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Master’s Program in the Professional Sciences Reinvigorated

By Josh Halpren

Gregory Busse

Gregory Busse

According to Dr. Gregory Busse, science does not exist in a vacuum. Busse, AU’s Psychologist-in-Residence turned Director of the Master’s program in the Professional Sciences, sees science through its theoretical and applied lens.

“We live in a unique area of the United States,” says Busse. “The Washington, DC, area is at the intersection of science, industry, and government—the key players that bring scientific innovation to the American public. Our program is about giving students the necessary technical skills to be successful in science, as well as the practical skills they need to navigate its intersection with business and government.”

Allowing students to focus in the areas of quantitative analysis, environmental assessment, or biotechnology, the Master’s program in the Professional Sciences emphasizes the importance of the world in which science operates. “All industries involved in science do so within a framework,” says Busse in reference to agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration where Busse himself formerly worked. “The business of science can be complex. Those who innovate not only possess the business acumen necessary to see their ideas come to fruition, but they have also learned to successfully navigate the government agencies that regulate their industry,” says Busse.

Prior to beginning his new role at AU, Busse was the Senior Writer/Editor and Team Lead for Risk Communications within the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. There he was tasked with presenting complex regulatory science and drug safety information to the public in a way that could be understood by multiple audiences. FDA’s “Drug Safety Communications” are some of the highest profile communications issued by the Agency. “These risk communications would often outline new and emerging safety information associated with a drug,” says Busse. “By using the information in these communications, consumers and healthcare professionals could use and prescribe drugs to maximize benefit while minimizing and/or managing risk.”

Busse says his time at the FDA solidified his knowledge of how science intersects with business and government. Through the professional science program, he hopes students will learn to understand the importance of this intersection and how it can inspire their own scientific innovation. “These programs are about much more than the theoretical nature of science,” says Busse. “They are about providing students with applied skills they need to be more effective, efficient, and ultimately successful in their careers.”

As director of the program, Busse plans to regularly consult an external advisory board made up of leaders in the business of science. This committee will take a critical look at each one of the tracts to ensure students are getting the skills needed to be successful in their respective field. Busse knows that “the business of science is constantly evolving. This reality encourages us to consistently evaluate whether our curriculum is reflective of what students need to be successful.”