This is a renewal of an NIBIB Graduate Training Program in Multi-Scale Analysis of Biological Structure and Function at the University of California San Diego. Pre-doctoral trainees are drawn exclusively from a formal Interdisciplinary Ph.D. specialization in Multi-Scale Biology, which students from seven highly ranked participating home doctoral programs (Bioengineering, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Neurosciences and Physics) apply to join at the end of their first of graduate studies. This interdisciplinary program brings together 43 faculty and currently 39 students from the biological, engineering, physical and health sciences with the goal of training a new cadre of scientist who can cross disciplinary boundaries to solve important biomedical problem that span scales of biological organization from molecule to organism. A central feature of the training curriculum is seven hands-on graduate laboratory courses in specialized technologies (including mass spectrometry, light and electron microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, tissue engineering and multi-scale computational modeling) for measuring, manipulating and analyzing biological structure and functions across a range of physical scales. The scientific focus on multi-scale analysis of biological structure and function reflects a fundamental challenge of modern biomedical science in developing and applying novel quantitative approaches from the physical, engineering, biological and health sciences to integrative problems in biomedicine. Regular program activities including bi-weekly graduate seminars, annual symposia and retreats, course open house events and quarterly program meetings promote interactions between students and faculty from different disciplines. The dual-mentored training program attracts outstanding graduate students from all disciplines, provides access to unique facilities and interdisciplinary graduate research opportunities, and is successful in promoting new interdisciplinary collaborations in important areas including human genetics, development and cancer, diseases and disorders of the nervous, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems, diagnostics and therapeutics. This renewal application proposes to continue to train the most diverse student body to be effective leaders in structurally integrated multi-scale analysis of biological function It will develop at least one new lab course in Quantitative Cell Biology and participate actively in a new campus-wide initiative in Quantitative Biosciences.
Most important scientific challenges in 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. The purpose of this interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program is to train a new cadre of scientists at the interfaces between engineering, physical sciences, biological science and health sciences to apply modern technologies to these challenges, in order to advance biomedical research and improve health care.
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