In our inaugural episode of The Fundamentals, we talk with Dr. Steven Kunkel about why he chose to build his now 40+ year career at the University of Michigan, why U-M’s research community is so special, the Great Minds Greater Discoveries strategic research initiative, and more.
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FROM THE PODCAST:
KELLY MALCOLM: So we have really great infrastructure in place. Last year I know you announced a new strategic research initiative called Great Minds Greater Discoveries, and as a part of that, have identified several priority areas. Those are neuroscience, eHealth, health equity, opioids and pain and inflammation, for our listeners. How were those areas of focus selected?
STEVE KUNKEL: Those areas were selected on a couple of criteria. One, we wanted to keep investing in those areas where we had strength, like neuroscience. Neuroscience, research is not just conducted in the medical school. It spreads across the other schools and colleges. Matter of fact, the psychology department in LS&A is probably the number one ranked psychology department in the country, and its basis for its research is neuroscience. So we wanted to invest in areas where we had strength and can keep that going. On the other hand, we wanted to invest in new areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning and wearables. We've had great success in collaborating with scientists in the College of Engineering. We've established those links. They were doing artificial intelligence back with the Department of Defense 20 some years ago. They moved into autonomous vehicles with artificial intelligence and they partnered with us telling the next frontier for using artificial intelligence is going to be medicine.