The overall objective of the Chemistry-Biology Interface Predoctoral Training Program (CBIT) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is to facilitate interdisciplinary research in which chemical and biological approaches are applied to illuminate and manipulate biological processes. To achieve these ends, the program provides multidisciplinary research opportunities and interactions, forums to develop trainee communication skills, and mechanisms for exploring scientific creativity and critical thinking. The CBIT offers interdisciplinary research opportunities in 45 research groups. There are 5 major participating graduate programs from which most CBI trainees earn their degrees: the Integrated Program in Biochemistry, the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Microbiology Doctoral Training Program, and the Department of Chemistry. In the past grant period,14-18 outstanding predoctoral trainees have participated in the CBI-TP (approximately 2/3 is supported by the program and 1/3 by other fellowships). These trainees are recruited from a national pool of students and trainers engage in a variety of approaches to attract trainees from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. The research being pursued in these venues is directly relevant to addressing the major challenges facing human health. Trainees take courses that use innovative teaching methods to show them how to merge chemical and biological concepts to explore biological systems (Chemical Biology), discuss recent key publications in chemical biology (Chemical Biology Advanced Seminar), get a grounding in scientific research ethics (Ethics), participate in discussions focused on developing academic and professional skills, complete a 10-12 week industrial internship, and present their research to peers (Highlights at the Chemistry-Biology Interface). Since the CBI-TP was initiated in 1993, UW-Madison has built an extensive infrastructure for conducting chemical biology research. This infrastructure, when combined with the interactive and collaborative atmosphere on campus and an emphasis on graduate training, affords an environment uniquely conducive to interdisciplinary training in chemical biology.
The relevance of the Chemical-Biology Interface Predoctoral Training Program to public health is significant. The course selection and associated programmatic features ensure that the prospective trainees have an appropriate means to obtain quantitative backgrounds and exposure to topics directly related to human health, physiology, and disease mechanisms.
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