The current proposal seeks renewal of the biotechnology training program in Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering (BTE) at Duke University. The objective of the biotechnology training program in BTE is to provide enhanced classroom, laboratory, and research predoctoral training in the design, manipulation, and quantitative characterization of biomolecules, cells and tissues. The BTE training program involves 38 faculty, including 21 engineering faculty and 17 faculty from chemistry and biomedical sciences. To date, a total of 93 students have been supported by interdisciplinary predoctoral traineeships in BTE. The BTE training experience is enriched by (1) performing research that is interdisciplinary in nature and is central to the development of medical biotechnology, (2) including at least two BTE faculty on their doctoral dissertation committee to specifically provide mentorship in the area of medical biotechnology, (3) enrolling in a laboratory- based engineering course in modern biotechnology, engineering electives that provide breadth in BTE, and two advanced courses in the basic biomedical sciences relevant to BTE, (4) participating in four semesters of the interdisciplinary bioengineering seminar series and related journal club for credit, (5) participating in a special seminar series on career choices in the biotechnology industry, (6) engaging in a three-month industrial biotechnology internship, (7) presenting in the annual BTE poster session, and (8) undergoing training in responsible conduct in research. The value of this enriched training program has been demonstrated through student productivity and diverse career outcomes in the biotechnology industry. Moreover, the impact of the training grant has exceeded far beyond the individual trainees through student enrollment in our BTE Certificate Program and the leveraging of institutional resources for training activities for the broader Duke community. Our training program has also increased diversity and the participation of underrepresented groups. In our renewal, we have improved the program and its relevance to the modern biotechnology industry by adding faculty in molecular engineering and biomedical sciences, particularly faculty with a history of translational research. We have also added programmatic activities to enhance student interactions with visiting faculty and outreach opportunities. In this proposal we request the extension of our program to continue to integrate engineering, science, and medicine at Duke and create a unique training environment for our students.
The NIGMS predoctoral training program in Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering at Duke University provides trainees with enhanced classroom, laboratory and research training in the design, manipulation and quantitative characterization of biomolecules, cells and tissues with special emphasis on medical biotechnology.
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