To train the next generation of scientists, the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri, in conjunction with the Departments of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences, the graduate program in Molecular Pathogenesis and Therapeutics and the MU Informatics Institute (MUII), have developed a collaborative training program in the Molecular Life Sciences. This proposal requests continued support from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences for a training grant on the Molecular Basis of Gene Expression and Signal Processing. This training grant provides two years of funding and training activities to support the training of six predoctoral trainees per year, who are typically at or near the beginning of their predoctoral training period. The 49 participating faculty members in this training program comprise a select group of outstanding scientists selected from the two departments and the two interdisciplinary training programs at MU. Students in this program will participate in a training program that has both department-specific and program-wide components. The departmental components include (1) department-specific classes that provide a curriculum appropriate for the particular disciplinary interests of each Fellow, (2) a group of outstanding scientists as mentors and role models for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and (3) opportunities for the Fellows to develop their own skills as teachers by serving as Teaching Assistants or as research mentors to undergraduates. The program-wide components include (4) required classes in molecular biology and in bioinformatics that provide a common foundation to our trainees, (5) a student-driven seminar program that provides a broad perspective across diverse scientific disciplines, peer-to-peer interactions and an opportunity to improve oral communication skills, (6) instruction in written communication so that our trainees will acquire skills in manuscript writing and grant preparation needed for their subsequent career, and (7) travel funds that enable our young scientists to present their work at national and international meetings. Working together, these departmental-specific and program-wide components provide our graduate students with both a depth of disciplinary expertise and a breadth of exposure to other disciplines that will enable our graduates to be the scientific leaders of the future.
Biomedical research has the potential to improve human health and reduce pain and suffering caused by disease. However, the questions that drive biomedical research are no longer bounded by the traditional disciplines in the physical and biological sciences. We propose to train the next generation of biomedical scientists, equipping them with deep expertise in a particular discipline and the ability to communicate and collaborate with other scientists across disciplinary boundaries.
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