Prospective students

Program Description


The TBMH program has been designed to help address a national need for accelerating the pace of translation of biomedical discoveries into diagnostics, treatments, and cures, as well as their effective implementation. Major national organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, have called for new approaches to train biomedical and health scientists to achieve this goal, recognizing that today’s researchers must utilize interdisciplinary approaches, communicate across levels of inquiry, and be prepared for the diverse careers that drive today’s biomedical research enterprise.  Graduates of the TBMH program will be well prepared to take on these challenges and become tomorrow’s scientific leaders.


All core coursework has all been specially designed for the TBMH degree. This coursework utilizes a model based on the integration of didactic lectures, instruction on research design and methodology, case studies, and self-directed learning, where students not only attain core knowledge, but also learn how to seek out the appropriate information, and apply this knowledge in a variety of contexts.

Through a combination of TBMH core and focus area-specific coursework, students will be trained to go deep at advanced levels in a particular area (just as in classic disciplines), but also to have the skills, confidence and intellectual breadth to identify today’s pressing health issues, and develop them in the framework and context of greater needs. This includes recognizing the likelihood of the adoption and application of translational discoveries, their cost, delivery, and related policy issues. 

Learning Objectives

Regardless of the focus area in which the students specialize, all graduates of the TBMH program will be able to:

  • Explain the stages of the translational research spectrum
  • Evaluate how multiple complex cellular and molecular factors influence physiological systems
  • Integrate and model the processes of healthful function across scales, from the molecular to the organismal, and the individual to the social network
  • Evaluate and compare published claims for the capacity to prevent or alter trajectories of unhealthy biological processes through genetic, pharmacological, behavioral and health systems interventions
  • Conceive new conceptual approaches or technological strategies for the identification and quantification of pathological processes, their prevention or treatment, and/or the effective implementation of such interventions.
  • Demonstrate effective written and oral communication of scientific concepts and data in translational biology, medical and health research.
  • Work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary environment, which may include basic scientists, translational scientists, clinicians, administrators, or policy makers.
  • Identify career opportunities for biomedical and translational scientists, and conduct one’s chosen professional activities in a responsible and ethical manner

Program Leadership

TBMH Program Co-Director

Audra Van Wart, Ph.D.
1 Riverside Circle
Roanoke, VA, 24016

TBMH Program Co-Director

Steven Poelzing, Ph.D.
2 Riverside Circle
Roanoke, VA, 24016

Program Support

TBMH Graduate Program Coordinator

Jay Read, M.Ed.
1 Riverside Circle
Roanoke, VA, 24016

TBMH Education Support Specialist