A multi-faceted approach

SPARK's Educational Program

Stanford must prepare its students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty to address the future challenges of health care, whether through academic medicine, clinical practice, or industry. SPARK’s educational program teaches participants the technical know-how required to advance early programs to the clinical stage. Mentoring is provided by advisors with expertise in product development, clinical care, and business, preparing participants for careers that link investigation with important new therapies.

SPARK at Stanford offers graduate level courses exploring these topics are hosted by the Department of Chemical Systems and Biology.

SPARK also provides funding to select projects.

SPARK Scholars participate in weekly meetings with faculty and industry advisors.

Sample SPARK Courses

Please visit Stanford's Explore Courses to see a current list of SPARK courses.

Previous SPARK courses have included:

CSB 240 A/ B - A Practical Approach to Drug Discovery and Development 

Description:  Advancing a drug from discovery of a therapeutic target to human trials and commercialization.  Topics include: high throughput assay development, compound screening, lead optimization, protecting intellectual property, toxicology testing, regulatory issues, assessment of clinical need, defining the market, conducting clinical trials, project management, and commercialization issues, including approach to licensing and raising capital.

CSB 242 - Drug Discovery and Development Seminar Series

Description:  Attend SPARK biweekly meetings to hear project updates or seminars on drug development topics presented by industry experts.

I think this book should be required reading for any scientists in academia who plan to engage in translation of discoveries into the clinic. The authors have really been there, and they have done their homework. The chapters are not only informative, they are infused with the kind of advice that only comes from living this endeavor. Highly recommended.”  Janet Woodcock, Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA

SPARK Manual

Interested in learning more about how to set up a SPARK program at your institution? 

Academia and industry need each other. Industrial research thrives by keeping a close eye on the pioneering work that the best academic research centers generate. And those academic labs, if they’re ever going to translate such discoveries into new drugs, need the experience, specialization and resilience of the best industrial organizations. Watching the two groups argue with each other, then, is like watching a fight between a car’s engine and  its  wheels. The industrial drug researchers who have gone into academia over the last 10 or 15 years are one factor helping to bring the two groups together. This book (and the efforts that led to it) could be another. - Derek Lowe, 2015 Nature America Book Review