This is an application for renewal of the Integrative Program in Complex Biological Systems (ipCBS), a graduate training program providing a specialization for students that are members of the Biophysics and Bioinformatics group. The ipCBS is a comprehensive interdisciplinary program specifically designed around the understanding and engineering of complex biological systems ("systems biology"). At a fundamental level, this program seeks to solve the sociological and linguistic problems associated with training scientists to be simultaneously conversant in the multiple languages of biology, mathematics, physics, and engineering. This program was built on an entirely new foundation focused on observation, modeling, and manipulation of complex systems. Over the past grant period, the ipCBS has continued to develop and evolve the curriculum, especially in the area of hands-on project based, experiential learning. As a result, a purpose-built Graduate Teaching Laboratory was constructed as a direct outcome of this training program, and a pair of required courses "Dynamical Systems," conducted in the spirit of Cold Spring Harbor / Woods Hole, have become a keystone of the graduate first year experience. The key points of the ipCBS are as follows: Long term objective: To provide critical training necessary for a research environment driven by team-based interdisciplinary approaches to biomedical science and human health and dominated by large-scale and high complexity data. Approach: The ipCBS holds four core principles as the basis for graduate training. 1) Focus on the basic principles of biological organization, from the molecular to the cellular level. 2) Focus on complex systems from an interdisciplinary team-based perspective. 3) Focus on breaking down the language/sociology barrier. 4) Focus on mentoring.
Over the past decade, biomedical research is rapidly becoming highly interdisciplinary, requiring well-coordinated teams of researchers that seamlessly transit between the multiple fields of biology, genetics, informatics, engineering, physics, and computer science. Through this training program, we intend to educate the next generation of biomedical scientists, empowering them to tackle the most pressing issues facing medicine, biology, and public health.
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