Interdisciplinary education to integrate pathology and epidemiology: towards molecular and population-level health science.
Journal: Am J Epidemiol
Date: 2012 Oct 15
Major Program(s) or Research Group(s):
PubMed ID: 22935517
PMC ID: PMC3571252
Abstract: In recent decades, epidemiology, public health, and medical sciences have been increasingly compartmentalized into narrower disciplines. The authors recognize the value of integration of divergent scientific fields in order to create new methods, concepts, paradigms, and knowledge. Herein they describe the recent emergence of molecular pathological epidemiology (MPE), which represents an integration of population and molecular biologic science to gain insights into the etiologies, pathogenesis, evolution, and outcomes of complex multifactorial diseases. Most human diseases, including common cancers (such as breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers, leukemia, and lymphoma) and other chronic diseases (such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, psychiatric diseases, and some infectious diseases), are caused by alterations in the genome, epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, microbiome, and interactome of all of the above components. In this era of personalized medicine and personalized prevention, we need integrated science (such as MPE) which can decipher diseases at the molecular, genetic, cellular, and population levels simultaneously. The authors believe that convergence and integration of multiple disciplines should be commonplace in research and education. We need to be open-minded and flexible in designing integrated education curricula and training programs for future students, clinicians, practitioners, and investigators.