The goal of the Molecular, Cellular, and Structural Biology (MCSB) Training Program is to provide outstanding pre-doctoral training on a wide variety of topics involving basic biological and biomedical processes at the molecular and cellular level. The training in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and structural bioloy emphasized in this program will help to generate the next generation of basic scientists in this country. The training program offers a multidisciplinary course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree and provides students with the opportunity to select one of four specializations: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology;Cellular and Developmental Biology;Immunology and Pathology;and Structural Biology. During the first year all students enroll in core courses including Graduate Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics, and/or Graduate Cell Biology. Depending on their academic specialization future courses include Structural Biology and Spectroscopy, Cell and Developmental Biology, or Immunology and General Pathology. Students also initially receive training to critically evaluate original research articles in a Journal Club. In addition, hey gain teaching experience as Teaching Assistants in undergraduate biology laboratories. In subsequent years they gain additional experience in oral presentation by giving 30-minute seminars on their research to the entire graduate program. Three to four laboratory training experiences, or rotations, serve to help the student to select a mentor for her/his thesis research at completion of her/his first academic year. The MCSB program is quite diverse, crossing departmental and institutional boundaries to offer thesis research training in 72 different mentored laboratories at three institutions: Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, or Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. There are currently 101 students in the program with approximately 20 admissions per year. Four of the top first year students will be selected by the Executive Committee to be supported as NIH predoctoral trainees for their second year. Assuming the student continues to progress well (as determined by course work, qualifying exam results, and recommendation of the mentor) support can be renewed for their third year. Thus, a total of eight students will be supported each year (four second-year students, and four third-year students). Second year students are required to pass a written qualifying exam. Subsequently, the students present yearly reports on their research progress in a seminar forum to other graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. In the third year of the program students prepare a proposal on their intended research project and defend the proposal before a faculty committee. Following successful defense of the proposal, students advance to candidacy and the faculty thesis committee monitors the students'progress until successful completion of the project and defense of a written doctoral thesis.
The goal of the Molecular, Cellular, and Structural Biology (MCSB) Training Program is to provide outstanding pre-doctoral training to the next generation of basic scientists in this country. The importance of basic research to a deeper understanding of human diseases cannot be overstated and provides an essential first step towards all translational medicine, as pointed out by Bruce Alberts in a recent Science editorial (Model Organisms and Human Health, Science 330, 1724).
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