We are now well in to the Genome Era, a watershed for scientific inquiry typified by an enormous volume of new biological data and rapid development of new techniques and approaches to turn this data into information and knowledge. To harness the resulting emerging opportunities effectively, it is critical that we prepare the next generation of scientists to understand both biology and computing. The mission of the Graduate Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at UCSF is to train students from quantitative backgrounds whose interests are clearly aimed at performing top-level research at the interface of biology and computation. Our training plan is focused on the application of computational approaches to address fundamental scientific problems in biology, with a special emphasis on integration of a computational viewpoint into the practice of biological research. Toward this end, one of the signal successes of the Program has been a notable increase in the level of interaction and collaboration with the exceptional cadre of biologists at UCSF, several of whom are now members of the training faculty. The Training Program is a founding member of a new umbrella program at UCSF, the Integrative Program in Quantitative Biology (iPQB), which provides a mechanism for balancing competing needs to provide both breadth of training in bioinformatics and computational biology with sufficient depth of training in biology so that students can take on the most challenging of biological problems. To achieve this goal, the iPQB Program provides a rigorous core curriculum combining training in fundamental computational, physical and mathematical principles with those of biological organization. Ranging from molecules to complex systems, examples of thesis projects include molecular level analysis of protein structure and function, computational drug design, and mathematical modeling of signaling systems in eukaryotic organisms. Innovative features of the Program also stress team-oriented approaches to solving problems and training in scientific communication. As a university devoted entirely to the health sciences, the broad range of research opportunities offered at UCSF all in some fashion relate to issues in public health. Our students in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology contribute to this research at many levels, whether by providing a computational perspective to pharmacogenomics studies aimed at understanding differences in human response to drug therapy or by analyzing whole genome expression patterns to identify new drug targets for diseases such as malaria

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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National Institute of General Medical Sciences Initial Review Group (BRT)
Program Officer
Somers, Scott D
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University of California San Francisco
Schools of Pharmacy
San Francisco
United States
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