City of Hope commencement will launch tomorrow’s leaders in the biosocial sciences

June 7, 2015
Graduate school creates unique bridge between basic science and clinical medicine
DUARTE, Calif. — On Friday, June 12, at City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences’ commencement ceremony, a specially trained group of young scientists will take their first steps toward their goal of changing the future of medicine and science. Trained in basic science, and its impact on clinical medicine, these students will help create the next generation of treatments and cures for some of today’s most deadly diseases.

John J. Rossi, Ph.D., the Morgan & Helen Cu’s Dean Chair of the graduate school, and chair and professor of molecular and cellular biology at City of Hope, said that in bridging basic science and clinical medicine, the graduate program offers an experience that similar programs can’t match.

“The close interactions among our academic and clinical faculty create a culture of cooperation that is unique for biomedical graduate programs,” he said. That culture, Rossi explained, provides “ample opportunities for our students to learn about the clinical challenges of practicing physicians and to make unique and important research contributions.”

Duarte native James Finlay will be one of 12 students receiving a degree, highlighting the nature of the school’s research and its potential to shape the future. While his research focused on the intricacies of how a specific protein helps cancer spread, his environment showed him the potential impact of his work.

“When I would go the cafeteria or would lock up my bicycle, I saw cancer patients all the time, including little kids in wheelchairs going for treatment,” he said. “It puts a human face on the research, and really, really motivates you to want do good research.”

Celebrating the students’ achievements and the future will be leaders of the school, City of Hope and the scientific community.

The keynote address will be delivered by Harry Gray, the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and the founding director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology. Gray is acclaimed for his research on a wide range of fundamental problems in inorganic chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics.

Denise Heady
[email protected]
About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with clinics in Southern California. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics.