This application requests funds to support the training of predoctoral students in the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (PMCB) at Oregon Health &Science University. This interdisciplinary program brings together 156 faculty from five basic science departments (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology;Cell and Developmental Biology;Molecular and Medical Genetics;Molecular Microbiology and Immunology;and Physiology and Pharmacology), the Cancer Biology Program and affiliated research institutes to provide first- and second-year graduate students with the theoretical and laboratory foundation they require to become successful research scientists. This proposal will support stipends for 7 Ph.D. students out of the 115 currently enrolled in the PMCB for their first two years of training. The 80-member training faculty in this application are internationally recognized for their expertise in biophysical, molecular, cellular, and developmental approaches to important and compelling biological questions using state-of-the art methodologies. Notably, graduate students directly participate in ground-breaking translational research, ranging from establishment of new therapies that improve cancer survival to new insights into stem cell biology, the molecular basis of neurogenesis and energy homeostasis, protein structure and chemical biology, and vaccine development. Our program offers qualified students a common, rigorous didactic grounding for the first year and continued grounding as students begin to specialize during their second year. Students also participate in seminar series, program retreats, teaching, and may attend scientific meetings. Students must successfully pass a comprehensive written exam at the end of their first year and a qualifying exam at the end of their second year, in which they prepare and defend an original research proposal. Subsequently, students are formally admitted to one of the five participating departments to conduct a research project leading to the awarding of a Doctorate of Philosophy. Importantly, the dynamic research community at OHSU, combined with the proximity of basic and clinical research facilities, provides a unique opportunity for Ph.D. students to form cross-discipline collaborations during their training and to gain an appreciation of the health-relatedness of the basic sciences.
The studies proposed in this application will provide training for first- and second-year graduate students with the theoretical and laboratory foundation they require to become successful research scientists in biomedical sciences. Trainees will learn state-of-the-art methods so that they may participate in ground-breaking basic and bench-to-bedside research that will improve the quality of healthcare in the future.
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