The Philips Institute is growing. There are now over 60 people working within the Institute creating a vibrant research atmosphere with an active seminar series and post graduate club. Approval by the University to start an MS and a PhD program in Oral Health Research will expand the pool of researchers and train the next generation of scientists to address the main issues in Oral Health. The Institute has made strong connections with research colleagues in the Massey Cancer Center and physicians throughout VCU and with colleagues in the School of Engineering as well as clinical faculty at the School of Dentistry.
The future of research lies in multi-disciplinary teams organized to tackle challenging research area in health. At the Phillips Institute we have microbiologist, virologists, and cancer specialists, bioinformaticians, tissue engineers, physicians and dentists. We have the skills and the resources to tackle major issues in oral health and should be well positioned to respond to requests for multidisciplinary proposals from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Cancer Institute. An external advisory board is being recruited to provide strategic advice on our current research and future plans.
Future plans for the Philips Institute include pump prime funding for multi-disciplinary projects in the area of oral health. The funding will be used to generate data for federal grant submissions.
In collaboration with the Massey Cancer center a Head and Neck Cancer research focus group is being established to provide a quarterly forum to discuss research progress and identify new areas fertile for collaborative research.
The final talk of the day from Dr. Blackburn helped place what the Institute does in the context of the patient. Researchers do not often get to hear from patients first hand and can often feel removed from the health issues for which they are seeking cures. To hear Dr. Blackburn speak, with his physician Dr. Dinardo in the audience, helped put test tubes and tissue culture plates into context and provided a real world view about the importance of laboratory based research to patient care.
Following the introductory talks a reception and poster session was held that showcased the major research themes in the Philips Institute.