start.”

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 422 million people in the world living with diabetes, and work by other researchers suggest that only 7.3% of diabetes patients fully meet all three goals of controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. Read More

Turning Ideas into Reality for Colon Cancer Research

Author: Jenna Bilinski

In July, 2014, Mike Patterson received some news that changed his life forever. He was diagnosed with stage four colon and liver cancer.

“They didn’t give me a lot of hope,” recalled Patterson.

Like many patients after receiving such a diagnosis, Mike asked for a second opinion. However, he was given the same grim verdict and began looking at treatment options. With very little time and few options, it was decided that chemotherapy was the best route. After several months of treatment, and no progress, Mike’s team of doctors decided to schedule his surgery on December 12, 2014. A date that now holds great significance to Mike.

This date was picked by his surgeons and happens to be the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which celebrates a religious apparition of the Virgin Mary.

While Mike was going through chemotherapy treatments, he was paid a visit by his friend, Brother Mauricio. Brother Mauricio traveled to the United States from Mexico and brought with him the shroud of Our Lady of Guadalupe. With the shroud, he prayed with Mike to defeat this monstrous disease. 

(Left to right) Dr. Amanda Hummon, Dr. Sharon Stack, and Mrs. and Mr. Mike Patterson

Mike recovered from his surgery with no complications. A couple weeks after surgery, Mike visited his oncologist for a post-operation check-up. He showed no signs of either cancer. Mike said, “They couldn’t give a medical explanation for what happened or how it happened … I instantly went from hopelessness to complete gratitude.” Ever since, Mike has been determined to do all he can with the resources he has, to help eradicate this disease.

During the Fall of 2015, Mike learned about the cancer research being conducted at the University of Notre Dame’s Harper Cancer Research Institute. Here he was introduced to the work of Dr. Amanda Hummon, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Notre Dame and exceptional colon cancer researcher at the Harper Cancer Research Institute. Read More

Eli Lilly Faculty Fellowship Provides Drug Discovery Experience

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Notre Dame Researcher Developing Medication Delivery System to Combat Diabetes

Haifeng Gao 2

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body has an inability to produce enough insulin. In the United States alone, it is estimated that the illness affects nearly 30 million diagnosed and undiagnosed people, and treatment often includes patients using an intravenous or IV method to get insulin into their system. This uncomfortable and inconvenient form of treatment can require anywhere from two to four injections a day, but a Notre Dame researcher is working to combat this problem with a less frequent, oral delivery system.

Haifeng Gao, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry as well as an affiliated member of ND Energy and NDnano, is working at the newly opened McCourtney Hall to engineer soft nanomaterials and develop a polymer, or substance that has a molecular structure consisting of mostly large numbers of similar units bonded together, that could potentially carry insulin throughout the body. For the polymer to work, it would need to survive the harsh environment of the stomach, control the encapsulation of the insulin, and program the release of medication in a way that is as effective as current treatment methods. To do all of these things, Gao’s goal is to develop a unimolecular polymer carrier with multiple domains and functional groups, which utilizes several components that can work synergistically. Read More