The Houston Area Molecular Biophysics Program (HAMBP) is a Ph.D. research training program in molecular biophysics involving 43 faculty mentors in six educational/research institutions in the Houston- Galveston area: Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, University of Houston, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Because of the large number of faculty, and the large and diverse applicant pool represented by this group of institutions, we propose to maintain our number of funded trainees at 9. Students pursue a rigorous course of study in the classroom and in the laboratory. Program activities required of all trainees include didactic courses in Molecular Biophysics and responsible conduct of research, a weekly seminar, monthly trainee meetings, an annual research symposium and progress review, and attendance and presentation at two annual research conferences. They receive a strong foundation in the fundamentals-of Molecular Biophysics, with exposure to a broad range of topics, and pursue cutting-edge thesis research in world-class biophysics laboratories. Research areas include x-ray crystallography, macromolecular electron microscopy, fluorescence, magnetic resonance and other types of macromolecular spectroscopy, thermodynamics, kinetics, molecular dynamics, theoretical biophysics, protein folding, nucleic acid structure, molecular recognition, and others. Biological structures studied range in size from peptides and lipid mediators to viruses, transcription complexes, and muscle filaments. Supported trainees have included 5 underrepresented minorities, and have had average GRE scores of 78%tile (Q), 82%tile (A), 74%tile(V), with average undergraduate GPAs of 3.50/4.0. The average time-to-degree of the 29 students supported in the last 10 years who have completed their Ph.D. is 5.27 years. The average number of publications per trainee is 3.8 for graduated trainees, including many high-profile papers and journal covers. Alumni have secured excellent positions upon completion of training, and continue to perform research at a high level. The Program is administered by a Steering Committee of representatives from all partner institutions, which closely monitors the progress of trainees, and make decisions about admission of applicant students and mentors. HAMBP is one of several highly successful cooperative training and research ventures of the partner institutions, which together represent a larger pool of research resources and trainees than any single institution in the U.S.

Public Health Relevance

Training in Molecular Biophysics enables research careers leading to fundamental understanding of human disease and development of innovative approaches to diagnostics, therapeutics, and disease prevention. Biophysics provides tools used by all specialties in biomedical research and in medical practice

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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National Institute of General Medical Sciences Initial Review Group (BRT)
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Flicker, Paula F
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Baylor College of Medicine
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