Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session


Seminars focused on the development of professional skills. Each semester focuses on a different topic, resulting in a repeating cycle that covers medical ethics, responsible conduct of research, written and oral technical communication, and translational issues. Includes guest lectures, case studies, interactive small group discussions, and role-playing simulations.

Welcome to Fall Semester and HST.590: Biomedical Engineering Seminar Series

As promised, this semester we will shift our focus from ethics to communication.

Last semester you voted on the communication topics you most wanted to see scheduled. After tallying your answers, we’ve invited knowledgeable HST faculty to come give interactive, informative workshops on the topics that most interested you.

We have 9 sessions scheduled this fall. At the first class, we will vote on a grading and attendance policy for this term.

Ses #1: Kick-Off with an introductory workshop on CVs.

Bring a copy of your CV to our first session. We will discuss the elements of a CV for scientific careers in academia and then workshop your own.

Ses #2: You applied for that dream job, and you got an interview. Good job! Now what?

Dr. Frederick Schoen, Professor of Pathology and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School, will come talk about interviewing. Dr. Schoen is Chair of the HST Graduate Committee and has directed numerous searches for HST. His experiences in interviewing both potential graduate students and potential faculty make his perspective on this subject invaluable. Come to class and learn about interviewing from both sides of the table. Learn what kinds of questions are typically asked and how you can best answer those questions.

Ses #3: And then, you have to give a job talk!!

Dr. Collin Stultz, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Division of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT, will come talk to us about his recent experiences on the job market and strategies for giving that winning job talk.

Ses #4: Your Job Talk went well BUT that’s not the end of your on-campus interview!

The job interview isn’t just about the job talk. You have to talk to many different faculty, students, and administrators on campus. So, how do you negotiate all those different perspectives? And once you get the job, you have to talk to your family, the media, funding agencies, and so on. Dr. Richard Mitchell, Associate Professor of Pathology and Health Sciences and Technology, will give a workshop on pitching your research to various audiences so they will think you are both smart and interesting.

Ses #5: Congratulations! You’ve got the job of your dreams-the swanky office, the sweet lab, the dutiful graduate students. Now, you have to bring in the grant money to support it all.

Learning to bring in research money is an integral part of any professional academic’s research world today. This workshop will focus on the grant writing and submission process.

Dr. Elfar Adalsteinsson, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and MIT’s Division of Health Sciences and Technology, will come talk to us about his experiences writing NIH grants.

Ses #6: Enough of academia! I’m going to industry!

Before heading off to industry, you want to consider what kind of job or company is best-suited to your needs and interests-not just your skills. In this session, consultant Michael Zwell will provide a perspective “from the other side of the table” and discuss how he helps companies find the right candidates for jobs.

Michael Zwell, PhD, is a globally recognized human capital consultant, focusing on competency-based selection, performance assessment, and search methodologies. Dr. Zwell brings a wealth of global experience to individuals, teams, and organizations seeking to perform their highest potential. A frequent speaker and successful entrepreneur, Dr. Zwell published the ground-breaking Creating a Culture of Competence. (John Wiley & Sons) on how to create high performing organizations. As founder and Chairman of Exxceed, he built a state-of-the-art human capital management business that was recently sold to a public company. After establishing himself as a force in mathematics at the University of Chicago, Dr. Zwell turned his attention to the social sciences as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and received his doctorate at Yale University. He has culled academic research to develop the functional knowledge and skills that make him uniquely suited to help organizations optimize their performance and results.

Ses #7: The day my grant got rejected . . . .

What do you do when your grant is rejected or you are invited to revise and resubmit your grant? Dr. Jagesh Shah, Assistant Professor of Systems Biology, Medicine and HST, Harvard Medical School, will come speak about the NIH re-submission process and grant funding.

Ses #8: Regardless of whether you choose a career in academia, in industry, or in clinical practice, you will have to deliver bad news, admit error in politically sensitive situations, and deal with difficult personalities.

Dr. T. (Teo) Forcht Dagi will come help us understand how to best communicate ideas in science and medicine. With examples from the medical and business world, Dr. Dagi will cover such topics as: what can happen when you’re right and what to say when you’re wrong; how to accept responsibility for error; how to criticise constructively; how to deal with difficult personalities; and how to contend with misconduct.

Teo is a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist teaching in the Harvard-MIT Program in Biomedical Entrepreneurship. He trained at the MGH and has served on the boards of a number of national medical organizations including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. A recent paper dealt with the problem of wrong-site surgery.

In addition to his academic pursuits, he is a partner at HLM Venture Partners. He has served as a director of publicly and privately held companies and also as a diplomat in the U.S. Department of State.

Ses #9: “Why your work is important!”

Dr. Jonathan Rosen is the co-director of HST590, Senior Advisor to the CIMIT Consortium, and the Executive Director of the Institute for Technology, Entrepreneurism, and Commercialization (ITEC) at the Boston University School of Management. He has participated in medical product development programs in large corporations, new ventures, and academic translational research centers for more than 30 years. In his experience, the most difficult question anyone ever asks is, “Why is your work important?” Whether you are applying for an NIH grant, interviewing for a job, asking investors for venture capital, or going home for Thanksgiving dinner, your answer to this question can make your day…or ruin your life!

Come listen, learn, and eat.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2006
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes