Drexel University College of Medicine is establishing a new Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies. The new school combines the current Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Programs and the Professional Studies Programs. These programs have experienced significant growth in the past several years.
"We anticipate that this integration will elevate the existing programs to new levels, provide enhanced learning opportunities for our students, and strengthen the College of Medicine and the University overall by giving us a competitive edge in recruiting and training the next generation of researchers," said Daniel V. Schidlow, Annenberg Dean and senior vice president of medical affairs. "This new school will produce scientists who understand the application and translation of basic science, and will create professionals who are well-trained and capable of independently and critically viewing new claims in their fields."
Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, PhD, Named Founding Dean
Drexel University College of Medicine has named Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, PhD, as the founding dean of the new graduate school. Van Bockstaele comes to Drexel from Thomas Jefferson University, where she is a tenured professor in the Department of Neuroscience, as well as the founding director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience in the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. For several years she was vice chair for research in the Department of Neurological Surgery of Jefferson Medical College, and she has held numerous leadership roles in graduate and medical school courses, including coordinating a dozen graduate courses. Van Bockstaele assumes her new position on September 1, 2013.
"I am confident that under Dr. Van Bockstaele's leadership, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies will fuel the continued growth and development of high-quality graduate programs throughout our University. This new graduate school will be a source of exciting initiatives in interdisciplinary education that will span across Drexel, making it an elite destination for study," said Schidlow.
"I am very excited to be joining Drexel University College of Medicine at this time and am looking forward to building on the strengths Drexel already holds in postgraduate teaching and training while exploring new ways to integrate contemporary methods in scientific research," said Van Bockstaele. "We will actively search for opportunities to build new relationships with our colleagues across Drexel University that will not only benefit our school, but will benefit the larger scientific community in Philadelphia and throughout the world."
The graduate neuroscience program Van Bockstaele founded at Jefferson was the first interdisciplinary, non–department-based graduate program at the University. She oversaw the development of a curriculum that bridges basic neuroscience and clinical neuroscience, and engaged clinicians in didactic coursework and as mentors of the graduate students. She has a demonstrated commitment to providing a mentoring infrastructure that supports graduate students and fellows in their pursuit of research funding, and several of her own recent pre-doctoral students have obtained NIH pre-doctoral fellowships.
Van Bockstaele's research has been consistently funded throughout her career, beginning in 1994 when she was an assistant professor of neuroscience at Cornell University Medical College. She serves as principal investigator on two R01 grants and as PI on subcontracts for three other R01 grants with investigators at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Temple University. She recently completed a project for a P20 Center Grant with investigators at the University of Pennsylvania. Data collected in her laboratory has been published in over 160 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters, and more than 80 symposium proceedings. She has been a member of, or chaired, several fellowship study sections for the National Institutes of Health, as well as center grant and program project reviews, and recently completed service as chair of a standing NIH study section, Neuroimmunology, Neuroendocrinology, Rhythms and Sleep.
Van Bockstaele has held a variety of leadership positions in the Society for Neuroscience, the world's largest organization of scientists devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. She chaired the Membership and Chapters Committee, where she oversaw the development of a five-year strategic plan to enhance member benefits and growth. She was an active member in the Professional Development Working Group where she has organized annual symposia focused on careers beyond academia. She was a founding member of the Society's Committee on Neuroscience Education and Training. Locally, she has served as past president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, and previously served as secretary of the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs.
Van Bockstaele received her PhD and master's degrees in neurobiology from New York University, with a minor in biochemistry and molecular biology, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University Medical College before joining the faculty there. She is a 2010 graduate of Drexel University College of Medicine's Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® program for women.