The aim of this predoctoral training program in Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry is to train scientists to carry out the biomedical research of the future. We equip trainees with an integrated perspective on biological problems as well as broad expertise in a variety of experimental approaches. This training program brings together 95 faculty who are studying central problems in cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry, including regulation of the cell division cycle, signal transduction, chromosome structure, protein trafficking, cytoskeletal organization, protein and nucleic acid folding and structure, DNA replication, RNA splicing, transcriptional control, infectious disease, and various problems in molecular evolution. These studies use the tools of cell biology, genetics and biochemistry to exploit a wide range of systems, including bacteria, yeast, nematodes, zebrafish, Drosophila and humans. The goals of the combined program are accomplished through coursework, Ph.D. thesis research, and a variety of other activities. The features of our training program that are especially attractive to incoming students are: (a) a large number of active, excellent laboratories from which students can choose for their thesis research;(b) a laboratory rotation system that provides meaningful research experience in at least three different laboratories;(c) an excellent set of courses that enables students with little prior training in cell biology, genetics, or biochemistry to acquire a solid foundation in these areas;(d) one-on-one training with faculty members to sharpen public presentation skills;(e) a highly collegial, interactive, and collaborative atmosphere;(f) a high faculty to student ratio;and (g) the high level of importance placed by the UCSF faculty on training graduate students.
Two aspects of the training program are relevant to public health. First, by exposing students to first rate research in many different areas and disciplines, students acquire the expertise and confidence to carry on in a variety of capacities, not limited to those of the research lab or lecture hall. Students who have graduated from the program not only populate many departments throughout the country, but also participate in a variety of public policy roles related to public health. Second, all of the research projects have the potential to improve the understanding and treatment of human health problems, ranging from cancer to aging.
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