This proposal is a renewal application for the Chemistry-Biology Interface Graduate program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore CO (UMBC). This program was started at UMBC in 1998, and solely funded by the university until the initial award in July 2004. The program was initiated to provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary training for chemistry, biochemistry and biology students. To date thirteen Ph.D. students have been funded by the training grant in addition to another nineteen Ph.D. students that have received increased stipends from the university. Students in the UMBC CBI program are part of four Ph.D. degree programs;Chemistry, Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology and the joint Biochemistry program run by the Chemistry department at UMBC and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) downtown campus. Cross-disciplinary training is accomplished in a number of ways, one, the possibility for a rotation in a laboratory in the opposite discipline, an upper level course in the opposite discipline, biweekly meetings in the form of a class CHEM 715, "Issues at the Chemistry-Biology Interface", where the students participate in discussions on career issues, learn how to give research talks, review and present literature from a wide variety of "hot" topic areas, as well as to host visiting seminar speakers. More significantly, a new feature of the program has been added since the initial funding period, a formal training opportunity with a mentor in the opposite discipline, specifically designed for each student by the student's research mentor in conjunction with the training opportunity mentor. The new training opportunity is designed to give the student a more meaningful experience in addition to enhancing their dissertation research. Some of the current students'research projects include: "Novel MHC ll-restricted peptides for activating breast cancer-specific CD4+ T cells", "Protein-Protein Interactions of Rob and SoxS and their Role in Stress Defense Response Systems in E. coli", "Investigation of phosphorylation dependent deactivation of the novel G protein coupled receptor melanopsin", "Characterizing S100B Bound to Small Molecules that Inhibit p53 Binding", "The Importance of APE1 in the Stimulation of DNA Glycosylases", "Characterization of the Relationship between TDG and APE1", and "Chemically characterizing the active metabolite of aminoflavone anticancer drugs". Unique to our program, the CBI students participate from year one until they graduate, regardless of whether or not they are on the training grant, thus insuring continual mentorship, guidance and exposure to cross-disciplinary science.
Recently many funding agencies, including NIH, have instituted new programs to fund cross-disciplinary research as many areas of science are merging. Students trained in multidisciplinary areas are more marketable and also more likely to be successful in their own independent careers. The basic philosophy of the CBI program is to provide outstanding graduate students the opportunity to experience cross-disciplinary training in addition to the traditional in-depth research training in their own discipline.
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