Drs. Alessandra Luchini and Lance Liotta from the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) are offering a unique course this spring term  - BIOL 691 002, “Creativity and Innovation”, 3 credits.  This course can be used for elective credit in all degree programs and concentrations. View the course meeting day and time on Patriot Web. The course syllabus is attached.

Course description

Creativity and innovative thinking is the most important requirement for success in any field. Creative thinking drives all progress in the arts, the sciences, and the commercial sector. Under this philosophy, graduate students should be immersed in a culture of creativity surrounded by mentors and advisors who explain and demonstrate the creative process. Graduate students should be shown that every team member in a modern academic lab  – ranging from summer scientists to tenured professors – can be the originator (and inventor) of a seminal idea that opens a whole new field.

To succeed in the current highly competitive funding climate, a scientist must submit a grant proposal that is highly daring and risky, or they will fail to gain the attention of the study section. Moreover, if the idea isn’t totally new then it cannot be patented, and it will not have a significant impact in the commercial sector. Consequently, maximizing creativity is of primary importance to maintain a competitive edge in biomedical science. We strive to ensure that our students fundamentally understand that they gain future job security in science by taking a risk in the lab. Instead of following the current scientific vogue, we want our trainees to launch the next viral idea. We aspire to graduate scientists that create new technology, propose radical hypotheses, or select radical experimental systems, not just because it is cool, and may increase the probability of winning a grant application, but because it can be used to ask, and answer, questions in biology and medicine that have never been possible before.

In the first four weeks of this class students will explore the origin and value of creativity and will be presented with examples of successful disruptive ideas and ideas that failed. In weeks five through eight the students will receive a complete tutorial on patents and intellectual property for scientists. In weeks nine through twelve the students will exercise their creative abilities to solve real world timely scientific problems posed in the class.

Alessandra Luchini, PhD

Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine

Associate Professor

George Mason University

10920 George Mason Circle, MS 1A9

Room 1013 Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research

Manassas, VA 20110

Tel: 703 993 8945

Fax: 703-993-8606