To help train a cadre of interdisciplinary research scientists who can cross disciplinary boundaries between medical, biological, physical and engineering sciences, the proposed research training program will support ten pre-doctoral students during their second and third years of doctoral study in a newly established interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree Specialization in Multi-Scale Biology at UCSD. Students in the specialization belong to one of five established and highly ranked graduate programs (Bioengineering, Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Neurosciences) from the Divisions of Biological Sciences, Health Sciences, Physical Sciences and the Jacobs School of Engineering. A unique feature of the training curriculum is six specialized hands-on laboratory courses in specialized technologies (including mass spectrometry, light and electron microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging and high-performance computing) for measuring and analyzing biological structures and functions across multiple scales of biological organization from molecular to whole organism. The scientific focus on multi-scale analysis of biological structure and function reflects a fundamental challenge of modern biomedical science and the strengths of the 37 program faculty (with three HHMI Investigators and one member of the MAS) from 18 departments (Eng., Biological Sciences., Physical Sciences and Health Sciences, Schools of Medicine or Pharmacy, with two new faculty from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences) in developing and applying novel approaches from biochemistry, cell biology, biophotonics, microscopy, tissue engineering, imaging and computational modeling to integrative problems in biomedicine spanning the molecular to whole organism scales. The dual-mentored training program provides outstanding interdisciplinary graduate research opportunities in these areas, especially in relation to human genetics, development and cancer, diseases and disorders of the nervous, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems, diagnostics and therapeutics. The graduate training program also provides a highly interdisciplinary training environment and a wealth of activities to promote new interdisciplinary collaborations and interactions.
Most important scientific challenges of modern biomedicine require a detailed understanding of how biological processes at the molecular scale give rise to functions at the levels of the cell, tissue, organ and whole body. This program trains graduate students at the interfaces between engineering, physical sciences, biological sciences and health sciences to apply modern technologies to these challenges.
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