The application of quantitative approaches to study biology and medicine is identified as an essential progression in future developments of biomedical research. The Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP) at Vanderbilt specifically addresses this need by training students to work at the interface between quantitative molecular approaches and key problems in biology and medicine. Thus, the MBTP provides a deeper grounding in the physical sciences for trainees who have a biological sciences background, and a more thorough exposure to the biological sciences and medicine than is usual for students with a physical sciences or engineering background. Though the program draws its training faculty from nine different departments, it is rooted in an established network of common research and training activities. In additional to the 26 Training Faculty and 58 students, the training environment is greatly enriched by the active participation of ~40 scientific staff and postdoctoral fellows. Beyond a personally designed curriculum for each trainee, the MBTP holds two formal research seminar meetings each month involving the entire molecular biophysics community. The scope of research ranges from the design of small molecule drugs to the structural analysis of multi-protein cellular machinery and from characterization of membrane proteins to following the movement of biomolecules into and out of cells. Research projects involve a broad spectrum of physical, chemical, and computational approaches, including X-ray crystallography, NMR, EPR and fluorescence spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, cryo-electron microscopy, cell imaging and molecular/cellular simulations, often involving multiple approaches. Trainees typically join the MBTP late in their first year of graduate training after choosing a thesis laboratory, and are then supported for two years. Grant support covers the time needed for additional specialized didactic training and the initiation of thesis research. However, all trainees (and their preceptors) remain active in MBTP program activities throughout the duration of their graduate training.

Public Health Relevance

The ultimate goal of Molecular Biophysics is to obtain a quantitative description of the shapes, surface features and network of interactions between the many thousands of molecules that bring a cell to life. Such knowledge provides a direct understanding of normal physiology and the malfunctions that lead to disease, and in turn can be used to develop drug therapies targeted specifically for the defective molecules.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Type
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
5T32GM008320-24
Application #
8291298
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-BRT-X (TG))
Program Officer
Flicker, Paula F
Project Start
1989-07-01
Project End
2014-06-30
Budget Start
2012-07-01
Budget End
2013-06-30
Support Year
24
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$312,582
Indirect Cost
$14,858
Name
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Department
Biochemistry
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
004413456
City
Nashville
State
TN
Country
United States
Zip Code
37212
Zhan, Xuanzhi; Stoy, Henriette; Kaoud, Tamer S et al. (2016) Peptide mini-scaffold facilitates JNK3 activation in cells. Sci Rep 6:21025
Foegeding, Nora J; Caston, Rhonda R; McClain, Mark S et al. (2016) An Overview of Helicobacter pylori VacA Toxin Biology. Toxins (Basel) 8:
Vann, Kendra R; Ekiz, Güner; Zencir, Sevil et al. (2016) Effects of Secondary Metabolites from the Fungus Septofusidium berolinense on DNA Cleavage Mediated by Human Topoisomerase IIα. Chem Res Toxicol 29:415-20
Schlebach, Jonathan P; Barrett, Paul J; Day, Charles A et al. (2016) Topologically Diverse Human Membrane Proteins Partition to Liquid-Disordered Domains in Phase-Separated Lipid Vesicles. Biochemistry 55:985-8
Hirschi, Alexander; Martin, William J; Luka, Zigmund et al. (2016) G-quadruplex RNA binding and recognition by the lysine-specific histone demethylase-1 enzyme. RNA 22:1250-60
Bender, Brian J; Cisneros 3rd, Alberto; Duran, Amanda M et al. (2016) Protocols for Molecular Modeling with Rosetta3 and RosettaScripts. Biochemistry 55:4748-63
Dumas, Megan E; Sturgill, Emma G; Ohi, Ryoma (2016) Resistance is not futile: Surviving Eg5 inhibition. Cell Cycle 15:2845-2847
Maklashina, Elena; Rajagukguk, Sany; Starbird, Chrystal A et al. (2016) Binding of the Covalent Flavin Assembly Factor to the Flavoprotein Subunit of Complex II. J Biol Chem 291:2904-16
Bensing, Barbara A; Loukachevitch, Lioudmila V; McCulloch, Kathryn M et al. (2016) Structural Basis for Sialoglycan Binding by the Streptococcus sanguinis SrpA Adhesin. J Biol Chem 291:7230-40
González-Rivera, Christian; Campbell, Anne M; Rutherford, Stacey A et al. (2016) A Nonoligomerizing Mutant Form of Helicobacter pylori VacA Allows Structural Analysis of the p33 Domain. Infect Immun 84:2662-70

Showing the most recent 10 out of 194 publications