This application seeks renewal of the highly successful Molecular Biophysics Predoctoral Training Grant Program at Columbia University. Training for students in the Program is performed in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry on the Morningside campus and the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, and Pharmacology on the Medical Center campus. The Program provides a rich and diverse environment in which students apply a host of biophysical approaches to the investigation of important biological problems. The Program emphasizes the application of state-of-the-art biophysical techniques to provide trenchant answers to detailed, specific questions while at the same time it endeavors to expose the trainees to a vast array of biological processes and to fertile areas of future research. The Training Program has been extensively revised to improve the educational program and to increase the number and quality of student- student and student-faculty interactions. The main elements of the training program are: exceptional laboratories housed in five departments and outstanding facilities located on the two campuses, a core year-long biophysics survey course, an extensive series of elective courses in topical areas of biophysics, a weekly biophysics colloquium, and seminars in biophysics given by outstanding visiting speakers. The colloquium has a varied schedule of activities, including research seminars by trainees and other biophysics students and postdoctoral scientists, seminars by outside speakers invited by trainees, and faculty-led discussions (emerging topics, career issues, etc.) in biophysics. Over the past five years since the last competitive renewal, the Training Program has made important strides in several critical areas: (i) time-to-degree of trainees and other biophysics students has been reduced (ii) publication records of trainees and other biophysics students have improved, and (iii) several new trainers have been brought into the Program. In the coming five-year period, the Program will continue to (i) fully implement and refine the new Training Program elements, (ii) reinforce ties between participating laboratories, departments and campuses, (iii) improve the recruitment of all students, with an emphasis on underrepresented minority students, (iv) recruit additional talented faculty. The past historical successes and anticipated future achievements in the next funding period of the Molecular Biophysics Training Grant Program at Columbia will maintain this Program as a flagship for education and training of graduate students in New York City.
The goal of this Program is to provide predoctoral students with unique educational and research training in molecular biophysics that capitalizes an outstanding environment of 28 training laboratories from five Departments and two campuses at Columbia University.
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