We propose to continue a flexible interdisciplinary Training Program in Cell and Molecular Biology, currently in its 37th year at the University of Pennsylvania. The training program is a University-wide, interdepartmental and interschool program whose mission is to provide a multifaceted doctoral program to prepare students for careers in cell and molecular biology in academia, industry, or government. The training program's goal is to provide broad-based training in modern methods of cell and molecular biology and in-depth didactic exposure to cell and molecular biology, while at the same time matching the Trainees'specific interests. These goals are achieved through general and specialized courses, literature survey courses, laboratory rotations, a qualifying examination, thesis research with oversight from an advising committee, training in bioethics, and training grant-specific activities. Trainee-specific activities include an annual oral presentation of ongoing thesis research;attending the annual Cell and Molecular Biology Retreat;attending the Annual Trainee Organized Invited Lectures;participating in Alumni Day in which a former Trainee who has completed their Ph.D. and left Penn is invited back to give a seminar and meet with the Trainees;group attendance of Trainees/Trainer at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology meeting and the Current and Former Trainee Lunch in which 2 former Trainees present a talk on their thesis research. Students completing their second year of graduate studies are appointed for two years and are selected annually by the Executive Committee. Trainers come from the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Arts and Science, and Engineering and Applied Science, and the Wistar Institute and not only have active research programs in cell and molecular biology but also a commitment to graduate education. The training program has formal mechanisms to monitor trainees both during and after their training grant support. In addition, the training program has formal mechanisms to monitor trainers, as well as to resolve any conflicts between trainees and trainers. Last, Trainers participate in a number of efforts to recruit under-represented minorities both locally and nationally. Direct management of the Training Program is done by an Executive Committee that sets and reviews policy and selects trainees. Based on the number of potential trainees, we request support for 14 predoctoral trainees/year for the next 5 years;this number is the same as that currently supported by the training grant.
This Predoctoral Training Program includes education and research opportunities to investigate the molecular and cellular basis of fundamental biological processes that range from cell signaling to gene expression, employing a wide array of model systems.
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