Recent advances in high-throughput genomics and proteomics technologies call for a new generation of scientists equipped to extract knowledge from large biological datasets and develop and apply novel data analytical, mathematical modeling and computational simulation techniques. The Predoctoral Training Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) was established at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Fall 2002 to address these needs. The Program is administered by the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences (CCGS), which was formed in August 2001 with a mission of conducting basic and applied research in all areas related to genome sciences. Twelve BCB faculty members have been recruited by UNC-CH in the last two years, with specialties in evolutionary genetics, information science, proteome analysis, protein folding, statistical genetics, and mathematical biology. In total, 39 computational and experimental genomics faculty distributed among 16 departments and schools are affiliated as BCB mentors. The program consists of four key components: a colloquium, research rotations, formal coursework, and PhD research. The coursework is designed to include three tiers of formal training: prerequisite, core, and advanced courses. Eight specialized core modules have been developed for the BCB program that cover major related areas such as information theory, machine learning, sequence comparison, phylogeny, data management, ontology, data mining, biostatistics, biomolecular structure/function prediction, and modeling of complex systems. Funds are requested to support six predoctoral students for two years each. Matching support from several local industrial organizations has been committed to allow additional student support and/or industrial internships. The students will pursue PhD degrees in participating UNC-CH Departments with a common emphasis on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology; future plans include transitioning into independent Phi3 granting curriculum. The requested funds will dovetail with the UNC investment in research infrastructure, faculty recruitment, and education in both genomics and bioinformatics, leveraging intramural as well as extramural industrial support to expand this vital interdisciplinary training program.

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)
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Whitmarsh, John
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Pharmacy
Chapel Hill
United States
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