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March 5, 2001

Harvard's Martin to explore
industry-academy dynamic

By Eric Rangus

Harvard’s Joseph Martin will present his lecture, “Academic-Industrial Relationships: Measuring Opportunities and Assessing Conflicts,” Wednesday, March 14, at 4 p.m. in WHSCAB Auditorium.
The event, part of the Future Makers Lecture Series, is free and open to the public. A reception on the WHSCAB plaza will follow.

The monetary backing of corporations and industry has been a boon for medical research. However, with all that money floating around—and the increased visibility of for-profit entities affecting research—the potential for conflict of interest in researchers has become a major issue.

According to Martin, dean of the faculty of medicine at Harvard’s Medical School, current mechanisms of technology transfer are often ineffective. New models for managing these opportunities must be developed, and they must ensure adequate conflict-of-interest management.

“While academic-industry collaborations are essential if patients are to benefit from the current biomedical revolution,” Martin said, “the integrity of those relationships must be monitored by policies that are clearer and more stringent than is the norm today.”

For instance, according to Martin, just 1 percent of academic institutions require disclosure of financial interests to the review boards that approve
clinical research.

In early February, Martin organized a group of prominent leaders in academic medicine who drafted a set of guidelines for dealing with financial conflicts of interest that can arise from faculty/industry collaborations.

Some of the group’s proposals include: disclosure of financial interest to review boards, disclosure of financial ties to anyone involved in research, applying a higher standard to clinical research than for basic laboratory research, and requiring financial disclosure to journals considering publishing related research.

The work sprung from a series of articles written by group members that appeared in November in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine.
An internationally recognized leader in the field of neurological sciences, Martin’s research has focused on the use of molecular genetics to better understand the causes of neurological and neurodegenerative disease.

Martin began his career in academic medicine at McGill University in Montreal, where he became chair of neurology and neurosurgery. He then joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School, was dean of the School of Medicine at University of California–San Francisco and served as UCSF chancellor for four years before returning to Harvard.

An author of more than 300 scientific articles and reviews, Martin is one of the editors of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine and has served on the editorial boards of the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Neurology and Science.

The event will be broadcast on Emory broadband channel 57 (VAMC channel 26) and will be shown in Grady Hospital’s Steiner Auditorium and in Hospital Education 170C, classroom 1, Candler Building, Crawford Long.

The lecture also will be webcast at


Back to Emory Report March 5, 2001